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Currently, FreeOrion will compile in most recent Windows, Linux, and MacOSX. The *BSD genus of operating systems might also work; follow the Linux instructions in this case.

First of all, you will need to obtain the source code from GitHub repository. To help with programming FreeOrion, you will need to grab the Git master repository latest version. Then you need to set up the required software, compile the game.

Hardware requirements

The FreeOrion code makes heavy use of templates, and requires much memory to compile; 4 GB or more RAM is recommended.

To build FreeOrion, expect up to 45 minutes of a Core i5 system, or over an hour on a Core2 Duo system; on a Core i7 system it can be under 10 minutes.

Software requirements

Note: On Windows and OSX, most dependencies are available pre-compiled in the FreeOrion SDK.

  • Boost - version 1.56 or later.
  • FreeType2 -version 2.5.5 is known to work.
  • Python - version 2.7 or later (version 2.x only; 3.x will not work)
  • OpenAL
  • libogg - version 1.1.3 or later 1.2.1 is known to work.
  • libvorbis - version 1.1.2 or later 1.3.2 is known to work.
  • zlib - version 1.2.5 is known to work with libpng 1.4.4
  • libpng - version 1.6 works.
  • SDL2 - version 2.0.3 works.
  • GLEW - (Windows only) version 1.5.7 is known to work.

Getting the source

The source code can be obtained from the freeorion/freeorion repository hosted on GitHub via any Git client. Release versions are tagged in that repository. To download a release source tarball without cloning the complete freeorion/freeorion repository the GitHub Release page can be used.

FreeOrion SDK

There are Software Development Kits (SDKs) available for Windows and MacOSX which contain precompiled dependencies needed for building FreeOrion from source. The script to build and package the FreeOrion SDK can be obtained from freeorion/freeorion-sdk. The FreeOrion SDK itself can be downloaded from GitHub (for FreeOrion later than v0.4.6) or SourceForge (for FreeOrion v0.4.6 and earlier).

The SDKs do not contain the FreeOrion source code, which must be retrieved from GitHub.


Compilation instructions and troubleshooting tips are available for the following operating systems:

Development Environment

Create a persistent_config.xml with settings that you want to preserve between builds. Otherwise, the first time that you run the game after re-building it all options in config.xml will be reset.