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2.4.4 Microsoft Visual C++ 8, 9 or 10

Originally written by Philip Wyett philswyett@gmx.co.uk. Last updated 18 May 2012.

In order to successfully compile the Crystal Space 3D Software Development Kit (SDK), you will need a copy of Microsoft Visual C++ 8 (.NET 2005), Microsoft Visual C++ 9 (.NET 2008), or Microsoft Visual C++ 10 (.NET 2010). The Express Editions are perfectly suitable to compile Crystal Space (although some extra steps are required for the Express Edition of MSVC 8, more below).

Getting Extra Help

If you need help with Crystal Space and Visual C++ or just Crystal Space in general. You can subscribe and then post a message to the Crystal Space mailing list. To subscribe see the following site and fill in the form:


Required/Optional External Libraries and Software

All the following libraries and Software Development Kits (SDK) unless stated are not required. However, if you choose not to install them, at compile time you must follow the documented instructions of how to unload these projects from the Crystal Space build process.

Windows SDK - required for Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

The following does not apply if you are using a more recent version of Microsoft Visual C++.

Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition does not ship with a version of the Windows SDK. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (non-Express) ships with version 5.0 of the Windows SDK which fails when building some applications (in particular, the resource compiler does not support the "Vista" version of the ICO file format).

The Windows SDK can be found at the following URL: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/bb980924.aspx

cs-winlibs - Required

Before you attempt to compile Crystal Space, you must download and install the “cs-winlibs” archive. This archive contains alot of the third party header, pre-built libraries and dll files used by Crystal Space, i.e. ‘libz-cs.dll’, ‘libjpeg-cs.dll’, ‘libpng-cs.dll’, etc. See section The “cs-winlibs” Packages.

Once you have downloaded the cs-winlibs package, execute the binary and follow the setup instructions. You may want to select “VC typical” in the “Select Components” screen. You can further adjust the selection of installed components depending on your actual set up (e.g. install MinGW-related components if you plan to also use CrystalSpace with MinGW/MSYS).

Python - Optional

Crystal Space contains support for Python scripting and thus has projects within it requires that Python be installed on your system. Make sure you add the Python include and libs directories to MSVC so that the compiler can see those files. If you wish to compile with Python support you must install Python 2.2 or later, which can be obtained from:


Compiling Crystal Space

To compile Crystal Space, you'll have to perform the following steps. If anything doesn't work, see the Win32 FAQ, MSVC8 FAQ.

  1. Load ‘CS\mk\msvcN\wkstypical.sln’, where ‘N’ must be replaced with the version number of the MSVC version you use.
  2. From the file menu select Build->Build Solution. Note: If you want to build a debuggable version of Crystal Space, you should select the Debug build mode; otherwise select the Release build mode. Do not use the special-purpose ExtensiveMemDebug build mode.
  3. After a while the compilation should finish. The signal for a successful build will be come in the form of the something similar to the following:
    Build: 1 succeeded, 0 failed, 0 skipped

Running the Demonstration Applications

The first app you should try is Walktest. This program shows many of the features of the 3D engine. You can run it by starting it from the windows explorer. It should be at ‘.../cs/walktest.exe’. Don't start it from other locations or from within Visual Studio. It won't find the required files if you do.

If you want to run a debug session, you first have to set the working directory. First select the project you wish to debug and setting it as the startup project. Next open Project->Properties->Debugging and enter the base ‘CS\’ directory as the working directory for debug sessions (for example, ‘C:\CS\’). Be sure to to this for Debug and Release builds.

You can now continue with the next platform-independent step. The remaining Windows-specific sections are only important when you want to compile your own application using Crystal Space.

Structure of the Workspace

Note: If you find bugs in the MSVC project or workspace files coming with Crystal Space, don't send fixes for these files to the developers. These files are generated automatically, so your fixes would be useless. Better, send a description of the bug to the mailing list.

The Crystal Space workspace is divided into several projects. They all exist as separate project files (‘*.vcproj’). The projects are collected together by workspaces ‘*.sln’. A workspace will also ensure correct linking between the various projects. There are several workspaces to choose from. Most users should choose the typical workspace, but the others are available for the adventurous.

The workspace uses a prefix system for naming contained projects:

The Libraries are C++ libraries that you can link into your own programs. Some of these libraries are part of the core of Crystal Space. Their output are ‘.lib’ files.

The Plugins are also programming libraries, but they use a special mechanism called SCF as their interface to your program. This separates their interface from the internals of the library and thus allows dynamic linking. In fact, some of the Libraries also use SCF. The rule for the MSVC workspace is simple: The Plugins are projects that build a dynamic library (‘.dll’). You can find more information in the section of this manual dealing with plug-in modules. See section Plugins, Reference counting, Interfaces (SCF).

The Applications are programs using some of these libraries, so they produce ‘.exe’ files.

Compiling Your Own Program Using Crystal Space

There is a HOWTO which explains how to create an MSVC project file for your own program which utilizes Crystal Space. See section Creating an External MSVC 8, 9 or 10 Application.

Regenerating the MSVC project files.

The MSVC project files that are shipped with Crystal Space are generated from the ‘Jamfile’ files that are used within the project.

If you work inside Crystal Space and have modified one of the ‘Jamfile’ files, you might want to regenerate the MSVC project files in order to get access to your changes.

This is made using the jam msvcgen command that you have to run from the top-level directory of Crystal Space using MSYS. For this, you therefore need to have installed MSYS before.

You also need to have a Perl interpretor installed on your system. This can be for example “ActiveState Perl” that you can install using its Perl Package Manager.

Once the Perl interpretor is installed, you would need to re-run the ./configure script in order for it to detect your Perl interpretor. If it fails to do so, you can force it using e.g.:

./configure PERL='/c/Program Files/ActiveState/Perl/whatever'

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This is the list of frequently asked questions for the Win32 port of Crystal Space. Please consult this list if you are having difficulty building or using the project.




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