IMPORTANT: This guide is meant to be used with old releases of Ogre. For Ogre >= 1.10, rather use a CMake based setup.


Setting Up An Application With Visual Studio


This set of instructions will walk you through setting up a Visual Studio C++ project from scratch. An alternative to this tutorial is to use the Ogre Application Wizard instead. This tutorial is still useful if you wish to understand what the Application Wizard does for you. When you have finished this tutorial you will be able to compile a working Ogre Application and you will be ready to start the Basic Tutorials.


  • Visual Studio 2008 must be installed. Visual Studio Downloads
  • The Ogre SDK version 1.7 or greater must be installed.
    • Installing the Ogre SDK: Installing the Ogre SDK
    • Build Ogre from source with CMake: CMake Quick Start Guide If you are building Ogre from source, you must build the debug and release targets and execute the Install script for both targets as well. This will create a directory structure that is identical to the binary install structure.


Creating a new project

  • Start Visual Studio 2008
  • Create a new project: File | New | Project
  • Under project types select Visual C++ then under Templates select Win32 Project.
  • Navigate to the location in which your project will be located by clicking the Browse button. It should not be in either the SDK directory or in the source files for Ogre.
  • Click the OK button and the Win32 Application Wizard will be displayed.
    VC2008 Win32 AppWizard Page 1.jpg
  • Click the Next Button.
  • Select 'Windows Application' and 'Empty project' when prompted for the type of project to create.
    VC2008 Win32 AppWizard Page 2.jpg
  • Click the Finish button.

Creating the directory structure and adding files

Download and extract the Ogre Wiki Tutorial Framework into your project directory and add them to the project.
VC2008 Solution Explorer Default.jpg

  • If you hover over the second button in the Solution Explorer's toolbar, you will see that it says "Show all files" It should not currently be toggled so you should click on it to toggle it. Now you will see this display of Solution Explorer.
    VC2008 Solution Explorer with Folders.jpg

  • Open each of the folders by clicking on the + signs to the left of each folders name.
    VC2008 Solution Explorer Files Not Added.jpg
  • Right click on the each of the files and select Include In Project.
    VC2008 Solution Explorer Files Added.jpg
  • Select File|Save All from the Visual Studio menu.

Setting up the environment

  • Right click on the project OgreTemplate and select properties. The following screen will be displayed.
    VC2008 Property Pages.jpg

The Properties Pages are arranged in a hierarchy.
By default, Visual Studio creates two configurations. The project is created with two configurations: Debug and Release. You will notice in the upper left corner of the last screen shot that the "Debug" configuration is currently the active configuration. You can change which configuration is being shown by selecting the arrow in that drop-down box. There is an additional value in that drop-down box that indicates that you wish to change a property in all configurations called, surprisingly enough, All Configurations.
This tutorial assumes that the operating system environment variable OGRE_HOME has been set up to point to the SDK directory.

  • Select the All Configurations Configuration by selecting the Configuration drop-down box and selecting "All configurations". Set the variables according to the following chart. You should click Apply after each group of properties.
    General | Output Directory          : bin\$(ConfigurationName)
    General | Intermediate Directory    : obj\$(ConfigurationName)
    General | Character Set             : Use Multi-Byte Character Set
    Debugging | Command                 : bin\$(ConfigurationName)\$(ProjectName).exe
    Debugging | Working Directory       : bin\$(ConfigurationName)
    Debugging | Environment             : path=$(OGRE_HOME)\Bin\$(ConfigurationName)
    C/C++ | General | Additional Include Directories : include;$(OGRE_HOME)\include;$(OGRE_HOME)\include\OIS;$(OGRE_HOME)\include\OGRE;$(OGRE_HOME)\boost
    Linker | General | Additional Library Directories : $(OGRE_HOME)\lib\$(ConfigurationName);$(OGRE_HOME)\boost\lib
  • Select the Debug Configuration by selecting the Configuration drop-down box and selecting "Debug". Set the properties according to the following chart.
    Linker | Input | Additional Dependencies            : OgreMain_d.lib OIS_d.lib
    Linker | Debugging | Generate Debug Info            : Yes (/DEBUG)
  • Select the Release Configuration by selecting the Configuration drop-down box and selecting "Release". Set the properties according to the following chart.
    Linker | Input | Additional Dependencies : OgreMain.lib OIS.lib
    Linker | Debugging | Generate Debug Info : No

Building the project

  • Choose the Debug Solution Configuration.
  • Right click on the project OgreTemplate and select Build Project.

There should be no compile or link errors.

Build Output-Debug.jpg
  • Choose the Release Solution Configuration.
  • Right click on the project OgreTemplate and select Build Project.

There should be no compile or link errors.

Build Output-Release.jpg

Make sure you optimize your build time with Precompiled headers

Copying the config files from OGRE_HOME to the project

As a final step we need to copy some additional files that will be needed to run this project. The build steps just performed created a folder in the project folder called bin and underneath that folder two folders called release and debug. Each of these folders acts as the working directory for their respective configurations when Ogre runs. The Ogre framework will be looking in the working directory for some configuration files and they will be slightly different depending on whether a debug or release version is being run. The configuration files that you will need to run each version are located in $(OGRE_HOME)\bin\debug and $(OGRE_HOME)\bin\release. Copy the *.cfg files from the OGRE_HOME directory to the corresponding project directory.

Running the project

  • Run each version of the Project. If it all works correctly, you will the following screen:
    The rendering engine selection screen.

  • Select a rendering subsystem from the select box in the middle of the window and click 'Ok'. You should see the following:
    The tutorial application rendering an empty scene.
  • If not, go back and verify that you entered all the project properties correctly. You are now ready to move on to the Basic Tutorials.


If you're still having problems building an application, then check Setting Up An Application to make sure your compiler is set up properly. You can also search the forums. It is likely that another user has already solved a similar problem. You can also look in the Ogre.log file in your 'dist/bin' directory for more detailed information about a failed build. This information can be very helpful when posting to the Help Forum.

This troubleshooting will not be provided in later tutorials. Make sure you get things running smoothly before moving on.

MessageBox Unicode Error

If you are using Visual Studio with unicode support turned on, then you may encounter this error:

error C2664: 'MessageBoxW' : cannot convert parameter 2 from 'const char *' to 'LPCWSTR'
Types pointed to are unrelated; conversion requires reinterpret_cast, C-style cast or  function-style cast

The problem is that the MessageBox function is expecting unicode input, and we are giving it an ANSI string. To fix this, find the following line:

MessageBox(NULL, e.what(), "An exception has occurred!", MB_OK | MB_IConerror | MB_TASKMODAL);

And change it to this:

MessageBoxA(NULL, e.what(), "An exception has occurred!", MB_OK | MB_IConerror | MB_TASKMODAL);

We are now calling MessageBoxA instead of MessageBox. The reason for this is that MessageBox is automatically either resolved to MessageBoxA (ANSI) or MessageBoxW (Wide/Unicode), depending on the project configuration. We fix the error by explicitly calling the ANSI function.

Missing DLLs or Configuration Files

If your application has missings DLLs or .cfg files, then you probably need to copy them over from the OgreSDK folder.

In Visual Studio, when you build your application in release mode, it puts the release executable in the '\bin\release' folder and the debug executable in the '\bin\debug' folder. You must copy all of the DLL and .cfg files from the OgreSDK into the appropriate folders. You would copy the files from '[OgreSDK]\bin\release' into '\bin\release' in your project. You will also need to edit the resources.cfg file to point to the correct paths. See the next section for more information on this.

Problems With Resources Or Plugins

First, make sure you have 'plugins.cfg' and 'resources.cfg' in the same directory as your exectuable. The 'plugins.cfg' file tells Ogre which rendering libraries are available (Direct3D9, OpenGL, etc.). The 'resources.cfg' file is used to specify the locations of textures, meshes, scripts, and other resources. Both are simple text files. Open them up and make sure they contain the correct paths. Otherwise, you might get errors that look something like this:

Description: ../../Media/packs/ - error whilst opening archive: Unable to read zip file

If this is the case, then open up 'resources.cfg' and correct the paths and make sure the resource actually exists. Note: You can't use environment variables such as ${OGRE_HOME} in these paths.

IDE Won't Launch Application

One reason this may be happening is that Ogre expects certain files to be in the same directory as the executable. If we do not set the working directory for our IDE to the location of these files, then it won't see that they exist because it expects them to be in the working directory. So we must make sure to get our working directory set up correctly.

Visual Studio

The exact solution will vary based on which version of Visual Studio you are using, but the basic steps should be similar. Right click on your project in the solution explorer (not the solution itself), and go to the properties. Somewhere in the configuration properties should be options for "Debugging". Then look for a field called "Working Directory". This should be set to the location of your executable file.

If you are having trouble figuring out what to put there, try to mimic the "Command" field, which should be in the debugging options. For example, in Visual C++ 2003, the "Command" field should be something like "..\..\bin\$(ConfigurationName)\$(TargetFileName)". For the Working Directory, we need to remove the TargetFileName part. In this case, the working directory would be "..\..\bin\$(ConfigurationName)". The exact string you have to put there may vary based on your version of Visual C++ and your build environment. Be sure to check what the Command field is before doing this. Make sure to change the Working Directory for both the Release and Debug configuration.

In Visual C++ 2005 it will probably be something different entirely. I've found the "..\..\bin\$(ConfigurationName)" directory a good thing to try first, if it still does not work you may have to play with it some, or get help on the Ogre forums.