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This is an implementation of an XCB (X protocol C-language binding) platform layer for Handmade Hero.


Most importantly, you’ll need Handmade Hero source code for the platform-independent game code. Pre-order the game and get the nightly source code. This revision works with day 324 or later.

You will need g++ (tested with g++ 4.6) or other C++ compiler.

A number of XCB libraries and headers are needed to build and run. Here is a partial list of Ubuntu packages needed (the dev packages include the run-time libraries):

  • libxcb1-dev - the X protocol C-language binding library
  • libxcb-icccm4-dev - this is for setting the window title primarily
  • libxcb-image0-dev - The image extension, needed for creating a graphics buffer in memory
  • libxcb-keysyms1-dev - converting X keycodes into usable key symbols
  • libxcb-shm0-dev - Needed for the image extension
  • libxcb-util0-dev - Needed to process window events like window close.

The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) development packages are needed too:

  • libasound2-dev

Handmade Patches

To get some days to compile with gcc or clang, it is necessary to make modifications to Casey's code. Diffs of the changes needed are stored in the handmadePatches directory by day number, just look for a file with a day number just before, or equal to, the day you are on and apply that diff to Casey's code. Some of these diff files are needed slightly before the day they are labeled with, if you find the code will still not compile, try one of the later files. You will only need to apply one of these diff files for any given day.

Build process

Symlink the platform-independent Handmade Hero code files into the src directory.

ln -s /path/to/handmadehero/handmade* src/

I’m creating a hh/ directory and unzipping the Handmade Hero source (and a particular day) in there. My symlinks look like this:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 nbm nbm 23 Jan  8 16:41 src/handmade.cpp -> ../hh/code/handmade.cpp
lrwxrwxrwx 1 nbm nbm 21 Jan  8 16:41 src/handmade.h -> ../hh/code/handmade.h
lrwxrwxrwx 1 nbm nbm 32 Jan  8 16:41 src/handmade_intrinsics.h -> ../hh/code/handmade_intrinsics.h
lrwxrwxrwx 1 nbm nbm 30 Jan  8 16:41 src/handmade_platform.h -> ../hh/code/handmade_platform.h
lrwxrwxrwx 1 nbm nbm 28 Jan  8 16:41 src/handmade_random.h -> ../hh/code/handmade_random.h
lrwxrwxrwx 1 nbm nbm 28 Jan  8 16:41 src/handmade_tile.cpp -> ../hh/code/handmade_tile.cpp
lrwxrwxrwx 1 nbm nbm 26 Jan  8 16:41 src/handmade_tile.h -> ../hh/code/handmade_tile.h



Don’t forget to install the assets (separate Handmade Hero download) into the data/ directory. Currently that would create data/test and data/test2 directories at the moment.

You can then create symlink's to the data/test* directories from build/debug and build/opt to be able to run the binaries in place with textures.

cd build/debug
ls -s ../../data/test .
ls -s ../../data/test2 .

cd build/opt
ls -s ../../data/test .
ls -s ../../data/test2 .





You can use WASD for movement (or the XBox 360 D-pad), and Up Arrow (or the Y button on the XBox 360 controller) to sprint.

Test asset builder

The files, "multiplatform_test_asset_builder.", extend the "test_asset_builder." files to support core xlib fonts and stb_truetype fonts.

To use core xlib fonts, set the "USE_FONTS_FROM_WINDOWS" define to 0, and the "USE_FONTS_FROM_XWINDOWS" define to 1 in the "multiplatform_test_asset_builder.h" file, or to use stb_truetype fonts, set the "USE_FONTS_FROM_WINDOWS" define to 0, and the "USE_FONTS_FROM_XWINDOWS" define to 0 in the "multiplatform_test_asset_builder.h" file.

Currently to use stb_truetype, the ttf files need to be in the directory you build the asset files in, typically "handmade/data". Core xlib doesn't support truetype fonts, only bitmap fonts that seem to be integrated into xwindows. You can use the terminal command "xlsfonts" to get a list of the fonts xwindows has hidden away somewhere.


To use intel's architecture code analyzer to see which assembly instructions are used in a loop, and the throughput/latency of said instructions, you should download IACA from intel and place the extracted files in the directory of your choice.

Note that the and scripts expect the iaca directory to be siblings with the base xcb_handmade directory, so if you choose a different location you will have to modify these scripts.

To run IACA:


after switching on IACA in handmade_render_group.cpp and compiling.

Implementation progress

Completed (at least partially) so far:

  • Game memory allocation
  • Graphics
  • Keyboard input
  • Mouse input (x/y only)
  • Load and calling UpdateAndRender game code (and hot reloading)
  • Audio (with ALSA, not in a great state)
  • XBox360 controller support
  • Frame timing and locking
  • Save state, record, and replay.
  • Debug platform functions (read file, write file, free memory)

Still needed:

  • We’re good!

Alternate build

Included is alternate.cpp, which is built the same way the Handmade Hero code is, but with a view to having something people can execute without the Handmade Hero source code (not yet ready, though).


Casey Muratori is the author of Handmade Hero, and this code is built by observation of his Win32 layer. That isn’t freely distributable.

The files in data/ were created by others. See data/ for copyright information, credits, and licensing information.

The xcb platform layer and the alternate build in src/alternate/ was written by Neil Blakey-Milner (and others listed below), and is freely distributable in isolation under the BSD license, as specified in the header of the relevant files.

Jonathan Nilsson contributed the platform layer debug read/write file functions.

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