Monday, 20 April 2009

the WHOLE SDL libraries availalbe for the iPhone

So i have been toying with this toolchain lately... i must say that i'm constantly surpised by Xcode power! it's something that you have to get used to, but once there it can almost whatever you want!

anyways, i am in the middle of porting a certain game from a normal Mac framework to a iPhone/iPod Touch device! Most of the stuff is already there, like the Pascal compiler, but the main libraries are missing!

I'm talking about SDL, but after some thinkering i got everything done! Here is what i did after checking out every repository

well this was the easiest, porting this lib started in a past google SoC and they did a pretty good job. To get the lib it's sufficient to unpack the Xcode_iPhone.tar.gz and press "build".

this one wasn't particuarly difficult, as it required just a correct configuration in the Xcode.tar.gz project. In the project settings, set the Base SDK to Device - iPhoneOS (or Simulator according to your needs) and Architectures to Standard.

i had to google a little to get this done: ttf is built exactly as SDL_net, but all the applications built with it are hard depending on libfreetype. Of course this library is available for the iphone, but it's difficult to configure it correctly. Luckily i read this site which clearly explained what to do; include that file in your application frameworks and add the -lz flag to the linker options, and you are done!

the hardest of all, just because the svn repository was out of date! In fact there's this guy who did a neat job for introducing a native support for png, jpeg etc instead of third party libraries. His patches were accepted in mainstream, but the iphone project in the repo has not been updated and can't compile!!! I emailed sdl-list but got no reply... for now it's sufficient to download his updated package and compile from it.

this was not as easy as net but i guess that porting for this project has yet to start. For the moment i got a working library just by removing all the native_midi_mac stuff, as it's the only part that relies on a framework which is not present in the iPhone. I didn't need any midi support, so i was satisfied with it already.
Beware that while simulation will give no problems, there's an issue for the device! In fact the simluator is likely to load the ogg functions from the shared libs of the system, but since ogg is nowere in the iphone, we have to provide our own!
so let's grab libvorbis and libogg and compile them the same way we compiled libfreetype; i had some problems with the paths when compiling libvorbis, due to the macports installations. I resolved by placing the arm version of libogg.a into the lib directory of macports (/opt/local/lib) and creating a symlink to it named libogg.dylib. Obviously make backups so you can restore your installation!

Now that you know what to do, you can keep updated the freely available versions that i compiled! they are the latest revision... of today! If something doesn't work complain with the SDL guys! I do hope that by the 1.3 release, SDL for iPhone will become officially supported

click here to download all the libraries, both for the simulator and for the device (debug version obv)

if you find them useful, drop a comment here, it'll mean that my work is appreciated :)


  1. This looks interesting - can you run SDL on an ophone which isnt jail-broken? we're looking into using sdl- it seems a little messy atm however - lots of incomplete projects

  2. thanks alot man this is a nice guide

  3. I've been looking for this for a larger project I had in mind. Thanks.

  4. I don't really understand, sorry I'm a noob to iphone development. So I get the files and its a bunch of .a files. What do I do with these? How do I turn them into SDL.h and SDL_ttf.h ???

  5. Hey could you repost the zip file, the link seems dead?

    Great work though!

  6. Is it possible for you to repost the zip files ?

  7. Like above, please repost the zip file ! Thanks for your work !

  8. Could you repost the zip file please? it would be great ;)

  9. Same question! Could you please make the zip file available again? Thanks!


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