This section explains how to modify the build configuration of SOFA and attempts to document the available options.
CMake is a meta build system, that generates files for the build system used in your tool chain (e.g. Unix Makefiles, or a Visual Studio solution). Once you have created your build directory for SOFA, modifying build options goes like this:
- you modify options using cmake tools (either cmake-gui or ccmake, see below)
- CMake runs the project’s configuration scripts with the current options (a.k.a. “Configure” in CMake tools)
- then CMake effectively generates the build system files (a.k.a. “Generate” in CMake tools)
CMake comes with both a GUI tool (cmake-gui) and a cursed based tool (ccmake) to modify the build options interactively. You can invoke them from the command line like so:
And on Windows, simply launch CMake GUI, and set the build directory field to the correct path if necessary. Using one of those tool, you can edit the options you want to change, and run “Configure” to run the configuration scripts. Note that the scripts are written to automatically enable any required dependencies when you change an option. If this happens, you will be warned at the end of the configuration step that you must run “Configure” again. Likewise, if any errors occurs during the configuration step, you have to run “Configure” again after you fix them. The general rule with the CMake configure part is that you have to hit “Configure” until no red-highlighted part is existing. Once you are satisfied with the options, and the configuration step succeeded without errors, run “Generate” to generate and write the build files to the build directory. You can then proceed to compile SOFA with your regular build tool. Tips:
- If some options were modified or added during the configuration step (by the scripts), they are highlighted in cmake-gui;
- The list of options is pretty long; it may be easier to find what you are looking for if you check the “Grouped” checkbox;
- Cmake stores the options in a cache (CMakeCache.txt) for the next time you run any cmake tool. If you want to start over from the default configuration, or choose a new generator, select File > Delete Cache.
When called directly, cmake does both the configuration and the generation steps. If you wish to modify the configuration from the command line (e.g. in a script), you can pass options to cmake with the -D flag. For example, if you know that the PLUGIN_SOFAPYTHON option enables the compilation of the SofaPython plugin, you can enable it like so:
cmake -DPLUGIN_SOFAPYTHON=ON <build-directory>
Good to know
CMake option fields can be either a boolean, a file path, a directory path or a basic string. For instance, you can find in SOFA:
- The PLUGIN_* options correspond to the directories in applications/plugins/
- The APPLICATION_* options correspond to the directories in applications/projects/
- The TUTORIAL_* options correspond to the directories in applications/tutorials/
For example, the SofaPython plugin (applications/plugins/SofaPython) is enabled by the option PLUGIN_SOFAPYTHON, and the runSofa (applications/projects/runSofa) is enabled by the option APPLICATION_RUNSOFA.
SOFA CMake options
CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE : the typical values for that field are Release, RelWithDebInfo and Debug. Like the value is indicating, Release value indicates to compile in Release mode, with optimizations for speed, size of binaries. Debug value makes it compile with the debugging symbol activated and no code optimization. RelWithDebInfo is similar to Release, but keeps the symbol files for debugging.
SOFA_EXTERNAL_DIRECTORIES: path to external directories, this can be especially useful to build external plugins with SOFA. For more information, please read the documentation about Building a plugin.
SOFA_BUILD_TUTORIALS : this options activates the build of all tutorials located in applications/tutorials.
SOFA_BUILD_TESTS : this option activates unit tests for SOFA. For more information, please go to the Tests page.
SOFA_FLOATING_POINT_TYPE : this option determines the type(s) (float, double or both) used almost everywhere in SOFA when a floating point type is explicitly needed: the SReal type. This option also defines which “versions” of each templated component will be compiled (float, double or both instantiations). Note that using double will significantly reduce compilation time, but then you will only be able to simulate scenes that contain exclusively components using template parameters based on double (Vec3d, Rigid3d, …). More technically, this will respectively activate or deactivate the macro SOFA_WITH_DOUBLE and SOFA_WITH_FLOAT in the code.
SOFA_DUMP_VISITOR_INFO : enabling this option allows to get more debugging information at each step of the simulations. For a more complete description and how to use these information, please go to the Profiling part.
SOFA_WITH_DEVTOOLS : enabling this option activates more features for developers such as more verbose log messages. It is enabled by default.
SOFA_NO_EXTERN_TEMPLATE : this option (false by default) enables the use “extern template” in the code of SOFA. It will be always be activated for DLLs on windows. On some platforms, it can fix RTTI issues (typeid / dynamic_cast), and it significantly speeds up compilation and linking on every platform. More information here: Shared Libraries Mechanism.
SOFA_NO_OPENGL : this option will remove any OpenGL-related code from SOFA. This is especially useful for people who wants to use SOFA as a library with a different rendering system (typically DirectX with Windows)
SOFA_NO_UPDATE_BBOX : this optimization flag defines the default value of the boolean data
computeBoundingBoxin the AnimationLoop, defining whether the global bounding box of the scene is computed at each time step.
SOFA_OPENMP (advanced) : this flag will allow to use OpenMP for specific computations in existing code. A few components are multithreaded with openmp pragmas. Sometimes hyperthreading gives strange results (slowing down the simulation). To get rid of hyperthreaded cores you have to tell openmp to run the application only on physical cores. When compiled with gcc, the environment variable GOMP_CPU_AFFINITY allows the core selection, where you can select physical cores only. (eg in bash: export GOMP_CPU_AFFINITY=“0-15”). The core indices can be obtained with the “lstopo” command (sudo apt-get install hwloc) Do not forget to limit the max number of cores with the OMP_NUM_THREADS environment variable (export OMP_NUM_THREADS=“16”)
SOFA_USE_MASK : this activates an optimization done to run simulation involving masks (a subpart of an object). However, this features is known as sensitive when used with constraint algorithms. Set false by default.
SOFA_WITH_EXPERIMENTAL_FEATURES : activates some experimental work in progress. No guarantee on code quality or compilation is given. However, this gives early-access to new functionalities in SOFA.
Last modified: 4 April 2023