Skip to main content

Installing RGBDS

Most people will want to use a release (the latest the bestest!), but if you are willing to help us test new features, you may consider using a development version.

The two main options to install a release of RGBDS are to download pre-built executables, or to build from source. Below is a list of OSes for which we know pre-built executables are available.

If your OS isn’t listed below, try finding rgbds in your package manager—refer to your OS' documentation for help. If you still can’t find RGBDS, or the specific version you are looking for is unavailable, you will have to compile it from source.

The install instructions change a bit depending on the environment you wish to use RGBDS with.


The "plain Windows" instructions may also work for some environments listed further below, since most of them pick up Windows' PATH. However, if you have such an environment, we recommend you follow its specific install instructions instead.

"Plain" Windows (CMD, PowerShell)
  1. First, pick the version you want to install. If you want to use master instead of a release, go here.
  2. Follow the "release page" link below "GitHub links", and grab either of the win32 (for 32-bit Windows) or win64 (for 64-bit Windows) .zip files, near the bottom of the page.
  3. Unzip that file, you should get the .exe files alongside a couple of .dlls.
  4. Either:
    • Put all of the files in a directory, then add it to the PATH. This will permanently allow you to use RGBDS. If you only want to modify the PATH temporarily, instead of the permanent setx command, you can use the temporary set one: set PATH="%PATH%<rgbds_path> for cmd.exe. Use one of the following methods:
      • Graphically:
        1. Open Control Panel
        2. Click "User Accounts"
        3. Click "User Accounts" again
        4. Click "Change my environment variables"
        5. Select the "Path" line in the top panel
        6. Click "Edit..."
        7. Click "Browse...", select the folder the files are in, and click OK
        8. Make sure that the new entry (which should be highlighted) is at the bottom of the list; if not, click on "Move Down" until it is
        9. Click "OK"
        10. Click "OK"
      • Using a command line:
        1. Use Explorer to go into the folder the files are in (you should see rgbasm.exe etc.), and click a blank part of the address bar near the top. Copy this path, and use this instead of <rgbds_path> in the third step!
        2. Open cmd or PowerShell
        3. Type setx PATH "%PATH%<rgbds_path>;" for cmd.exe, or setx PATH ${"{"}Env:PATH}<rgbds_path>; for PowerShell; replace <rgbds_path> with the path you copied in the first step
        4. Close the window for the changes to take effect
    • Put all of the files in your project's directory
    • Put all of the files in a directory already in the PATH
  5. Profit! RGBDS can now be used from your favorite command line (cmd.exe or PowerShell, most likely). You can test it by running rgbasm --version.
Cygwin, MSYS2

Follow steps 1 to 3 of the "plain Windows" instructions to get the release's files; then, copy all of the .exe and .dll files to the /usr/local/bin directory of Cygwin/MSYS2's installation. (You can get its equivalent Windows path by running cygpath -w /usr/local/bin.) Do not put them in a subdirectory (e.g. /usr/local/bin/rgbds)! This would not work.

After that, you should be able to use RGBDS from within the Cygwin/MSYS2 terminal, which you can confirm by running rgbasm -V. If this doesn't work, check that /usr/local/bin is within the PATH there (echo $PATH); if it isn't, you must add it (e.g. export PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH" in the ~/.bashrc).

Note: if you can choose between using Cygwin or MSYS2, be advised that Cygwin is slower and has been reported to cause a bit of trouble to some.

WSL, and all other Linux-like environments

For these, you have to build from source. On WSL, the default package manager (to install any build prerequisites) is apt-get (example: sudo apt-get install libpng-dev).