How to build VCMI (macOS)

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Revision as of 11:46, 17 October 2022 by Kambala (talk | contribs) (point to Conan docs in the repo)
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  1. C++ toolchain, either of:
  2. CMake: brew install --cask cmake or get from
  3. (optional) Ninja: brew install ninja or get from

Obtaining source code

Clone with submodules. Example for command line:

git clone --recurse-submodules

Obtaining dependencies

There're 2 ways to get dependencies automatically.

Conan package manager

Please find detailed instructions in VCMI repository.

On the step where you need to replace PROFILE, choose:

  • if you're on an Intel Mac: macos-intel
  • if you're on an Apple Silicon Mac: macos-arm

Note: if you wish to build 1.0 release in non-Release configuration, you should define USE_CONAN_WITH_ALL_CONFIGS=1 environment variable when executing conan install.


  1. Install Homebrew
  2. Install dependencies: brew install boost ffmpeg@4 luajit minizip sdl2 sdl2_image sdl2_mixer sdl2_ttf tbb
  3. Install Qt dependency in either of the ways (note that you can skip this if you're not going to build Launcher):
    • brew install qt@5 for Qt 5 or brew install qt for Qt 6
    • using Qt Online Installer - choose Go open source

Preparing build environment

This applies only to Xcode-based toolchain. If xcrun -f clang prints errors, then use either of the following ways:

  • select an Xcode instance from Xcode application - Preferences - Locations - Command Line Tools
  • use xcode-select utility to set Xcode or Xcode Command Line Tools path: for example, sudo xcode-select -s /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools
  • set DEVELOPER_DIR environment variable pointing to Xcode or Xcode Command Line Tools path: for example, export DEVELOPER_DIR=/Applications/

Configuring project for building

Note that if you wish to use Qt Creator IDE, you should skip this step and configure respective variables inside the IDE.

  1. In Terminal cd to the source code directory
  2. Start assembling CMake invocation: type cmake -S . -B BUILD_DIR where BUILD_DIR can be any path, don't press Return
  3. Decide which CMake generator you want to use:
    • Makefiles: no extra option needed or pass -G 'Unix Makefiles'
    • Ninja (if you have installed it): pass -G Ninja
    • Xcode IDE (if you have installed it): pass -G Xcode
  4. If you picked Makefiles or Ninja, pick desired build type - either of Debug / RelWithDebInfo / Release / MinSizeRel - and pass it in CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE option, for example: -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release. If you don't pass this option, RelWithDebInfo will be used.
  5. If you don't want to run tests, pass -D ENABLE_TEST=OFF
  6. If you don't want to build Launcher, pass -D ENABLE_LAUNCHER=OFF
  7. You can also pass -Wno-dev if you're not interested in CMake developer warnings
  8. Next step depends on the dependency manager you have picked:
    • Conan: pass -D CMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=conan-generated/conan_toolchain.cmake where conan-generated must be replaced with your directory choice
      • (only if building 1.0 release) If you're on an Apple Silicon Mac, also pass: -D ENABLE_ERM=OFF -D ENABLE_LUA=OFF
    • Homebrew: pass -D "CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=$(brew --prefix ffmpeg@4)"
      • if you installed Qt 5 from Homebrew, append to the above option but before the closing quote: ;$(brew --prefix qt@5)
      • if you installed Qt from Online Installer, append to the above option but before the closing quote your path to Qt directory, for example: ;/Users/kambala/dev/Qt-libs/5.15.2/Clang64
      • example of what you should pass in the first case: -D "CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=$(brew --prefix ffmpeg@4);$(brew --prefix qt@5)"
  9. now press Return

Building project

You must also install game files to be able to run the built version, see Installation on macOS.

From Xcode IDE

Open VCMI.xcodeproj from the build directory, select vcmiclient scheme and hit Run (Cmd+R). To build Launcher, select vcmilauncher scheme instead.

From command line

cmake --build <path to build directory>

  • If using Makefiles generator, you'd want to utilize all your CPU cores by appending -- -j$(sysctl -n hw.ncpu) to the above
  • If using Xcode generator, you can also choose which configuration to build by appending --config <configuration name> to the above, for example: --config Debug

Packaging project into DMG file

After building, run cpack from the build directory. If using Xcode generator, also pass -C <configuration name> with the same configuration that you used to build the project.

If you use Conan, it's expected that you use conan-generated directory at step 4 of #Conan package manager.

Running VCMI

You can run VCMI from DMG, but it's will also work from your IDE be it Xcode or Qt Creator.

Alternatively you can run binaries directly from "bin" directory:


CMake include commands to copy all needed assets from source directory into "bin" on each build. They'll work when you build from Xcode too.

Some useful debugging tips

Anyone who might want to debug builds, but new to macOS could find following commands useful:

# To attach DMG file from command line use
hdiutil attach vcmi-1.0.dmg
# Detach volume:
hdiutil detach /Volumes/vcmi-1.0
# To view dependency paths
otool -L /Volumes/vcmi-1.0/
# To display load commands such as LC_RPATH 
otool -l /Volumes/vcmi-1.0/


In case of troubles you can always consult our CI build scripts or contact the dev team via slack