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Before modifying source:

ZK's Devving Philosophy (social rules)

  • Core devs have the last word.
  • "War is anticommunication!"
 * Communicate with other devs about your changes/fixes, let them understand the issue. Do not make 'random' changes.
  • "Do not create work for other people."
 * Have responsibility for your changes/commit. Do not leave bugs that require other people to fix.
  • "Readability & performance are equally important."
 * Optimize code but not to the point of unreadability. Remember the rules of optimization:
  * Don't.
  * Don't (yet).
  * Profile before doing it.
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
 * Don't code fixes that nobody wants to problems that don't exist.

What is in source codes

  • Zero-K contains the game proper
  * units folder contains unit definition files
  * you can read wiki about game development for spring engine 
  * ZeroKLobby - is the lobby program for windows used as main interface and downloader
  * - is the website sources
 * Upspring - required to edit the .3do and .s3o model files used in the game
 * MapIconBuilder - unit map icon sources are here

Getting sources

After you finish modifying sources click Pull request* in Github for windows and submit your changes for review

Modifying the game

  1. Locate data folder of your game - in Zero-K lobby settings click open game data folder
  2. Create a folder games/zk.sdd in game data folder
  3. Clone to desktop Zero-K game and save it to zk.sdd
  4. To test source modifications run the game using skirmisher (Zero-K settings tab) and pick game named Zero-K $VERSION

Modifying infrastructure/tools

  1. Install Visual Studio Community edition
  2. Install SQL Server express
  3. Clone to desktop Zero-K infrastructure
  4. Test by opening Zero-K.sln in Visual Studio

Debugging infrastructure

  • Right click -> properties -> web -> check "Specific Page" and leave it blank. Otherwise you get errors when trying to host locally.
  • To run a project right click it, choose "set as startup project" and hit F5 to run using debugger.
  • You can enable multiple startup projects to test entire infrastructure locally (game servers, lobby etc). Enable, springie and ZeroKLobby projects to test it all together. Setup
  • Note: in order to run it's required that you install MS SQL Express on your local PC. Get one from here. The file you will need is called SQLEXPR_x64_ENU or SQLEXPR_x86_ENU. Make sure you install version that matches your version of Windows (i.e. x86 vs x64). During the installation leave all the parameters default except that I changed server name to SQLEXPRESS in one of the first steps of wizard.


See [Development_Artwork Development Artwork]


See [MissionEditorStartPage Mission Editor start page]