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Flare (Free Libre Action Roleplaying Engine) is a simple game engine built to handle a very specific kind of game: single-player 2D action RPGs. Flare is not a reimplementation of an existing game or engine. It is a tribute to and exploration of the action RPG genre.

Rather than building a very abstract, robust game engine, the goal of this project is to build several real games and harvest an engine from the common, reusable code.

The Flare engine, which is purely a runtime, is written in C++.

Flare uses simple file formats (INI-style config files) for most of the game data, allowing anyone to easily modify game contents. Open formats are preferred (png, ogg). For creating maps, we also support Tiled with the Flare plugin.

Originally the first game to be developed using this engine was part of this repository. As the engine became mature, the game content was moved to an extra repository and is now called flare-game. (happened around sept. 2012)

Copyright and License

Most of Flare is Copyright © 2010-2013 Clint Bellanger. Contributors retain copyrights to their original contributions.

Flare's source code is released under the GNU GPL v3. Later versions are permitted.

Flare's default mod (includes engine translations) is released under GNU GPL v3 and CC-BY-SA 3.0. Later versions are permitted.

The default mod contains the Liberation Sans font which is released under the SIL Open Font License, Version 1.1.

The GNU Unifont font is released under GPL v2, with the exception that embedding the font in a document does not in itself bind that document to the terms of the GPL.


The following links are specific to the engine

Games made with flare

The official game from the Flare team, the Empyrean Campaign can be found on the flare-game repository. A collection of other mods produced by the community can be found on the the Mods page on the offical website.

Building from Source

Flare uses SDL2, SDL2_image, SDL2_mixer, and SDL2_ttf. Please see the file for instructions.


Settings are stored in one of these places:

Linux/Mac OS X/Unix




Linux (Snap)


Linux (Flatpak)


Here you can enable fullscreen, change the game resolution, enable mouse-move, and change keybindings. The settings files are created the first time you run Flare.

Save Files

Save files are stored in one of these places:

Linux/Mac OS X/Unix




Linux (Snap)


Linux (Flatpak)


If permissions are correct, the game is automatically saved when you exit. In addition, there is a mods directory in this location, which can be used to override system-wide mods.

Command-line Flags

Flag Description
--help Prints the list of command-line flags.
--version Prints the release version.
--data-path Specifies an exact path to look for mod data.
--debug-event Prints verbose hardware input information.
--renderer Specifies the rendering backend to use. The default is 'sdl_hardware'. Also available is 'sdl', which is a software-based renderer.
--no-audio Disables sound effects and music.
--mods Starts the game with only these mods enabled.
--load-slot Loads a save slot by numerical index.
--load-script Execute's a script upon loading a saved game. The script path is mod-relative.
--safe-video Launches with the minimum video settings.