Introduction to the buildsystem¶
Godot uses SCons to build. We love it, we are not changing it for anything else. We are not even sure other build systems are up to the task of building Godot. We constantly get requests to move the build system to CMake, or Visual Studio, but this is not going to happen. There are many reasons why we have chosen SCons over other alternatives, for example:
- Godot can be compiled for a dozen different platforms: all PC platforms, all mobile platforms, many consoles, and WebAssembly.
- Developers often need to compile for several of the platforms at the same time, or even different targets of the same platform. They can’t afford reconfiguring and rebuilding the project each time. SCons can do this with no sweat, without breaking the builds.
- SCons will never break a build no matter how many changes, configurations, additions, removals etc. You have more chances to die struck by lightning than needing to clean and rebuild in SCons.
- Godot build process is not simple. Several files are generated by code (binders), others are parsed (shaders), and others need to offer customization (plugins). This requires complex logic which is easier to write in an actual programming language (like Python) rather than using a mostly macro-based language only meant for building.
- Godot build process makes heavy use of cross-compiling tools. Each platform has a specific detection process, and all these must be handled as specific cases with special code written for each.
So, please try to keep an open mind and get at least a little familiar with it if you are planning to build Godot yourself.
Please refer to the documentation for Compiling for Android, Compiling for iOS, Compiling for Linux, *BSD, Compiling for macOS, Compiling for Universal Windows Platform, Compiling for the Web, and Compiling for Windows.
Note that for Windows/Visual Studio, you need to use
x86_x64 Cross Tools
Command Prompt for VS 2017 or similar, depending on your install, instead of
the standard Windows command prompt to enter the commands below.
Godot’s build system will begin by detecting the platforms it can build for. If not detected, the platform will simply not appear on the list of available platforms. The build requirements for each platform are described in the rest of this tutorial section.
SCons is invoked by just calling
scons. If no platform is specified,
SCons will detect the target platform automatically based on the host platform.
It will then start building for the target platform right away.
To list the available target platforms, use
To build for a platform (for example,
linuxbsd), run with the
p= to make it short) argument:
This will start the build process, which will take a while. If you want
SCons to build faster, use the
-j <cores> parameter to specify how many
cores will be used for the build. Or leave it using one core, so you
can use your computer for something else :)
Example for using 4 cores:
scons platform=linuxbsd -j 4
The resulting binaries will be placed in the
generally with this naming convention:
For the previous build attempt, the result would look like this:
ls bin bin/godot.linuxbsd.tools.64
This means that the binary is for Linux or *BSD (not both), is not optimized, has tools (the whole editor) compiled in, and is meant for 64 bits.
A Windows binary with the same configuration will look like this:
C:\godot> dir bin/ godot.windows.tools.64.exe
Copy that binary to any location you like, as it contains the project manager, editor and all means to execute the game. However, it lacks the data to export it to the different platforms. For that the export templates are needed (which can be either downloaded from godotengine.org, or you can build them yourself).
Aside from that, there are a few standard options that can be set in all build targets, and which will be explained below.
Tools are enabled by default in all PC targets (Linux, Windows, macOS), disabled for everything else. Disabling tools produces a binary that can run projects but that does not include the editor or the project manager.
scons platform=<platform> tools=yes/no
Target controls optimization and debug flags. Each mode means:
- debug: Build with C++ debugging symbols, runtime checks (performs checks and reports error) and none to little optimization.
- release_debug: Build without C++ debugging symbols and optimization, but keep the runtime checks (performs checks and reports errors). Official editor binaries use this configuration.
- release: Build without symbols, with optimization and with little
to no runtime checks. This target can’t be used together with
tools=yes, as the editor requires some debug functionality and run-time checks to run.
scons platform=<platform> target=debug/release_debug/release
This flag appends the
.debug suffix (for debug), or
.tools (for debug
with tools enabled). When optimization is enabled (release), it appends
Bits is meant to control the CPU or OS version intended to run the binaries. It is focused mostly on desktop platforms and ignored everywhere else.
- 32: Build binaries for 32-bit platforms.
- 64: Build binaries for 64-bit platforms.
- default: Build for the architecture that matches the host platform.
scons platform=<platform> bits=default/32/64
This flag appends
.64 suffixes to resulting binaries when
bits=default is used, the suffix will match the detected
It’s possible to compile modules residing outside of Godot’s directory tree, along with the built-in modules.
custom_modules build option can be passed to the command line before
compiling. The option represents a comma-separated list of directory paths
containing a collection of independent C++ modules that can be seen as C++
packages, just like the built-in
For instance, it’s possible to provide both relative, absolute, and user directory paths containing such modules:
If there’s any custom module with the exact directory name as a built-in module, the engine will only compile the custom one. This logic can be used to override built-in module implementations.
Other build options¶
There are several other build options that you can use to configure the way Godot should be built (compiler, debug options, etc.) as well as the features to include/disable.
Check the output of
scons --help for details about each option for
the version you are willing to compile.
Overriding the build options¶
Using a file¶
custom.py file can be created at the root of the Godot Engine
source to initialize any SCons build options passed via the command line:
# custom.py optimize = "size" module_mono_enabled = "yes" use_llvm = "yes" extra_suffix = "game_title"
You can also disable some of the builtin modules before compiling, saving some time it takes to build the engine, see Optimizing a build for size page for more details.
Another custom file can be specified explicitly with the
line option, both overriding the default build configuration:
Build options set from the file can be overridden by the command line options.
It’s also possible to override the options conditionally:
# custom.py import version # Override options specific for Godot 3.x and 4.x versions. if version.major == 3: pass elif version.major == 4: pass
Using the SCONSFLAGS¶
SCONSFLAGS is an environment variable which is used by the SCons to set the
options automatically without having to supply them via the command line.
For instance, you may want to build Godot in parallel with the aforementioned
-j option for all the future builds:
Official export templates are downloaded from the Godot Engine site: godotengine.org. However, you might want to build them yourself (in case you want newer ones, you are using custom modules, or simply don’t trust your own shadow).
If you download the official export templates package and unzip it, you will notice that most files are optimized binaries or packages for each platform:
To create those yourself, follow the instructions detailed for each platform in this same tutorial section. Each platform explains how to create its own template.
version.txt file should contain the corresponding Godot version
identifier. This file is used to install export templates in a version-specific
directory to avoid conflicts. For instance, if you are building export templates
for Godot 3.1.1,
version.txt should contain
3.1.1.stable on the first
line (and nothing else). This version identifier is based on the
patch (if present) and
status lines of the
version.py file in the Godot Git repository.
If you are developing for multiple platforms, macOS is definitely the most convenient host platform for cross-compilation, since you can cross-compile for almost every target (except for UWP). Linux and Windows come in second place, but Linux has the advantage of being the easier platform to set this up.