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Install instructions for Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (DCSS)
Getting Crawl to run
This file describes how to compile a runtime executable of Crawl from the
source code. If you're trying to compile Crawl yourself, skip ahead to the next
section, "Building Crawl".
If, however, you're having trouble getting a precompiled binary to run:
1) Check whether you've downloaded and extracted the correct version.
Platform Tiles? Download package
-------- ------ ----------------
Windows yes
Windows no
Mac OS X yes
or stone_soup-VERSION-tiles-osx-app.dmg
Mac OS X no
or stone_soup-VERSION-osx-app.dmg
Source code yes
or stone_soup-VERSION-src.tar.bz2
2) Try removing/renaming your saves/ directory in case older saves aren't
recognized anymore.
If you still can't get Crawl to run, you can ask for further help on IRC:
##crawl-dev on freenode, forums: or usenet: Please try to be as detailed as possible about any
error messages you're getting.
The rest of the file deals with compiling from the source.
Building Crawl
Crawl is known to run on the following platforms:
- Any Unix with GNU or BSD userland.
- Mac OS X.
- Android.
- Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10
The only officially supported compilers are gcc (4.7 or newer) and clang (3.4
or newer). On Windows, gcc is usually available as MinGW.
There's no reason Crawl shouldn't work on other modern systems, especially
Unixy ones, although some porting may be needed.
Source Code Checkout
If you don't already have the source code downloaded (in the form of a .zip or
.tar.bz2 file), you can obtain the latest source code from Git. MSYS2 users
should have Git if they followed the installation instructions in the MSYS2
section. Linux users can just install the 'git' or 'git-core' package with
whatever package manager they use. Note that there used to be another package
called 'git' (now 'gnuit') going around which stands for 'GNU interactive
tools'. This is not what you want.
Once you have Git installed, you just need to do:
git clone
And then to get the contributing libraries, enter the newly cloned repository
via 'cd crawl' and type:
git submodule update --init
This should get you all you need to build Crawl from source.
Optional libraries
Crawl can be built with some optional features:
* Sounds
* User Lua scripts
Crawl also uses a level compiler to compile special level definitions; to make
changes to the level compiler, you'll need the flex and bison/byacc tools
(Other lex/yaccs may also work). More details are available below.
Sound can be provided by SDL2_mixer (the default), by WINMM on Windows (defined
by WINMM_PLAY_SOUNDS in sound.h), or by an external command on Unix systems
(SOUND_PLAY_COMMAND in sound.h). To enable this, append SOUND=y to the make
Crawl includes Lua 5.1.4 in its submodules. Crawl uses Lua for dungeon
generation. In addition, Crawl has a (rudimentary) Lua interface for users to
run scripts which can do things such as conditionalise parts of the
.crawlrc/init.txt. Such user Lua scripts are enabled by default, but can be
turned off by appending NO_LUA_BINDINGS=y to the make invocation.
Building on Unix (Linux, *BSD, Solaris, etc.)
To install or not to install:
If only one user on the system (you) is going to be playing Crawl, you do not
need to use "make install". A simple "make" will build Crawl in the source
directory, where you can run it as "./crawl".
Prerequisites (Debian):
On Debian-based systems (Ubuntu, Mint, ...), you can get all dependencies by
typing the following as root/sudo:
apt-get install build-essential libncursesw5-dev bison flex liblua5.1-0-dev \
libsqlite3-dev libz-dev pkg-config libsdl2-image-dev libsdl2-mixer-dev \
libsdl2-dev libfreetype6-dev libpng-dev ttf-dejavu-core
(the last six are needed only for tiles builds). This is the complete set,
with it you don't have a need for the bundled "contribs".
If you are going to be rebuilding after doing small changes a lot, it is
recommended that you also install and configure ccache and binutils-gold:
apt-get install ccache binutils-gold
less /usr/share/doc/ccache/README.Debian
Prerequisites (Fedora):
On Fedora, and possibly other RPM-based systems, you can get the dependencies
by running the following as root:
dnf install gcc gcc-c++ make bison flex ncurses-devel compat-lua-devel \
sqlite-devel zlib-devel pkgconfig SDL-devel SDL_image-devel libpng-devel \
freetype-devel dejavu-sans-fonts dejavu-sans-mono-fonts
(the last six are needed only for tile builds). As with Debian, this package
list avoids the need for the bundled "contribs".
ccache can be installed with:
dnf install ccache
Prerequisites (Void):
On Void Linux you can get all dependencies by running the following as root:
xbps-install make gcc perl flex bison pkg-config ncurses-devel lua51-devel \
sqlite-devel zlib-devel pngcrush dejavu-fonts-ttf SDL2-devel \
SDL2_mixer-devel SDL2_image-devel freetype-devel
(the last six are needed only for tile builds).
ccache can be installed with:
xbps-install ccache
Prerequisites (other systems):
GNU gcc and g++, GNU make, libncursesw or libcursesw. You need the development
headers for ncurses - they may not be installed by default on some Unixes.
For tile builds, you need FreeDesktop's pkg-config, X11 and opengl headers.
The latter are likely to come from mesa sources.
flex and bison are optional but highly recommended. Recent versions of byacc
are also fine (edit your makefile appropriately).
You need to link with a curses library that understands Unicode characters,
usually named libncursesw (the development headers for libncursesw are usually
in /usr/include/ncursesw).
* cd to the source directory.
* Most users can simply type 'make' without any extra flags, and get a working
build as a result. If just typing 'make' works for you, then you shouldn't
need to read any further. BSD and Solaris users may have to use 'gmake'
instead of 'make'.
* For information Makefile settings beyond what is here, see the documentation
in comments in the Makefile itself.
* If you want a graphical (tiled) build, then you should add 'TILES=y' to the
'make' command-line, like so:
make TILES=y
Note that the graphical build requires that you have development libraries
installed for SDL, SDL_image, libpng, zlib, and freetype. If your system
doesn't have these installed, you can usually get them via your package
manager (apt-get, emerge, yum, etc).
If you would rather, you can go to the source/contrib directory and type
'make', and the required libraries should be built for you.
* If you want to install Crawl system-wide rather than play from the build
directory, you need to specify a directory to hold the save and data files.
Specifying a prefix of /usr or /usr/local will default SAVEDIR to "~/.crawl"
and DATADIR to share/crawl (relative to the prefix). SAVEDIR must be
writeable and owned by the user running crawl, so except for special cases it
should be inside "~" (home directory).
* To be specific, specifying a prefix means adding "prefix=foldername" to your
'make' command. Specifying a prefix is not mutually exclusive with specifying
a SAVEDIR; you can set them to completely unrelated directories if desired.
* If you're installing Crawl for multiple users, run 'make install' as root.
Crawl will be copied into the directory specified by 'prefix' (see above).
The data directory will be created if necessary, and the level layout, tile
and help files will be copied there.
* If you do not want players to be able to script Crawl with Lua, add
'NO_LUA_BINDINGS=y' to the 'make' command-line. This removes functionality
like autofight, and Lua scripts have been enabled on public servers for many
years without any security issues, so there is no real reason to do so.
Building on Mac OS X
Before building on Mac OS X, you need a working copy of Xcode and the
associated command line tools. For recent versions of OS X, Xcode can be
installed through the AppStore as a free download; the associated command line
tools can then be installed by opening Xcode, opening the Preferences dialog,
and clicking Install on the Command Line Tools line in the Download tab.
Mac builds then use the Unix build process described above. To build Crawl on
a Mac you could use the following example command lines.
For the console version:
For the graphical version:
make TILES=y
Building on Windows (MSYS2)
MSYS2 which is a Cygwin-derived software distro for Windows that can build
native applications. We recommend Windows users try this method first for
compiling crawl, since it is tested by our active Windows developers. You can
download the MSYS2 installer from the following website:
You generally want to install the 64-bit version of MSYS2 unless you have a
specific reason to build a 32-bit version of crawl. Follow all of the steps you
see on that page to install MSYS2, but please read the additional notes below.
In particular, when starting the MSYS2 Shell, be sure to run the 64-bit MinGW
version of MSYS2 and *not* the version labeled 'MSYS2 MSYS'.
* The installer will put all MSYS2/MinGW files into a folder of your choice,
which defaults to 'C:\msys64'. If you have crawl-related work files from
other directories that you'd like to carry over, you can copy them into
'C:\msys64\home\<Username>', where <Username> is your Windows username. This
is the path to your home directory in this new MSYS2 installation.
* After the installer finishes, you'll want to start the MSYS2 Shell to follow
steps 5-7 in order to update your installation. Be sure to use the menu entry
that's labeled MSYS2 MinGW 64-bit and *not* the one labeled 'MSYS2 MSYS'.
After each update step, restart the MSYS2 shell before the next step.
After MSYS2 is fully installed and updated, follow steps below to install
development packages and compile Crawl. The commands shown below should be run
from within the MSYS2 Shell.
* To install git and the base development packages, run:
pacman -S base-devel git
Accept the default action to install all packages in base-devel, and say yes
to any questions about installing packages or removing packages due to
* To install the mingw-w64 GCC toolchain for your system, run:
pacman -S mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain
At this point you may need to add the newly installed toolchain to your path.
You can do this with the following line, either at the command line (for that
shell instance only) or in the file `~/.bashrc` to make it permanent:
export PATH=$PATH:/mingw64/bin
To test that this worked, run:
gcc -v
After the packages are installed and gcc runs, you're ready to build crawl!
* To get the Crawl source, you can follow the steps in the Source Code Checkout
section above to clone Crawl into your MSYS2 home directory. If you've
downloaded the source elsewhere, first 'cd' to that Crawl source directory.
For example, if you have the Crawl sources in c:\crawl\source, you would run:
cd /c/crawl/source
* Build the console version of Crawl by simply running:
If you want a graphical build, you will need to run add 'TILES=y':
make TILES=y
* When the build process finishes, you can run crawl.exe directly from the
source directory in the MSYS2 shell. For Tiles, type './crawl', and for
console, type 'start crawl', which will open Crawl in a new console window
(necessary for it to run properly). Both versions can also be started by
double-clicking crawl.exe using the graphical file explorer.
Building on Windows (Cygwin)
* Get Cygwin from When installing, ensure that the
following packages are selected: gcc, g++, make, flex, bison,
libncurses-devel. If you'd like to build from git, install the git-core
package. You may also want to install diff, patch, and other such tools.
* Once Cygwin is installed, open a Cygwin bash shell (use the Start menu or
desktop icon, do not double-click bash.exe in Explorer).
* cd to the the Crawl source directory. For instance, if you have the Crawl
sources in c:\crawl\source, you would type 'cd /cygdrive/c/crawl/source'.
* Follow the Linux build instructions to build Crawl.
Building on Windows 10 (Linux Subsystem)
* Follow the instructions on Microsoft's website at to set up the
Windows Subsystem for Linux.
* Make sure to run 'apt-get update' to get the latest versions of the package
lists, if using Ubuntu.
* Follow the Linux instructions to build Crawl.
* Console and Webtiles will work without any further configuration. To get SDL
tiles to work, you need an X server running on Windows; Xming is an option
that has worked in the past. If you run into an error about not finding a
matching GLX visual, try running:
Building on Windows (MSVC)
* This build process is not currently maintained and is unlikely to be
straightforward in versions of MSVC besides those explicitly mentioned
here. If you get it to work on a more recent version, please let us know
and submit a patch!
* If you do not have Visual Studio 2012 you can get the free Express edition
(for Desktop) from (look
for Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop).
* You'll need a perl environment, there are links to several Windows binaries
you can choose from at
* In the Crawl source, run gen-all.cmd which is in source/util/. This step must
be executed any time you update to a new version of the source (or if you
have modified tile data or unrandarts).
* The first time you compile, you need to build the Contribs solution. This
compiles various libraries which Crawl itself needs to build. This only needs
to be performed the first time you build, or if the contribs are ever updated
(extremely rare). To do this open and compile Contribs.sln in source/contrib.
* Open crawl-ref.sln in Visual Studio, this is in source/MSVC/.
* You can now select Debug or Release from the drop-down build configurations
menu on the main toolbar (it should be next to "Local Windows Debugger");
crawl.exe can them be compiled by selecting "Build Solution" in the BUILD
menu. You can quickly run it by selecting "Start without Debugging" in the
debug menu (or debug with "Start Debugging" but the game will run extremely
slowly). Note: the Release build can still be debugged using the Visual
Studio debugger.
* Better support for Python (for the webserver project) and Lua (for the dat
project) can be installed with these extensions:
Python Tools for Visual Studio
Ports of VsLua to Visual Studio 2012
Try at your own risk, but the first one has been tested and found to be
Data files
Crawl looks for several data files when starting up. They include:
* Special level and vault layout (dat/*.des) files.
* Core Lua code (dat/dlua/*.lua).
* Descriptions for monsters and game features (dat/descript/*.txt).
* Definitions for monster dialogue and randart names (dat/database/*.txt).
All these files are in the source tree under source/dat.
Crawl will also look for documentation files when players invoke the help
system. These files are available under the docs directory.
Your built Crawl binary must be able to find these files, or it will not start.
If Crawl is built without an explicit DATA_DIR_PATH (this is the most common
setup), it will search for its data files under the current directory, and if
it can't find them there, one level above the current directory. In short, it
uses these search paths: ., ./dat, ./docs, .., ../dat, ../docs.
The level compiler
Crawl uses a level compiler to read the level design (.des) files in the
source/dat directory.
If you're using one of standard makefile, the steps described in this section
are performed automatically:
The level compiler source is in the source/util directory (levcomp.lpp and
levcomp.ypp). The steps involved in building the level compiler are:
* Run flex on levcomp.lpp to produce the lexer.
* Run bison on levcomp.ypp to produce the parser and
* Compile the resulting C++ source files and and link the object
files into the Crawl executable.
For convenience on systems that don't have flex/bison, pre-generated
intermediate files are provided under source/prebuilt. The makefiles provided
with the Crawl source distribution will use these pre-generated files
automatically if flex/bison is not available.
The Lua source is included with Crawl. It will be used if you don't have Lua
headers installed. Note that we don't provide security support for Lua, and
thus if you run a public server or a kiosk, it is strongly recommended to use
system Lua which does receive security updates from whatever distribution you
PCRE 8.12, with a custom build system but otherwise unchanged, is included with
Crawl. It is enabled by default on Windows; otherwise, unless you build with
BUILD_PCRE (to use the contrib) or USE_PCRE (to use a development package from
your manager), the system POSIX regex will be used.
On Unix, you want an UTF-8 locale. All modern distributions install one by
default, but you might have somehow dropped required settings. To check this,
run "locale charmap", which should say "UTF-8". If it's not, please ensure
either LANG, LC_ALL or LC_CTYPE is set. A typical line would be "export
On Windows, the console behaves differently for TrueType and legacy (bitmap)
fonts. The latter (mostly) work only on certain language editions of Windows,
such as English, and even there, they work adequately only for Crawl's default
settings. For anything more, please select one of TrueType fonts. If, like one
of our players, you are deeply attached to the looks of bitmap fonts, you can
download a corrected version of the Terminal font from