Development Tools

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Here we aim to document little known features that developers add to help themselves in the development process, wheather that be debugging, profiling, or what else


Build debug

   ./bootstrap -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug

To record video from gameplay (e.g. to document unexpected behavior):

   To record video directly from Pioneer you will need to add the line
   RecordVideo=1 somewhere within your config.ini file. Then once ingame
   you can press Ctrl+ScrLk to start or stop recording.

Debug from in-game

Ctrl+I = debug window

Ctrl+F10 open planet viewer, to view selected nav target

Ctrl+F11 reload shaders while running game

Ctrl+Del reload pigui element, allows for live coding. Limited support: Only reloads the active view and then only if the active view has manually enabled it (add `debugReload = function() package.reimport() end` to the view's definition next to the draw and refresh functions)

Debug savegame files

./build/savegamedump savefiles/<mysavename>

and look in your savefile folder (e.g. ~/.pioneer/savefiles on linux) at <mysavename>.json file, put JSON e.g. into


Pioneer can dump galaxy information, to make sure the galaxy hasn't changed, or to gather statistics, described here:


For Profiling, one needs some tools installed?

Build with profiling support

ToDo edit this to improve and make sense and be correct

Profiling: to build with the profiler enabled, simply run ./bootstrap -DPROFILER_ENABLED=1 -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo and compile as normal. The latter flag is not strictly needed, but building with a BUILD_TYPE

To-do: extract wisdome from this conversation, and document here

   <fluffyfreak> Gliese852, if you're on Windows then I use
        a lot of the time
   <Gliese852> fluffyfreak: thanks, I meant the built-in profiler, it seems that
               if you do nothing, it creates a report on the launch of the
               program, and the launch of a new game [17:54:21]
   <fluffyfreak> If you're running the profile build then you can press Ctrl+p to
                 take a profile at any time [17:58:50]
   <fluffyfreak> hmm, been a while since I used it. There's two modes [17:59:37]
   <fluffyfreak> Ctrl+shift+p = is capture one frame, otherwise Ctrl+p toggles
                 capturing whenever the framerate is "slow" [18:00:12]

Using profiler

to do

clang format check

   Yes, for your use you'd likely want to invoke `FORMAT_BASE=master ./autoformat` or `FORMAT_BASE=HEAD~1 ./autoformat`
   - there's little difference between the `autoformat` script and the `scripts/` script other than the 
   latter prompts you to automatically apply the issues in your files.

Editor integration

There is support for sending Lua code from IDE into running pioneer session via TCP: