How to Install SDL

This is a direct quote from the MESS read me file. According to this, you will need Xcode. Xcode requires a free Apple Developers Connection membership. It’s easy to sign up for, especially if you have an Apple ID already. The download took me a little over five minutes with Cable Internet from Comcast. You will also need to install the SDL library.

Mac OS X: you’ll need Xcode 2.3 or later (a free download from and SDL 1.2.13. Get SDL from, click the
“SDL 1.2” download link in the sidebar, then scroll down to “Mac OS X” under
“Runtime Libraries”.  Download the “SDL-1.2.13.dmg” disk image and open it.
Click ‘Macintosh HD’ or whatever your Mac’s hard disk is named in the left
pane of a Finder window, then open the Library folder and drag the
SDL.framework folder from the SDL disk image into the ‘Frameworks’ folder.

Next unzip the SDLMAME source in your home directory.

For Intel Macs, type make -f makefile.sdl TARGETOS=macosx
For PowerPC Macs, type make -f makefile.sdl TARGETOS=macosx BIGENDIAN=1

NOTE: if you experience issues with OpenGL mode make sure your OS X is up to
date first, especially for Tiger (10.4.x) on Intel Macs.

Good luck. You will need to install SDL to get the most out of emulation on your Mac. I will be posting new SDL MAME and MESS articles soon and you will need SDL to be properly installed.

Installing SDLMac Guides (Mac Rumors)


About Mac Emulators
I am an Old School gamer with roots in emulation and gaming. I love video games, but mostly I love the old ones from our past. Emulation is a way to experience all these old games on your personal computer.

4 Responses to How to Install SDL

  1. Hope I’m not being rude but what an ugly, unpleasant way to make us install software. It’s like you’re trying to make sure only a tiny percent of “l33t” people use this software. Just saying.

    • Mac Emulators says:

      You need all the goodies for certain things. SDL requires the SDL framework, etc. It’s not as hard as it sounds. There are also some really easy installers out there too. I’ve actually recently used them too, I just forget where I got them. When I track them down, I’ll do a post about it. I’m sure you could also google SDL installers and what not. Good luck. Cheers!

  2. KB says:

    brew install sdl

  3. notablename says:

    Also, with OS Lion, library/frameworks folder is hidden from all but root users. I’m not a root user on my own computer. Bummer.

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