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Building iOS


  1. macOS
  2. Xcode:
  3. CMake 3.21+: brew install --cask cmake or get from
  4. Optional:
  5. CCache to speed up recompilation: brew install ccache

Obtaining source code

Clone with submodules. Example for command line:

git clone --recurse-submodules

Obtaining dependencies

There are 2 ways to get prebuilt dependencies:

  • Conan package manager - recommended. Note that the link points to the cutting-edge state in develop branch, for the latest release check the same document in the [master branch (
  • legacy manually built libraries - can be used if you have Xcode 11/12 or to build for simulator / armv7 device

Configuring project

Only Xcode generator (-G Xcode) is supported!

As a minimum, you must pass the following variables to CMake:

  • BUNDLE_IDENTIFIER_PREFIX: unique bundle identifier prefix, something like com.MY-NAME
  • (if using legacy dependencies) CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH: path to the downloaded dependencies, e.g. ~/Downloads/vcmi-ios-depends/build/iphoneos

There're a few CMake presets: for device (Conan and legacy dependencies) and for simulator, named ios-device-conan, ios-device and ios-simulator respectively. You can also create your local "user preset" to avoid typing variables each time, see example here.

Open terminal and cd to the directory with source code. Configuration example for device with Conan:

cmake --preset ios-device-conan \

By default build directory containing Xcode project will appear at ../build-ios-device-conan, but you can change it with -B option.

If you want to speed up the recompilation, add -D ENABLE_CCACHE=ON

Building for device

To be able to build for iOS device, you must also specify codesigning settings. If you don't know your development team ID, open the generated Xcode project, open project settings (click VCMI with blue icon on the very top in the left panel with files), select vcmiclient target, open Signing & Capabilities tab and select yout team. Now you can copy the value from Build Settings tab - DEVELOPMENT_TEAM variable (paste it in the Filter field on the right) - click the greenish value - Other... - copy. Now you can pass it in CMAKE_XCODE_ATTRIBUTE_DEVELOPMENT_TEAM variable when configuring the project to avoid selecting the team manually every time CMake re-generates the project.

Advanced users who know exact private key and provisioning profile to sign with, can use CMAKE_XCODE_ATTRIBUTE_CODE_SIGN_IDENTITY and CMAKE_XCODE_ATTRIBUTE_PROVISIONING_PROFILE_SPECIFIER variables instead. In this case you must also pass -D CMAKE_XCODE_ATTRIBUTE_CODE_SIGN_STYLE=Manual.

Building project

From Xcode IDE

Open VCMI.xcodeproj from the build directory, select vcmiclient scheme (the only one with nice icon) with your destination device/simulator and hit Run (Cmd+R).

You must also install game files, see Installation on iOS. But this is not necessary if you are going to run on simulator, as it is able to use game data from your Mac located at ~/Library/Application Support/vcmi.

From command line

cmake --build <path to build directory> --target vcmiclient -- -quiet

You can pass additional xcodebuild options after the --. Here -quiet is passed to reduce amount of output.

Alternatively, you can invoke xcodebuild directly.

There's also ios-release-conan configure and build preset that is used to create release build on CI.

Creating ipa file for distribution

Invoke cpack after building:

cpack -C Release

This will generate file with extension ipa if you use CMake 3.25+and zip otherwise (simply change extension to ipa).