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Co-authored-by: Andrei Alexeyev <>

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Taisei is an open clone of the Tōhō Project series. Tōhō is a one-man project of shoot-em-up games set in an isolated world full of Japanese folklore.



  • OpenGL >= 3.3 or OpenGL ES >= 3.0 or OpenGL ES >= 2.0 (with some extensions)
  • cglm >= 0.7.8
  • SDL2 >= 2.0.10
  • freetype2
  • libpng >= 1.5.0
  • libwebpdecoder >= 0.5 or libwebp >= 0.5
  • libzip >= 1.5.0 (>= 1.7.0 recommended)
  • libzstd >= 1.4.0
  • opusfile
  • zlib


  • OpenSSL (for a better SHA-256 implementation; used in shader cache)
  • SPIRV-Cross >= 2019-03-22 (for OpenGL ES backends)
  • libshaderc (for OpenGL ES backends)
  • GameMode headers (Linux only; for automatic GameMode integration)

Build-only dependencies


  • docutils (for documentation)

Obtaining the source code

Stable releases

You can find the source tarballs at the Releases section on Github. Do not grab Github's auto-generated source archives, those do not contain the required submodules. This only applies for versions v1.3 and above.

Latest code from git

If you cloned Taisei from git, make sure the submodules are initialized:

git submodule init
git submodule update

This step needs to be done just once, and can be skipped if you specified the --recursive or --recurse-submodules option when cloning.

Important: You should also run git submodule update whenever you pull in new code, checkout another branch, etc. The pull and checkout helper scripts can do that for you automatically.

Compiling from source

To build and install Taisei on *nix, just follow these steps:

cd /path/to/taisei/source
mkdir build
cd build
meson --prefix=$yourprefix ..
ninja install

This will install game data to $prefix/share/taisei/ and build this path statically into the executable. This might be a package maintainer’s choice. Alternatively you may want to add -Dinstall_relative=true to get a relative structure like


install_relative is always set when building for Windows.

The OpenGL ES 3.0 backend is not built by default. To enable it, do:

meson configure -Dr_gles30=true -Dshader_transpiler=true

See here for information on how to activate it. Alternatively, do this to make GLES 3.0 the default backend:

meson configure -Dr_default=gles30

The OpenGL ES 2.0 backend can be enabled similarly, using gles20 instead of gles30. However, it requires a few extensions to function correctly, most notably:

  • OES_depth_texture or GL_ANGLE_depth_texture
  • OES_standard_derivatives
  • OES_vertex_array_object
  • EXT_frag_depth
  • EXT_instanced_arrays or ANGLE_instanced_arrays or NV_instanced_arrays

Where are my replays, screenshots and settings?

Taisei stores all data in a platform-specific directory:

  • On Windows, this will probably be %APPDATA%\taisei
  • On macOS, it's $HOME/Library/Application Support/taisei
  • On Linux, *BSD, and most other Unix-like systems, it's $XDG_DATA_HOME/taisei or $HOME/.local/share/taisei

This is referred to as the Storage Directory. You can set the environment variable TAISEI_STORAGE_PATH to override this behaviour.

Game controller support

Taisei uses SDL2's unified GameController API. This allows us to correctly support any device that SDL recognizes by default, while treating all of them the same way. This also means that if your device is not supported by SDL, you will not be able to use it unless you provide a custom mapping. If your controller is listed in the settings menu, then you're fine. If not, read on.

An example mapping string looks like this:

03000000ba2200002010000001010000,Jess Technology USB Game Controller,a:b2,b:b1,back:b8,dpdown:h0.4,dpleft:h0.8,dpright:h0.2,dpup:h0.1,guide:,leftshoulder:b4,lefttrigger:b6,leftx:a0,lefty:a1,rightshoulder:b5,righttrigger:b7,rightx:a3,righty:a2,start:b9,x:b3,y:b0,

There are a few ways to generate a custom mapping:

  • You can use the controllermap utility, which comes with SDL source code.
  • If you use Steam, you can configure your controller there. Then you can add Taisei as a non-Steam game; run it from Steam and everything should just work™. In case you don't want to do that, find config/config.vdf in your Steam installation directory, and look for the SDL_GamepadBind variable. It contains a list of SDL mappings separated by line breaks.
  • You can also try the SDL2 Gamepad Tool by General Arcade. This program is free to use, but not open source.
  • Finally, you can try to write a mapping by hand. You will probably have to refer to the SDL documentation. See gamecontrollerdb.txt for some more examples.

Once you have your mapping, there are two ways to make Taisei use it:

  • Create a file named gamecontrollerdb.txt where your config, replays and screenshots are, and put each mapping on a new line.
  • Put your mappings in the environment variable SDL_GAMECONTROLLERCONFIG, also separated by line breaks. Other games that use the GameController API will also pick them up.

When you're done, please consider contributing your mappings to SDL, SDL_GameControllerDB, and us, so that other people can benefit from your work.

Also note that we currently only handle input from analog axes and digital buttons. Hats, analog buttons, and anything more exotic will not work, unless remapped.


Sound problems (Linux)

If your sound becomes glitchy, and you encounter lot of console messages like:

ALSA lib pcm.c:7234:(snd_pcm_recover) underrun occurred

it seems like you possibly have broken ALSA configuration. This may be fixed by playing with parameter values of pcm.dmixer.slave option group in /etc/asound.conf or wherever you have your ALSA configuration. Commenting period_time, period_size, buffer_size, rate may give you the first approach to what to do.