Wesnoth is a wonderful game available for free for Linux, however lately it has been falling out of favor with packagers; currently stuck at 1.14.5 while the latest version is 1.14.7 as of this writing! This tutorial will show you how to compile the source code of the game and integrate it with Lutris, and even add a custom icon so it can be searched easily across the system and docked on launchers.

Compiling Wesnoth from source on Ubuntu 16.04

While this method is not recommended and it’s only advised for advanced users only, it could be the only way to have the latest version of Wesnoth on Ubuntu.

1. Download the source code from the game’s site, always go for the latest version. and make sure to checksum the source code prior to doing anything, the value of the checksum is provided on the download page and you can easily check it using the terminal.


2. In the terminal, install scons using: sudo apt install scons
I’ve  decided to compile the source using scons rather than cmake because it’s much easier, however the compiling process happens in the same directory as the game, so make sure to copy the game to the target directory first, I’m going with /opt/wesnoth-1.14.7/wesnoth for the rest of the tutorial.

3. Download all the missing dependencies:
sudo apt install libsdl2-dev libsdl2-image-dev libsdl2-mixer-dev libsdl2-ttf-dev 


libboost-all-dev libvorbis-dev libcairo2-dev libpango1.0-dev l


ibssl-dev libreadline-dev cmake make scons pkgconf

4. Go into the game directory, for example /opt/wesnoth-1.14.7/wesnoth and install with the command scon.
Please note that the process is long and resource extensive, so please be patient.

More instructions and options can be found here on the official wiki.

And that’s it, now the game works fine!

Note: If you played an earlier version of Wesnoth, please be sure to copy your save games and preferences so you don’t start from scratch.

Integrate with Lutris

After compiling from source, Wesnoth can be easily configured to work with Lutris, simply by changing the path of Wesnoth from the default to wherever you installed it, I happened to install in /opt/wesnoth-1.14.7

Lutris icon


A screenshot from Lutris showing how the directory is changed


Adding an icon so you can dock it and be able to see it in the dash

Compiling Wesnoth this way won’t allow you to be able to search it or add it to plank for example, you will have to add a custom icon for this to work.

1. Go to /usr/share/applications/ as root and create a new .desktop file using a text editor (with sudo privilege).
The contents of the file should be like so:
[Desktop Entry]
wesnothComment=The Battle for Wesnoth
The Battle for WesnothEncoding=UTF-8

Feel free to copy this file to your computer as long as you have everything installed as mentioned here, if you change anything make sure this document reflect your changes.

2. Save the file and you are good to go! As soon as you loook up Wesnoth in your system you will be able to find it and dock it on launchers such as plank.

After doing all that, I’ve uninstalled the old 1.14.5 and removed the repositories from my system, from now on I’ll compile on my own!

I hope that you find this tutorial useful, if you have any questions please let me know in the comments section below.

Credit goes out to Reddit user TonicAndDjinn as he provided a lot of helpful tips on how to compile the game.