Compile ZDoom on Linux

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This tutorial will guide you on the compilation of ZDoom on Linux. Commands are shown in the tutorial that should be entered into a terminal. Commands beginning with `su` or `sudo` will require temporary root/superuser privileges, as will most likely any package installation.

Install dependencies

ZDoom needs certain tools and development files in order to compile:

  • Required
  • Recommended
    • GTK3 or GTK2
    • git (needed in order to download the source and compile in commit meta data)
    • nasm 0.98.39 or later (x86-32 only)
  • Optional
    • zlib (ZDoom has a copy of it and will be statically compiled in if not found)
    • libbzip2 (possibly static)
    • libjpeg (possibly static)
    • libgme or game-music-emu (possibly static)
    • wildmidi (possibly static)
  • Runtime
    • gxmessage (optional - needed to show the crash log in a window)
    • kdialog (optional - for KDE users)
    • fluidsynth or timidity (optional - for MIDI playback)

In addition to or instead of FMOD, OpenAL can be used for sound in which case the following are required:


sudo apt-get install g++ make cmake libsdl2-dev git zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev \
libjpeg-dev libfluidsynth-dev libgme-dev libopenal-dev libmpg123-dev \
libsndfile1-dev libwildmidi-dev libgtk-3-dev timidity nasm tar chrpath


dnf install gcc-c++ make cmake SDL2-devel git zlib-devel bzip2-devel \
libjpeg-turbo-devel fluidsynth-devel game-music-emu-devel openal-soft-devel \
libmpg123-devel libsndfile-devel wildmidi-devel gtk3-devel timidity++ nasm tar \


(Tumbleweed and Leap 15+):

zypper si -d gzdoom
zypper in gcc-c++ make


zypper install gcc-c++ make cmake libSDL2-devel git zlib-devel libbz2-devel \
libjpeg-devel fluidsynth-devel libgme-devel openal-soft-devel mpg123-devel \
libsndfile-devel gtk3-devel timidity nasm tar chrpath


a='' && [ "$(uname -m)" = x86_64 ] && a=64
urpmi gcc-c++ make cmake lib${a}sdl2.0-devel git lib${a}zlib-devel \
lib${a}bzip2-devel lib${a}jpeg-devel lib${a}fluidsynth-devel lib${a}gme-devel \
lib${a}openal-devel lib${a}mpg123-devel lib${a}sndfile-devel lib${a}wildmidi-devel \
lib${a}gtk+3.0-devel lib${a}cairo-devel TiMidity++ nasm tar chrpath

Arch Linux

ZDoom is available in Arch User Repository at

Install as per usual for AUR packages.

pacman -S --needed gcc make cmake sdl2 git zlib bzip2 libjpeg-turbo fluidsynth \
libgme openal mpg123 libsndfile wildmidi gtk3 timidity++ nasm tar fmodex chrpath


emerge -avn sys-devel/gcc sys-devel/make dev-util/cmake media-libs/libsdl2 \
dev-vcs/git sys-libs/zlib app-arch/bzip2 media-libs/libjpeg-turbo media-sound/fluidsynth \
media-libs/game-music-emu media-libs/openal media-sound/mpg123 media-libs/libsndfile \
media-sound/wildmidi x11-libs/gtk+ media-sound/timidity++ dev-lang/nasm app-arch/tar \


a='' && [ "$(uname -m)" = x86_64 ] && a=64
apt-get install gcc-c++ make cmake lib${a}sdl2.0-devel git zlib1-devel \
lib${a}bzip2-devel lib${a}jpeg62-devel lib${a}fluidsynth1-devel lib${a}openal-devel \
lib${a}mpg123-devel lib${a}sndfile-devel lib${a}gtk+3.0-devel TiMidity++ nasm tar \


sudo eopkg install g++ make cmake binutils glibc-devel pkg-config sdl2-devel \
git zlib-devel bzip2-devel libjpeg-turbo-devel fluidsynth-devel openal-soft-devel \
mpg123-devel libsndfile-devel wildmidi-devel libgtk-3-devel nasm tar chrpath

Do the following sections as normal user.

Download and prepare the source

Download the ZDoom source and create an out of tree build directory:

git clone git:// &&
mkdir -pv zdoom/build
cd zdoom/build

The rest of the guide will assume execution from the build directory created here.

Download FMOD

Download FMOD and extract files:

wget -nc &&
tar -xvzf fmodapi44464linux.tar.gz

Since FMOD is not ABI or API stable, is not generally a good idea to install it system wide (although one can).

Starting with commit aecff68a4, now you can compile ZDoom with OpenAL sound support and optinally disable/enable FMOD sound support. If you want to disable FMOD sound support, run:

cmake .. -DNO_FMOD=ON

and compile.

If afterwards you want to enable FMOD sound support, run:

cmake .. -DNO_FMOD=OFF


To compile ZDoom:

a='' && [ "$(uname -m)" = x86_64 ] && a=64
c="$(lscpu -p | grep -v '#' | sort -u -t , -k 2,4 | wc -l)" ; [ "$c" -eq 0 ] && c=1
rm -f output_sdl/
f='-UFMOD_LIBRARY -UFMOD_INCLUDE_DIR' && [ -d fmodapi44464linux ] &&
f="-DFMOD_LIBRARY=fmodapi44464linux/api/lib/libfmodex${a} \
cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release $f &&
make -j$c

A development version of ZDoom will be compiled if you do not do #Latest stable version.

Assuming all goes well, a zdoom binary should be produced. To start ZDoom, the following command should work:


If ZDoom complains you do not have any IWADs set up, make sure that you have your IWAD files placed in the same directory as ZDoom, in ~/.config/zdoom/, $DOOMWADDIR, or /usr/local/share/. Alternatively, you can edit ~/.config/zdoom/zdoom.ini to set the path for your IWADs.

Latest stable version

If you want to compile the latest stable version, run:

git checkout 2.8.1

and compile.

After compiling, backing up and optionally installing the latest stable version, run:

git checkout master


If you want to backup ZDoom, do the following:

Create and name a directory with the corresponding ZDoom version/revision, build type and copy zdoom and zdoom.pk3 to it. If you compiled ZDoom with FMOD sound support, copy to the destination directory.

k='' && [ -f CMakeCache.txt ] && k="$(sed -n 's/.*CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING=\(.*\)/\1/p' CMakeCache.txt)"
b='' && [ -n "$k" ] && b="-BuildType$k"
o=output_sdl/ && l='' && [ -f "$o" ] && l="$o"
BACKUPZDOOM="$(sed -n 's/.*#define GIT_DESCRIPTION "\(.*\)".*/\1/p' ../src/gitinfo.h)$b" &&
mkdir -pv "$BACKUPZDOOM" &&
cp -v zdoom zdoom.pk3 $l \


When you wish to update ZDoom, copy and paste the following:

git pull

When the update finish, go to #Compiling.


  • zdoom = Stable version
  • zdoom-alpha = Development version

If you want to install ZDoom, do the following:

Create /usr/games/zdoom and /usr/games/zdoom-alpha directories:

sudo mkdir -pv /usr/games/zdoom /usr/games/zdoom-alpha

Copy zdoom and zdoom.pk3 to /usr/games/zdoom/ or /usr/games/zdoom-alpha/. If you compiled ZDoom with FMOD sound support, copy and the FMOD library file to the destination directory.

a='' && [ "$(uname -m)" = x86_64 ] && a=64
h="$(sed -n 's/.*#define GIT_HASH "\(.*\)".*/\1/p' ../src/gitinfo.h)"
d='' && [ -z "$(git describe --exact-match --tags $h 2>/dev/null)" ] && d=-alpha
o=output_sdl/ && l='' && [ -f "$o" ] && l="$o \
chrpath -r '$ORIGIN' zdoom
sudo cp -v zdoom zdoom.pk3 $l \

Create launch script:

h="$(sed -n 's/.*#define GIT_HASH "\(.*\)".*/\1/p' ../src/gitinfo.h)"
d='' && [ -z "$(git describe --exact-match --tags $h 2>/dev/null)" ] && d=-alpha
printf %s "\
exec /usr/games/zdoom$d/zdoom \"\$@\"
" > zdoom$
chmod 755 zdoom$
sudo mv -v zdoom$ /usr/bin/zdoom$d

Now from a terminal you should be able to run zdoom or zdoom-alpha from any user account.


Remove /usr/games/zdoom directory and all its files:

sudo rm -rfv /usr/games/zdoom

Remove zdoom script:

sudo rm -fv /usr/bin/zdoom

Remove /usr/games/zdoom-alpha directory and all its files:

sudo rm -rfv /usr/games/zdoom-alpha

Remove zdoom-alpha script:

sudo rm -fv /usr/bin/zdoom-alpha


This page has helped you compile ZDoom, but perhaps you are interested in debugging the code or submitting code changes or fixes for inclusion. This section is intended for more advanced users who may be unfamiliar to CMake or debugging on Linux systems.



Maybe you have found a way to make ZDoom crash, and are interested in debugging it. First, you need to compile a debug build of ZDoom. Inside the build directory, invoke CMake to set up for compiling, but this time, the build type is set to Debug:

cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug

Optionally, you may want to use some of the #Build options.

After CMake is done, run make or to speed up compilation, run make -j<number>, a recommended value for the -j option is the number of physical cores:


To run ZDoom under a debugger such as gdb, use the following command:

gdb zdoom

Now gdb should have you in its own command prompt:


You probably want to log the output, so lets output to a file zdoomdebug.log:

(gdb) set logging on zdoomdebug.log

Now start ZDoom by typing in run, and pressing enter:

(gdb) run

Or put any command line parameters to zdoom after run:

(gdb) run <command line parameters>

If ZDoom crashes, gdb may be able to tell you the source file and line number it crashed in. Typing in the command backtrace or bt will produce information telling the last function calls, showing how execution got to the point where it crashed:

(gdb) backtrace

All output will be copied into the zdoomdebug.log, which can then be scrutinized later, or perhaps posted to the Bugs forum for other developers to look at.

To exit gdb's command prompt, type quit, q or press Ctrl-D:

(gdb) quit

If you want to free up space, run make clean to remove the files generated by the compilation.

Build options

CMake options
Options Description Example
NO_GTK=ON Disable GTK+ dialogs. cmake .. -DNO_GTK=ON
NO_FMOD=ON Disable FMOD sound support. cmake .. -DNO_FMOD=ON
NO_OPENAL=ON Disable OpenAL sound support. cmake .. -DNO_OPENAL=ON
FMOD_LIBRARY Set path for FMOD library file. cmake .. -DFMOD_LIBRARY=/path/to/libfmodex(64)
FMOD_INCLUDE_DIR Set path for FMOD include directory. cmake .. -DFMOD_INCLUDE_DIR=/path/to/include/dir
CMAKE_C_COMPILER Set path for C compiler. cmake .. -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=/path/to/compiler/gcc
CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER Set path for C++ compiler. cmake .. -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=/path/to/compiler/g++
CMake build types
Types Description Example
Debug Debug information, -O1 optimization. cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug
Release No debug information, -O3 optimization. cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release
RelWithDebInfo Debug information, -O2 optimization. Useful for finding optimization bugs that only show up in Release. cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo
MinSizeRel Similar to Release but with less optimizations in order to save space. cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=MinSizeRel



If ZDoom starts but immediately closes with the following messages in the terminal:

Init Playloop state.
Setting up sound.
Checking network game status.
player 1 of 1 (1 nodes)

This usually indicates that FMOD Ex is not loading correctly (and ZDoom is configured to use FMOD by default). There are then two solutions.

You could start ZDoom without music:

zdoom -nomusic

or you could select (in the ZDoom settings) a MIDI device other than FMOD. To change MIDI device, go to the sound options menu.

  • ... on any Debian/Ubuntu-based distribution, run:
sudo apt-get install timidity timidity-interfaces-extra
  • ... on openSUSE:
yast2 -i timidity or zypper in timidity
  • ... on Gentoo, run:
sudo emerge -avn timidity++

See the software synthesizer article for further information about ZDoom's MIDI devices.

External links