Recast Navigation
Navigation-mesh Toolset for Games
Building & Integrating

Recast is designed to be integrated into your project as source files and built with whatever build system you use.

For building RecastDemo and for Recast library development there are premake5 and cmake build scripts. Premake5 is recommended unless you're already familiar with cmake.

Building RecastDemo

While Recast and Detour don't require any dependencies, RecastDemo requires SDL (not included), and the unit tests rely on Catch2 (included in the repository).

The following steps outline the process to install SDL2 in the appropriate location and build RecastDemo with Premake and your local . Before you begin, you'll need to download and install premake5 and ensure that the premake5 executable location is included in your system path.

You can also reference the github actions build script .github/Build.yaml for examples of building with specific platform and toolchain combinations.


  • Grab the latest SDL2 development library release from here and unzip it into RecastDemo/Contrib. Rename the SDL folder such that the path RecastDemo/Contrib/SDL/lib/x86 is valid.
  • Navigate to the RecastDemo folder and run premake5 vs2022
  • Open Build/vs2022/recastnavigation.sln in Visual Studio 2022 or Jetbrains Rider.
  • Set RecastDemo as the startup project, build, and run.


  • Grab the latest SDL2 development library dmg from here and place SDL2.framework in RecastDemo/Bin
  • Navigate to the RecastDemo folder and run premake5 xcode4
  • Open Build/xcode4/recastnavigation.xcworkspace in XCode
  • Set the RecastDemo project as the target and build.


  • Install SDL2 and its dependencies according to your distro's guidelines.
  • Navigate to the RecastDemo folder and run premake5 gmake2
  • Navigate to RecastDemo/Build/gmake2 and run make
  • Navigate to RecastDemo/Bin and run ./RecastDemo

Preprocessor Defines

There are a few symbols you may wish to define when building Recast.

Symbol Usage
RC_DISABLE_ASSERTS Disables assertion macros. Useful for release builds that need to maximize performance. You can also customize Recasts's assetion behavior with your own assertion handler. See RecastAssert.h and DetourAssert.h.
DT_POLYREF64 Use 64 bit (rather than 32 bit) polygon ID references. Generally not needed, but sometimes useful for very large worlds.
DT_VIRTUAL_QUERYFILTER Define this if you plan to sub-class dtQueryFilter. Enables the virtual destructor in dtQueryFilter.

Running Unit tests

  • Follow the instructions to build RecastDemo above. Premake should generate another build target called "Tests".
  • Build the "Tests" project. This will generate an executable named "Tests" in RecastDemo/Bin/
  • Run the "Tests" executable. It will execute all the unit tests, indicate those that failed, and display a count of those that succeeded. Check out the Catch2 documentation for information on additional command line options.


There are a few ways to integrate Recast and Detour into your project. Source integration is the most popular and most flexible, and is what the project was designed for from the beginning.

Source Integration

It is recommended to add the source directories DebugUtils, Detour, DetourCrowd, DetourTileCache, and Recast directly into your project depending on which parts of the project you need. For example your level building tool could include DebugUtils, Recast, and Detour, and your game runtime could just include Detour.

  • Recast: Core navmesh building system.
  • Detour: Runtime navmesh interface and query system
  • DetourCrowd: Runtime movement, obstacle avoidance and crowd sim systems
  • DetourTileCache: Runtime navmesh dynamic obstacle and re-baking system

Installation through vcpkg

If you are using the vcpkg dependency manager you can alternatively download, build, and install Recast with:

vcpkg install recast

Customizing Allocation Behavior

Recast and Detour strive to avoid heap allocations whenever possible. In the cases where they are needed, all allocations are routed through allocation functions that by default just wrap malloc and free. Additionally, the rcAllocHint enum gives some coarse-grained information about the intended lifetime of the allocation.

You can specify your own rcAllocFunc and rcFreeFunc in RecastAlloc.cpp (and similarly in DetourAlloc.cpp) to tune heap usage to your specific needs.

A Note on DLL exports and C API

Recast does not yet provide a stable C API for use in a DLL or as bindings for another language. The design of Recast relies on some C++ specific features, so providing a stable API is not easy without a few significant changes to Recast.

There are a number of projects that offer unofficial language bindings for Recast, but official support for a C API is currently on our development roadmap.