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wxLauncher: Multi-platform launcher for Freespace 2


wxLauncher aims to give one unified answer to members of the Freespace 2 Open community looking for an easy way to control fs2_open on various platforms and to those looking for an easy way to find and get updates to their Freespace 2 MODs and TCs.


wxLauncher is built for the 3.6.9+ versions of fs2_open. While older versions might function, we don't officially support them. Use them at your own risk.

Obtaining wxLauncher

Precompiled binaries can be found on the project releases page

Find the build for your system and you're set.

Building from source

The wxLauncher requires the CMake build system for building. CMake is a cross-platform meta-build system; it generates the files that allow a platform's native build system to build the launcher. CMake supports VS2005 and newer, as well as Xcode, KDevelop, and of course autotools.

Requirements shortlist

  • All platforms:
    • CMake 2.8
    • wxWidgets 2.8.10+ or 3.0.2
    • Python 2.7 or Python 3.4+
    • markdown for Python
  • Windows
    • Windows SDK or Platform SDK
    • Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS)
  • Linux/macOS/FreeBSD
    • SDL 2

Optional components

  • All platforms:
    • OpenAL or OpenALSoft

Detailed requirements

wxLauncher is built using CMake. Only version 2.8 or later has been tested (and the CMake file enforces this). CMake can be downloaded in binary form, from the [CMake Home Page] or if you run Linux, from your distro's package repository. [Cmake Home Page]: http://cmake.org

wxLauncher is a [wxWidgets]-based application. It can only be built with wxWidgets version 2.8.10 or higher. Version 0.10.0 has been tested with:

[Python] 2.7 or higher is required to build this project. This project also assumes that the python executable is in your PATH. Check your operating system's documentation for information on how to add Python to your PATH. [Python]: http://www.python.org/

Markdown in Python is required in order to build the integrated help system.

  • Markdown in Python homepage
  • On pip enabled installs, try: pip install markdown but for Python 3, use pip3 instead of pip.
  • On Debian-based systems, try: apt-get install python-markdown

The OpenAL Software Development Kit is an optional component needed to build this program. It can be downloaded from the [OpenAL homepage]. OpenAL support requires the preprocessor symbol USE_OPENAL=1. This symbol is set to 1 by default by CMake. You can pass -DUSE_OPENAL=0 to CMake to disable building with OpenAL support. See the compiler specific instructions for getting your compiler ready to build with OpenAL. Note that macOS ships with OpenAL pre-installed. wxLauncher should also work with the [OpenALSoft] library. [OpenAL homepage]: http://connect.creativelabs.com/openal/default.aspx [OpenALSoft]: http://kcat.strangesoft.net/openal.html

The Microsoft Windows SDK (formerly the Platform SDK) is required to build both this application and wxWidgets when on Windows. Note that only the Windows SDK for Windows Vista and Windows 7 have been tested with this application.

The Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS) is required on Windows to build the installer. The latest version at the time of writing is 2.46. Be sure to either install NSIS before running CMake or re-run CMake after installing NSIS. NSIS can be found on the NSIS homepage.

The offical wxLauncher releases for Windows are built with Microsoft's Visual Studio 2008 Express edition. Other Visual Studio versions should work, but are not routinely tested. [Visual Studio Express] editions can be downloaded and used for developing wxLauncher for free. [Visual Studio Express]: http://www.microsoft.com/express/download/

wxLauncher's source can be explored from the project's source page

To get the source, you'll need Git:

Once Git is installed, you can get a copy of the source by running the following command in a folder of your choice: git clone https://code.google.com/p/wxlauncher/

Building - Windows

Run CMake in your favourite way (GUI, or on the commandline ccmake (uses curses) or cmake).

CMake QT Gui

Assuming the GUI, select the CMakeLists.txt in the main wxLauncher source directory and set your output directory to where you want the native build tool to be placed, somewhere without spaces. Click configure until the Generate button Enables. The lines that are highligted red are new variables that CMake has found.

  • Set wxWdigets_ROOT_DIR to the root directory of your wxWidgets source directory if it remains NOTFOUND.
  • Set PYTHON_EXECUTABLE to the python that you want to use. It may not show up. If it doesn't show up, it means that cmake found python automatically, but if cmake selects the wrong version of python, please see "CMake selects the wrong python".
  • Check DEVELOPMENT_MODE if you are going to be debugging wxLauncher. Make sure that it is unchecked if you plan on distributing the code as with this checked, the launcher will only run on the dev machine. This option changes where the launcher looks for files to display such as the default interface.
  • Check USE_JOYSTICK, USE_OPENAL, and/or USE_SPEECH if you want those options compiled in.
  • If USE_OPENAL is checked, OPENAL_INCLUDE_DIR will appear. Set it to the include folder in the OpenAL SDK folder.

Building - Linux (has been tested on Ubuntu)

Command line

  • Download the wxLauncher source
  • sudo apt-get install build-essential libopenal-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev libwxgtk2.8-dbg python-markdown
  • Download and install the cmake 2.8 .debs for your platform from: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/cmake. You will need cmake-data, and cmake-2.8.0* for your platform, plus cmake-curses-gui or cmake-qt-gui
  • cd
  • mkdir build
  • cd build To prevent error messages like "The launcher is expecting (/home/foo/bar) to contain the resource images." from occurring, either type:
  • make Or instead type:
  • cmake -DUSE_OPENAL=1 -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ../
  • make
  • make install (with root privileges)

CMake selects the wrong python

If CMake selects the wrong version of python (should be version 2), you can set the version yourself by setting PYTHON_EXECUTABLE when you run CMake by adding "-DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=</path/to/python2>" to your command line, for example "-DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=/usr/bin/python2".

If you run into this problem, please post in this ticket http://code.google.com/p/wxlauncher/issues/detail?id=99 with your distro, OS version, and whether you're running 32- or 64-bit.

Building - macOS (tested on 10.11, El Capitan)

  • Get Xcode from the Mac App Store (used 7.3.1)
  • Get Python 3 from python.org if you don't have it. (used 3.5.2)
  • Get Markdown for Python (link is provided above). (used 2.6.6) Use pip3 to install Markdown rather than pip. By default this is in /usr/local/bin/pip3 . You will need root privileges.
  • Get Git, making sure that you select the version of Git for your version of macOS.
  • Clone the wxLauncher repository.
  • Get CMake 3 (used 3.6.1).
  • Get the latest stable version of wxWidgets 3 (used 3.0.2). Once you've downloaded and extracted the source tarball, do these things, assuming 3.0.2:
    • cd wxWidgets-3.0.2/
    • Either "mkdir build-debug" or "mkdir build-release" (your choice)
    • cd
    • Type the following to configure, adjusting according to the notes that follow:
    • ../configure --enable-stl --enable-unicode --enable-debug --disable-shared --with-macosx-version-min=10.9 CC=clang CXX=clang++ CXXFLAGS="-stdlib=libc++ -std=c++11" OBJCXXFLAGS="-stdlib=libc++ -std=c++11" LDFLAGS=-stdlib=libc++
      • If you want a release build rather than a debug build, leave out the '--enable-debug'
    • make
  • Install SDL2: you can either (1) download, build, and install it yourself (such as with Homebrew) or (2) simply download the Frameworks.tgz tarbal from the FreeSpace 2 Open source tree

Extract the SDL2.framework and copy it to your /Users//Library/Frameworks folder. Create the Frameworks folder if it does not exist.

  • Run CMake either by using cmake at the command line or by using the CMake.app GUI, selecting Xcode as your generator.
    • A few notes on configuring the CMake variables:
      • Set wxWidgets_CONFIG_EXECUTABLE to point to the version of wxWidgets you built. wxWidgets_CONFIG_EXECUTABLE is located at /yourWxWidgetsBuildFolder/wx-config
      • Set PYTHON_EXECUTABLE to point to Python 3, by default in /usr/local/bin/python3
      • If you are not using SDL2.framework, uncheck USING_SDL2_FRAMEWORK (or on command line, add -DUSING_SDL2_FRAMEWORK=0)
    • cd
    • mkdir build
    • cd build
    • /path/to/CMake.app/Contents/bin/cmake -G Xcode -DwxWidgets_CONFIG_EXECUTABLE=/path/to/wxWidgets/Build/Folder/wx-config -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=/path/to/python3 -DUSE_OPENAL=1 ../
  • Once you have your Xcode project set up, build the "ALL_BUILD" target to build wxlauncher.app in /wxLauncherBuildFolder/SelectedBuildConfig/ , or type "xcodebuild -configuration " at the terminal in your wxLauncher build folder. Make sure that the build configuration you choose (Debug or Release) matches the build configuration you used when you built wxWidgets.

Important known issues on macOS:

  • After startup or after a FS2 Open binary is (re-)selected, checkboxes on the advanced settings page may not appear until after a moment or after the user interacts with the advanced settings page, such as by clicking on the flag list.

Building - FreeBSD (tested on TrueOS Desktop, 22 Feb 2017)

  • Download the wxLauncher source
  • Ensure the following packages are installed:
  • cmake, openal-soft, SDL2, wx28-gtk2, python, python2, python27, py27-markdown
  • cd
  • mkdir build
  • cd build
  • A typical fully usable build configuration will look something like:
  • -DwxWidgets_CONFIG_EXECUTABLE=/usr/local/bin/wxgtk2u-2.8-config ../
  • make
  • make install (with root privileges if necessary)


Using wx30-gtk2 currently yields a compilation error (11 March 2017) TrueOS desktop comes with python2/python27, but no binary 'python'. Installing the python package seems to just create that symlink. Joystick support has not been tested. If you have a joystick working with FreeBSD please report test results.


See License.txt.