Building and installing from source

Arjan Spieard edited this page May 31, 2018 · 35 revisions

Notice: We focus on keeping these instructions accurate for the latest development version, git master. So if you are trying older stable releases, for example, you might find that these don't work perfectly - at least the required package lists, the CMake procedure is pretty much the same.

Table of Contents


Be sure not to have multiple Performous versions installed at the same time. It may seem to work, but the graphics may display incorrectly due to wrong theme files being used. To prevent that, clean up old files:

 rm -rf /usr/local/bin/performous /usr/local/share/games/performous/

Installing build dependencies

If you happen to be running one of these, please start by installing the following packages. If not, just skip this section and follow the instructions. We try to keep these lists accurate and up-to-date with the development version. If you find that something is missing or that there are unnecessary package installs, please fix it.

Gettext (localization), Help2Man (UNIX manual pages), OpenCV (webcam support) and PortMidi (MIDI drum support) are optional and can be left out if no support for these functions is required.

Debian and Ubuntu

 sudo apt-get install git-core cmake build-essential gettext help2man \
   libepoxy-dev libsdl2-dev libcairo2-dev libpango1.0-dev librsvg2-dev \
   libboost-all-dev libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libswscale-dev libavresample-dev \
   libpng-dev libjpeg-dev libxml++2.6-dev portaudio19-dev \
   libopencv-dev libportmidi-dev libcpprest-dev

Notice: Dependency problems may prevent installation of portaudio19-dev. At least with Ubuntu 13.04 this can be solved by first installing libjack-jackd2-dev, even though that package is not actually needed for Performous.

Alternatively, you can do:

 sudo apt-get build-dep performous

which installs all the build dependencies for the version in the repositories. It might not be completely accurate for the current git version, but should get you pretty far.


 sudo emerge boost git cmake help2man glew libsdl2 ffmpeg portaudio libxmlpp \
   opencv portmidi


(You need RPM Fusion Free repository for ffmpeg):

 yum install git cmake gcc-c++ gettext cairo-devel librsvg2-devel libsigc++20-devel \
   glibmm24-devel libxml++-devel boost-devel SDL2-devel libepoxy-devel ffmpeg-devel \
   portaudio-devel help2man redhat-lsb opencv-devel portmidi-devel libjpeg-turbo-devel \
   pango-devel jsoncpp-devel 


These instructions will walk you through building Performous for macOS (10.9+) and bundling and packaging it inside a DMG ready to install. By default these instructions build the internal webserver, the extra tools (such as Singstar extractor; note, not all are currently working in macOS, even if they all do build succesfully), and support for webcam (via OpenCV)

  • These instruction have been tested with macOS 10.12.5 and XCode 8.3.3.
1. Install macports first, clean installation is preferred to avoid conflicts. 2. Update macports and its port list via
 sudo port selfupdate
  • Most dependencies required to use the provided build script must be installed using MacPorts. A couple of them (marked with asterisks, below) are not available in this manner and will have to be obtained and built separately.
You can use the default
  sudo port install <dependency_name>

to install the dependencies and it's reported to work. However, official macOS releases are built using the following configuration parameters:

 sudo /opt/local/bin/port -vsf install <package_name> -universal configure.compiler="clang" \ 
 configure.cxx_stdlib="libc++" configure.macosx_deployment_target="10.9" \
 configure.sdkroot="/Applications/" \
 configure.cxxflags="-std=c++11 -mmacosx-version-min=10.9 -m64 -arch x86_64 -stdlib=libc++ \ 
 -Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names" configure.cflags="-m64 -arch x86_64 -mmacosx-version-min=10.9 \
 -Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names" configure.ldflags="-m64 -arch x86_64 -stdlib=libc++ \ 
 -headerpad_max_install_names -mmacosx-version-min=10.9"

and also these, in ~/.macports/macports.conf (largely they're the same things as the commandline parameters, but Macports is sometimes... well, special, in deciding which things can be configured via command-line and which cannot.

  build_arch          	x86_64
  cxx_stdlib		libc++
  configure.cxx_stdlib	libc++
  macosx_deployment_target 10.9
  configure.cxxflags  "-mmacosx-version-min=10.9 -m64 -arch x86_64 -stdlib=libc++ -Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names"
  configure.cflags  "-mmacosx-version-min=10.9 -m64 -arch x86_64 -Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names"
  configure.ldflags "-m64 -arch x86_64 -stdlib=libc++ -headerpad_max_install_names -mmacosx-version-min=10.9"
  cxxflags  "-mmacosx-version-min=10.9 -m64 -arch x86_64 -stdlib=libc++ -Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names"
  cflags  "-mmacosx-version-min=10.9 -m64 -arch x86_64 -Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names"
  ldflags "-m64 -arch x86_64 -stdlib=libc++ -headerpad_max_install_names -mmacosx-version-min=10.9"
  configure.sdkroot /Applications/
  sdkroot /Applications/
  universal_archs     	x86_64 noarch
  buildmakejobs       	0

3. Dependencies

  • npm
  • boost
  • libxmlxx2
  • libsdl2
  • ffmpeg
  • cmake
  • jsoncpp
  • help2man
  • libepoxy
  • librsvg
  • portaudio
  • portmidi
  • opencv
  • dylibbundler (*)
  • asio-c++ (*)
  • cppnetlib (*)
      • Note: Libraries that are required by other dependencies are absent from this list (since they will be installed automatically) in order to simplify the instructions.
      • Note: Dependencies marked with an asterisk are not available or are outdated in Macports and should be obtained elsewhere.
4. Download dylibbundler, asioc++ and cpp-netlib version 0.11.2
 mkdir asio-build && cd asio-build
  ASIO_STANDALONE=1 CXXFLAGS="-std=c++11 -stdlib=libc++" CC="/usr/bin/clang" CXX="/usr/bin/clang++" ../asio-1.10.6/configure --prefix=/opt/local --with-boost=no
 make check && sudo make install
 mkdir cppnetlib-build && cd cppnetlib-build
 -stdlib=libc++ -arch x86_64 -Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names" -DCMAKE_OSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET=10.9 \ 
 -DCMAKE_C_FLAGS="-Wl,-headerpad_max_install_names -arch x86_64" -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/local/ \ 
 make -j0 test && sudo make install
  • Note: In Sierra, it is possible the mime-roundtrip test fails with a SIGSEGV while using boost 1.59. If this happens you need to install boost 1.60+ (instructions on doing so will require creating a custom port; you can find instructions to do this and the required files in the macports website)
  • Note: Make sure the path to configure is correct, here I am using the default folder to which asioc++ is extracted.
5. Clone Performous from git as per the other build instructions

6. Run the provided build script

  • Open a terminal and navigate to performous/osx-tools/, then type
 chmod +x ./ && ./
    • Note: There might be messages stating you need to install further dependencies for the build process. Follow on-screen instructions here
    • Note: Make sure to edit the script and change the MAKE_JOBS variable to a number suitable to your machine, as a rule-of-thumb, you should change it to the lesser of how many CPU cores or Gb of RAM your computer has.
7. This should create a file Performous.dmg in that directory. Mount that and drag Performous to Applications to install.

8. You'll most likely need to visit the audio configuration first in the configure menu. The integrated webserver can also be configured. Also check the wiki for supported paths for songs.

9. Play and have fun!

macOS with Homebrew

Building with Homebrew is easier than with MacPorts. However, creation of a software bundle from a Homebrew-build fails, so you will need to run Performous from console.

 brew install boost cmake ffmpeg help2man icu4c portaudio portmidi \
    opencv libepoxy librsvg libxml++3 sdl2

Then follow the usual Performous build instructions. No special flags are required and you can do make install without sudo.


Building in Windows is a bit trickier since you cannot get the dependencies as easily as in other systems. You should download the Git version (see Developing) and look at the scripts in win32 folder. They attempt to automatically set up the build environment (download and compile dependencies). Native builds should work with MSYS2, but have not been tested by anyone recently (that we know of, test reports welcome). The commonly used method is cross-compiling from Linux via MXE.


The dependencies can be cross-compiled for Windows from Debian/Ubuntu Linux (possibly others, too), using the MinGW32/MinGW54 cross compiler. Best results are currently achieved using the "M cross environment" aka. MXE:

Get MXE:

 git clone -b master

Set up the file (adjust JOBS to your number of CPU cores):

 JOBS := 4
 MXE_TARGETS :=  i686-w64-mingw32.shared
 LOCAL_PKG_LIST := gettext sdl2 boost portaudio ffmpeg portmidi pango \
   gdk-pixbuf librsvg libsigc++ libxml++ libepoxy
 .DEFAULT local-pkg-list:
 local-pkg-list: $(LOCAL_PKG_LIST)

Run "make" to build the cross-compiler and packages (you can speed up the process by doing "make -j3", where 3 is the number of CPU cores you wish to use).

When building later, replace the plain cmake command with these commands:

 cmake .. -DPKG_CONFIG_EXECUTABLE=$MXE_PREFIX/usr/bin/$MXE_TARGET-pkg-config \
  -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=$MXE_PREFIX/usr/$MXE_TARGET/share/cmake/mxe-conf.cmake \
  -DBoost_THREAD_LIBRARY_RELEASE=$MXE_PREFIX/usr/$MXE_TARGET/bin/libboost_thread_win32-mt.dll \

Downloading and installing the sources

Obtain latest code

Recommended: Using Git

Use Git to get the latest development version from our public repository:

 git clone git://

You'll need a Git client. The command line program is fine, but if you prefer graphical interface, you can install e.g. git-gui on Linux and TortoiseGIT on Windows.

Alternative: Source code tarballs

If you don't want to bother with git, you can just download the bleeding edge code directly.

Tarballs of stable releases are also available for distributors but they are not recommended if you are building it for yourself. You can download the released sources from Performous Download page.

Build and install

 cd performous      # Where you downloaded the sources
 mkdir build        # Make the build in a separate folder that you can easily clean up
 cd build
 cmake ..           # Prepare build and check that all dependencies are in place
 make -j8           # Compile everything (replace 8 with number of CPU cores)
 sudo make install  # Install
 performous         # Start the game

If you get errors (especially if they are from the cmake command), you are probably missing some libraries required by the game. Install the needed libraries (development versions, e.g. libboost-dev) and retry the failing step until all dependencies are sorted out.

Optionally, if you want to change installation path or do other compile-time configuration, you can use ccmake command line tool in build directory, after running cmake:

 ccmake .

There are also graphical interfaces for CMake, e.g. cmake-qt-gui on Ubuntu. Running cmake or ccmake is not required with GUI tools.

Before installing vo "make install", modify CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX if you don't want it installed in /usr/local/.