Compiling ScummVM/Visual Studio

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Compiling ScummVM with Visual Studio under Windows

Compiling ScummVM with Visual Studio is not an awfully hard task. It is however slightly more complicated than using MinGW. We guide you through the steps to make ScummVM compile with Visual Studio on this page.

Things needed

Visual Studio 2008-2019

Visual Studio

There exists a free Community version of Visual Studio here that can be used. Professional Visual Studio versions are working fine too.

When installing Visual Studio 2017 or later, make sure to select the "Desktop Development with C++" workload.

We do support older versions of Visual Studio too. However, on this page we focus on building ScummVM with latest Visual Studio. Building ScummVM with older Visual Studio 2008 can require additional work not described on this page.

Needed Libraries

ScummVM relies on third-party libraries to implement certain functionality. Some of these libraries are required, like for example SDL, others are optional, like for example libtheora. We supply a set of prebuilt libraries for Visual Studio 2015 and later. These have been build on Windows 8.1 using the Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition. The libraries can be found here.

Installing Libraries

The easiest way to make Visual Studio find the supplied libraries is by using the environment variable "SCUMMVM_LIBS". We describe this method now. To make it work you have to follow these steps:

  • Unzip the library zip to a directory of your choice. For example, you can unzip them into "C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents\scummvm_libs_2015".
  • Go to Start Menu > Control Panel > System > Advanced Settings > Environment Variables and add a new variable "SCUMMVM_LIBS" with a value of the path you extracted the zip in. It is important that you do point the variable to the folder containing the "bin", "include", and "lib" directories.

Manually Building Libraries

If you want to build libraries for use with Visual Studio yourself, please refer to the instructions for compiling the libraries yourself.

Preparing the Project Files

Building create_project

ScummVM uses a configure/Make based build system. We have a tool to generate Visual Studio project files from this build system. The first step you need to take is building this tool called "create_project".

First, open the solution file "devtools\create_project\msvc\create_project.sln". Then simply build the solution. The project file should automatically assure that the resulting "create_project.exe" is copied to "dists\msvc". If not, you will have to copy it yourself.

Generating the Project Files

Simply run the batch script "dists/msvc/create_msvc.bat". It will guide you through configuring ScummVM.

IMPORTANT: You will have to re-generate the project files whenever new source files have been added to or removed from the configure/Make based build system. When you add new files to ScummVM, you will have to add them to the respective "" file to assure ScummVM still builds fine with the configure/Make based build system.

Compiling ScummVM

If you followed all the steps, you are now ready to compile ScummVM with Visual Studio. Congratulations!

Simply open the generated solution file in "dists\msvc\scummvm.sln". Now you can ask it to build the desired configuration. By default it will build a debug configuration which is ideal to hack on ScummVM.

IMPORTANT: If you get errors about missing DLLs, you'll need to copy them to a location Windows picks up to run the resulting binary. The easiest way to do this is to place the DLL files in the directory where scummvm.exe is. There are multiple folders to choose from, depending on your build configuration. For example, if you build a Win32 Debug configuration, you will need to copy them from "SCUMMVM_LIBS\lib\x86\Debug" to "dists\msvc\Debugx86".

NOTE: Several people have had errors about structure packing under Visual Studio 2019. In such cases, you need to update SDL2 with the latest version.

Compiling with Console/Text Output

By default ScummVM is compiled as a Windows subsystem application with no console output. If you need the console, you can do one of the following:

  • In the create_project command, add --enable-text-console.
  • In the Project Options for the scummvm project, go to the Linker | System | SubSystem line, and change the /SUBSYSTEM:WINDOWS to /SUBSYSTEM:CONSOLE