Building Binaries

Overview

Panda3D adds a build_apps command to setuptools that can compile a Panda3D application into a self-contained executable for all supported operating systems. This command uses pip to fetch the dependencies, downloaded in the form of .whl files (“wheels”), then compiles all of the bytecode into an executable file and bundles it with the assets, any DLLs and other files that may be required by the application or its dependencies.

The tool also needs to fetch a wheel for Panda3D itself. It needs to do this because the already-installed version will not work on other platforms, and furthermore it is built with debugging tools enabled and not optimized for distribution.

In order for pip to know which dependencies to fetch, a requirements file is required. This should list all of the dependencies that are packaged along with the application, including Panda3D itself. Third-party dependencies available via pip are therefore supported, as long as they provide wheel files for the different supported platforms (as the vast majority of packages do).

Example

At minimum, a requirements.txt file needs to be present with a reference to Panda3D, such as the following, which tells pip that a release of Panda3D 1.10 of at least 1.10.9 is required:

panda3d~=1.10.9

This is an example setup.py showing how to package the Asteroids sample program into a self-contained executable:

from setuptools import setup

setup(
    name='asteroids',
    options={
        'build_apps': {
            # Build asteroids.exe as a GUI application
            'gui_apps': {
                'asteroids': 'main.py',
            },

            # Set up output logging, important for GUI apps!
            'log_filename': '$USER_APPDATA/Asteroids/output.log',
            'log_append': False,

            # Specify which files are included with the distribution
            'include_patterns': [
                '**/*.png',
                '**/*.jpg',
                '**/*.egg',
            ],

            # Include the OpenGL renderer and OpenAL audio plug-in
            'plugins': [
                'pandagl',
                'p3openal_audio',
            ],
        }
    }
)

To compile the executable, run the following command:

python setup.py build_apps

The resulting binaries will be stored in the build folder with one sub-folder per targeted platform, together with all the requisite files needed to run the application.

GUI and Console Apps

It is possible to build two kinds of executables, gui_apps and console_apps. This distinction is especially important on Windows and macOS, whereas there is no difference on other operating systems.

GUI apps are expected to be run from a file browser, start menu or straight from the desktop. They communicate back to the user via graphical windows, not via command-line output. On Windows, it is necessary to build as a GUI app to avoid a Command Prompt being opened when run. However, there is no command-line output at all on Windows or macOS when run as a GUI app! To be able to see error messages, you must set up logging to a file via log_filename, such as in the example above.

Console apps, on the other hand, are expected to be run from the command-line. On Windows, they will always spawn a Command Prompt when run. They can take command-line arguments, display output directly to the console and do not require setting log_filename.

Including Assets

Most applications have assets that need to be included separately with the application. These are not included by default, since Panda3D doesn’t know which files are necessary for an application or which ones are source assets or development files that should not be distributed.

The include_patterns key can be used to specify a list of files or patterns to include with the application. This does not need to be used for Python files, which are compiled into the executable itself, and are not included separately. The pattern is quite flexible:

'include_patterns': [
    # Path to a specific file
    'CREDITS.txt',

    # All files in the assets/textures/ directory, but not in subdirectories
    # (use ** instead of * if that is desirable)
    'assets/textures/*',

    # All files with the .jpg extension in any subdirectory under assets/,
    # even if nested under multiple directories
    'assets/**/*.jpg',

    # A file with the .egg extension anywhere in the hierarchy
    '**/*.egg',
],

Similarly, you can define an exclude_patterns set with the same format containing files to exclude from the set above. An alternative approach is to create a pattern that includes all files, and only specify extensions to exclude using exclude_patterns.

Some extensions, such as .egg, have special handlers associated with them. The handler for .egg will automatically run egg2bam to compile it into a .bam file. BAM files are smaller and load more efficiently, and allow the EGG loading plug-in to be excluded from the Panda3D build.

Custom file handlers can be defined as well, as explained on the List of Build Options page.

Including Plug-Ins

Much Panda3D functionality is available via optional plug-ins. For example, to enable the ability to render graphics on screen, you must choose at least one of the graphics API plug-ins. Similarly, if you want to play sound and music, you need to include either the OpenAL or FMOD audio plug-in. The most common combination is:

'plugins': ['pandagl', 'p3openal_audio'],
List of Plug-Ins

pandagl

OpenGL renderer (recommended)

pandagles

OpenGL ES 1 renderer

pandagles2

OpenGL ES 2/3 renderer

pandadx9

Direct 3D 9 renderer (Windows only)

p3tinydisplay

Software renderer

p3ffmpeg

Adds support for additional audio, image, and video formats beyond what is built into Panda3D by default. Not necessary for .ogg and .wav.

p3openal_audio

Audio (including 3D audio) support using OpenAL

p3fmod_audio

Audio (including 3D audio) support using FMOD (note the licensing!)

pandaegg

Enables support for reading .egg files (usually not necessary)

p3ptloader

Adds support for additional model formats beyond BAM

p3assimp

Adds support for additional model formats beyond BAM by using Assimp

Note that some plug-ins use third-party libraries that may have different licensing terms from Panda3D. More information about these libraries can be found here. Please review the licensing terms of these libraries before including the respective plug-in!

Platform Tags

By default, Panda3D will build for 64-bit versions of Windows, macOS and Linux. More specifically, platform tags are used to specify the minimum version and architecture of the operating system supported by a Python package. You can specify these platforms explicitly to customize the targeted platforms and their versions. The default set is as follows:

'platforms': ['manylinux2010_x86_64', 'macosx_10_9_x86_64', 'win_amd64'],

Sometimes, it is desirable to use third-party packages that do not provide wheels for a given platform. For example, a package may no longer publish wheels for a manylinux2010_x86_64, but only for manylinux2014_x86_64. If you wish to use this package, then you need to therefore set the platform tags to increase these versions:

'platforms': ['manylinux2014_x86_64', 'macosx_10_9_x86_64', 'win_amd64'],
List of Platforms

win_amd64

64-bit Windows systems (including Intel x64 processors).

win32

32-bit Windows systems, rarely used nowadays.

manylinux2010_x86_64

Target 64-bit Linux distributions more recent than (more or less) 2010.

manylinux2010_i686

Target 32-bit Linux distributions more recent than (more or less) 2010.

macosx_10_9_x86_64

Target Intel Macs running OS X Mavericks or higher. Recommended.

android

See Building for Android for more information.

Note

Python 3.9 no longer supports Windows 7. If you need to target Windows 7 in your application, use Python 3.8.

Icons

On Windows and macOS, it is possible to change the icon that is shown in file browsers or the dock for the compiled executable. To use this feature, modify the setup.py file to something like the following:

"gui_apps": {
    "asteroids": "src/main.py",
},
"icons": {
    # The key needs to match the key used in gui_apps/console_apps.
    # Alternatively, use "*" to set the icon for all apps.
    "asteroids": ["icon-256.png", "icon-128.png", "icon-48.png", "icon-32.png", "icon-16.png"],
},

You can provide a single image file of at least 256×256 and Panda3D will scale it down to smaller sizes as needed, but because automatic scaling can make the icon look illegible at smaller sizes, we highly recommend providing custom-scaled versions at resolutions 16, 32, 48, 128, and 256. Some platforms may also prefer additional resolutions, such as 24, 64, 72, 96, 144, 192, 512, and 1024.