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This is the INSTALL file for Blocky.
This file contains help on getting Blocky (or an application built
with it) to run on your system.
If you are a Windows user, there's no reason to read this file,
because everything is self-contained.
If you are on GNU/Linux, you must install certain libraries through
your distributions' software installer: namely, sdl, sdl-image,
sdl-mixer, and sdl-ttf. You may additionally need to install the
corresponding *-dev versions of those packages.
This file also gives you instructions on how to download Blocky and
compile it from the source code. Unless you are planning to do this,
you can safely ignore the rest of this file.
This should be straightforward on Linux; Blocky also works on Windows
and Mac, but compiling Blocky on those platforms may require
additional steps (such as installing the included SDL binary DLL's in
the included win32/ subfolder of the Blocky source directory.)
More instructions for Mac and Windows will be available soon.
1. System Requirements for building Blocky (All Platforms)
- A Common Lisp implementation such as Steel Bank Common Lisp (see
platform-specific notes below for suggestions on SBCL; CLISP and
CCL have also been reported to work.)
A recent release of SBCL from is recommended. Please
- A working OpenGL implementation. Hardware acceleration is
strongly recommended. (Most fairly recent Mac and Windows
machines will have OpenGL drivers already, but GNU/Linux users
will need proper hardware drivers.
- Git, a distributed version control system client.
- (optional) A text editor (preferably Emacs or Vim; If you use Emacs check out
SLIME (you may need the CVS version) and if you use Vim check
out SLIMV.
1a. System Requirements (Linux)
You must have the SDL (Simple Direct Media Layer) libraries
installed on your system. How to do this is beyond the scope of
this document. See for more information.
Your Linux distribution will most likely have SDL packages for sdl,
sdl-image, sdl-mixer, and sdl-ttf, all of which are required for to
compile Blocky. You may also need to install the sdl-*-dev packages
corresponding to each.
1b. System Requirements (Windows)
You will need a Windows version of SBCL from
1c. System Requirements (Macintosh)
2. If you have not already done so, download Blocky:
mkdir ~/src
cd ~/src
git clone git://
2a. (OPTIONAL) If you need to use the development branch of Blocky, do
cd ~/src/blocky
git checkout -b develop
(OPTIONAL) Similarly, if you need a release, use this:
git checkout -b release/0.989
# replace 0.989 with desired version
3. Install Quicklisp It takes only a few moments to install
Quicklisp, and this is the best way to download and install all
the Common Lisp libraries that Blocky depends on---automatically.
After installing quicklisp you will see a notice about adding
Quicklisp to your Lisp startup file with (ql:add-to-init-file).
Doing this will make Quicklisp load automatically when you start
your Lisp implementation.
4. (OPTIONAL) Configure project folders
By default, new projects are created in ~/.blocky
The distribution contains a text configuration file called
BLOCKY-INIT.LISP; by default Blocky looks for it in the same
directory as the executable.
To run projects, Blocky needs a line like this added to the init
file so that it will know where to find them.
(setf blocky:*project-directories* '(#P"~/src/blocky/" #P"~/projects/"))
The first item should be the pathname of wherever you installed the
Blocky source tree. This is auto-detected as the current directory
if you don't set it. NOTE: These must be pathnames (prefixed with
#P) and must contain a trailing slash.
To use your home directory,
(setf *project-directories* (list #P"~/src/blocky/" #P"~/.blocky/" #P"~/"))
5. At the shell,
cd ~/src/blocky # or wherever you installed it...
Once SBCL is started, enter (or cut and paste) and execute the
following Lisp expressions one at a time:
;; load dependencies via Quicklisp
'(:lispbuilder-sdl-mixer :lispbuilder-sdl-ttf
:lispbuilder-sdl-image :uuid :cl-opengl :cl-fad))
;; compile and load Blocky
(push #p"/path/to/blocky/" asdf:*central-registry*)
(asdf:load-system :blocky)
;; run an example
(blocky:play "turtle") ;; A GUI tutorial, with turtle and ladybug
;; or run the GUI
6. The work-in-progress game XALCYON is written with Blocky, and can
be downloaded via git:
git clone
You should put the example somewhere where Blocky's
*project-directories* setting will find it; your home directory
is a good candidate if you don't want to change the setup.
Then in SBCL:
(blocky:play "xalcyon")
7. Getting help and reporting bugs
When reporting bugs, please use the issue reporting system at
Github if possible:
If not possible or if other questions arise, you can email or IRC
me as follows:
You can also try the IRC channel: #blocky
(also #lispgames)
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