The Dark Mod - Compilation Guide

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Intended article audience: engine coders

This guide should provide you with enough information to compile The Dark Mod's game code from source.

The sources are available through "snapshots", i.e. whenever the Dark Mod team is releasing a new update (e.g. TDM 1.01) the corresponding sources are released as well.

Get the sources

Be warned though that (unless you're a team member and working on the SVN asset base) these sources might be incompatible with your local darkmod installation. The team cannot and will not support you in case you're running into troubles trying to get it to run.


Since TDM 2.03 you'll need Visual Studio 2013 to compile the project (the free Community Edition works fine). A solution file for MSVS2013 is provided in TheDarkMod.sln. (Prior TDM versions were using VC++ 2010, check this page's history for instructions.)

You will need the Microsoft DirectX SDK installed as well. If it does not reside in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft DirectX SDK (June 2010)" you will need to update the property sheets accordingly.

Download the sources and unpack them next to your darkmod/ folder, such that the directory structure looks like this:

C:\Games\Doom3\darkmod       <-- your darkmod location
C:\Games\Doom3\darkmod_src   <-- your source folder containing the solution, can be renamed

You'll find a TheDarkMod.sln solution file (in VC++ 2013 format), which you can double-click to open in Visual Studio. The solution is designed to put the compiled binaries into the darkmod/ folder above, that's why I recommend using such a folder layout. (You can change the output paths in the property sheets, in case you know how to do that.)

Once the solution is opened, select the Configuration Type in the topmost toolbar (either "release" or "debug", depending on what you want to do) and hit "Build Solution" (Ctrl-Shift-B). The compilation usually takes a minute or two, watch the output window at the bottom of Visual Studio. After completion you'll find the compiled binaries TheDarkMod.exe and gamex86.dll in your darkmod/ folder - the darkmod/tdm_game01.pk4 archive will have been updated too, there's a post-build event defined to add the DLL file into the PK4.

Debugging the Engine/Game

To debug your custom built code, you need to attach Visual Studio's debugger to the TheDarkMod.exe process. There are two ways to accomplish that:

The quick one:

  1. Go to Visual Studio and open the TheDarkMod solution
  2. Make sure the "Engine" project is marked bold (as "Startup project)
  3. Compile and hit run (F5), Studio will start your TheDarkMod.exe and attach automatically

The manual way:

  1. Start your custom TheDarkMod.exe through Windows Explorer or shortcuts
  2. Once the game is up and running, Alt-Tab back to Visual Studio
  3. Go to menu "Debug" > "Attach to Process..." and select the TheDarkMod.exe process from the list in that dialog popping up.
  4. The debugger will now attach to TDM (along with all loaded DLLs) and you can now place breakpoints or intercept game crashes.


My breakpoints don't work (they are hollow circles instead of full ones)
Make sure you're attached to the correct TheDarkMod.exe binary. If you're attaching to an older version (e.g. from an outdated compilation process) or one you haven't built in Studio yourself, VC++ won't be able to load the symbols from the .pdb files. Make sure that the configuration type (release or debug build) is matching as well.
I cannot inspect all the variables / The instruction pointer is skipping code
You are probably running a release build, which comes with some optimisations. When debugging a release build, you'll notice that your instruction pointer (the yellow arrow) is sometimes skipping statements, which have most likely been optimised out of the binary during compilation/linking. You'll also have troubles when trying to inspect temporary variables or inlined functions. Use a debug build if this prevents you from figuring out things during debugging.


For Linux you'll need gcc and scons, plus a few packages depending on your distribution. There is a README.linux file contained in the source package you downloaded, check it out for some details.

Debian Sqeeze 64 bit

You need the following packages:

apt-get install ia32-libs scons g++ g++-multilib m4 zip
apt-get install libglew1.5-dev libpng12-dev libjpeg62-dev
apt-get install libc6-dev-i386 libxxf86vm-dev libopenal-dev libasound2-dev libxext-dev

You must also edit sys/scons/ and add the following lines near where local_env.Append is alread used:

local_env.Append(LIBS = [

Also change in the same file (a few lines above):

local_env.Append( LINKFLAGS = [ '-lrt', '-lpng' ] )


local_env.Append( LINKFLAGS = [ '-lrt', '-lpng12' ] )

It might also be necessary to make the following symlink:

ln -s /lib32/ /lib32/

Ubuntu 10.10 64 Bit

You'll need the same packages as for the 32 bit Ubuntu variants, plus a few additional 32 bit compatibility packages (ia32-libs and libc6-dev-i386):

sudo apt-get install g++ scons libglew1.5-dev libpng12-dev libjpeg62-dev ia32-libs libc6-dev-i386

Then just run the scons command to start compiling:

scons BUILD="release" BUILD_GAMEPAK="1"

Ubuntu 10.04 32 Bit

After setting up a clean 10.04, these are the packages needed to get the source to compile. Copy & paste the following line:

sudo apt-get install g++ scons libglew1.5-dev libpng12-dev libjpeg62-dev

Then run this command to start compiling:


If the build fails, complaining that it can't find something, it needs more libraries. Execute the following line:

sudo apt-get install m4 libxxf86vm-dev libopenal-dev libasound2-dev g++-multilib gcc-multilib zlib1g-dev libxext-dev

That should install all packages needed.

Mac OS X

For OS X you'll need gcc and scons, as with Linux. gcc should be included in your xcode installation, scons can be downloaded from the scons project website. The third-party libraries like boost, devil and libcurl are already included in the TDM source package, so it should compile out of the box. If you ever need to build one of them from scratch, see the subsections below.

The sconscripts are prepared for both Intel and PPC target architectures, the MACOSX_TARGET_ARCH argument will control which architecture you're compiling for.

Compiling for Intel architecture

To start compiling, enter the following command in the folder you extracted the TDM sources to:


Compiling for PPC architecture

To start compiling, enter the following command in the folder you extracted the TDM sources to:


Compiling a universal binary

I've been using the following script to generate a universal binary. This script assumes that there are two separate TDM source folders, one in darkmod_src.i386 and one in darkmod_src.ppc. Note: they are actual copies of the same TDM source package, I just used that as convenience such that I don't have to recompile the whole source tree after minor changes.

cd /Users/greebo
cd darkmod_src.i386
cd ../darkmod_src.ppc
cd ../darkmod_src.i386
lipo -arch i386 gamei386-base.dylib -arch ppc ../darkmod_src.ppc/gameppc-base.dylib -create -output game.dylib
zip -d tdm_game03.pk4 game.dylib
zip tdm_game03.pk4 game.dylib

After this the darkmod_src.i386/tdm_game03.pk4 should contain the universal binary of the TDM game lib. The PK4 is about 6 to 7 MB.

Installing scons

Get the scons tarball from their website, unpack it to a folder and run the following commands (note that the exact scons version might differ):

cd scons-2.0.1
python install

Building libcurl in Mac OS X

Download the libcurl 7.21 source package, and extract it on your system. To produce a so-called "fat" binary you need to compile for both i386 and ppc targets.

Build the i386 target by entering:

env CFLAGS="-m32 -arch i386" LDFLAGS="-m32 -arch i386" ./configure --disable-ldap --build=i686-unknown-linux-gnu --without-libidn --without-zlib --without-ssl
sudo make install

After make install the static library can be found in /usr/local/lib/libcurl.a, copy that file to your curl folder and rename it to ./libcurl.i386.a

Build the powerpc target by entering:

env CFLAGS="-m32 -arch ppc" LDFLAGS="-m32 -arch ppc" ./configure --disable-ldap --build=powerpc-unknown-linux-gnu --without-libidn --without-zlib --without-ssl
sudo make install

After make install the static library can be found in /usr/local/lib/libcurl.a, copy that file to your curl folder and rename it to ./libcurl.ppc.a

Finally call lipo to combine these two into a fat binary by entering this in your curl folder.

lipo -arch i386 libcurl.i386.a -arch ppc libcurl.ppc.a -create -output libcurl.a

The filesize of the newly created libcurl.a should be around the sum of the single ppc and i386 libs, you can double-check that. Copy the libcurl.a into your darkmod_src/macosx/libcurl/ and you're done with this step.

Building Boost static libs in Mac OS X

Download the boost 1.45 sources and extract them to your hard drive. Create a jam user config file to use the g++ 4.0 compiler instead of the default gcc 4.2 in Leopard: create a new file in your boost root folder and name it user-config-darwin.jam:

using darwin : 8.11 : /usr/bin/g++-4.0 :
    <threading>"multi" ;

Download a bjam binary for OS X to your machine, then build boost threads, filesystem and system:

/path/to/bjam --user-config=../../../user-config-darwin.jam architecture=combined link=static threading=multi address-model=32 release [stage]

The "stage" option only works in filesystem and system (not in thread, as of boost 1.45). You'll find the filesystem and system libs in the ./stage folder of your boost root, the libboost_thread.a will be located in the bin.v2 folder after compilation.

Copy all libboost*.a files to darkmod_src/macosx/boost/lib/.

I have a bugfix for the team

In case you figured out a problem in the TDM game code and you maybe even have a fix available, please drop by at our forums to tell the coding staff. Your fix might be incorporated in the main development branch.

Additional Info about the TDM Code

The Dark Mod codebase is quite large in the meantime and we have reorganised and refactored/replaced a number of things. There are a few things which haven't changed too much (like the animation code), but most gameplay code has been altered to fit TDM's needs.

Additionally, the TDM code relies on a few static libraries which are not required in the vanilla D3 code, see below.

Boost Libraries

TDM's code is using boost libraries. Most boost libraries we're using are header-only (i.e. they work without special linking), with the exception of filesystem, system, threads, program_options etc. The latter ones require a static library to be built for your OS and linked into the game code. For Windows the TDM source package you downloaded already contains the correct binaries for VC++ 2005 (7-zipped), VC++ 2008 and VC++ 2010 in both release and debug flavours. They can be found in the win32\lib folder.


For the FM installation code, we made use of the minizip/zlib sources. For Windows and Linux the package already comes with the correct static .lib and .a files, so this should work out of the box. In case you need to compile these libraries from scratch (e.g. for a newer compiler or a different OS) there is a .vcproj file available in win32\ziploader (Windows) or a sconscript in sys/scons/Sconscript.ziploader. Use these to compile a new static library and make sure the library is referenced by the d3game project.


Our lightgem code makes use of some image processing routines, which are contained in the open source DevIL package. The correct static library is already contained in the source package you downloaded, hence it should work right out of the box. In case you need to compile that library from scratch (applies to Windows only, Linux users will just need to download the correct package from their repositories), there are the DevIL sources in win32/devil, including a vcproj file, which you can use as basis.

How to compile the boost static libraries in Windows

See also the main article: Compile the static Boost Libraries in Windows

Any VC++ compiler version other than VC++ 2013 will require a recompile of the boost static libraries which The Dark Mod links against. At the time of writing, TDM is using the following boost libraries:

  • boost.filesystem
  • boost.system
  • boost.thread
  • boost.date_time
  • boost.regex (for the updater/pakager)
  • boost.program_options (for the updater/packager)

Now take the *.lib files and copy them into your win32/lib folder in your source directory and the linking should succeed.