Some questions are frequently asked.  We tried to answer them and summarize everything. Here are our answers.

If you have a question that is not here, and want a quicker answer, you can ask it on the forum or on the online chat.


What is Solarus?

Solarus is a free and open-source game engine, licensed under GPL v3. It is written from scratch in C++ and uses SDL2 (it’s not an emulator). Development began in 2006. The goal of the engine is to allow people to create their own Action-RPG games (also called Zelda-like games). It is totally independent from Nintendo.

What is Solarus Quest Editor?

Solarus Quest Editor is a free and open-source game editor to create quests for Solarus. Written in C++ with Qt, it is licensed under GPL v3. The goal of the editor is to provide people a smooth experience in creating a game with Solarus. This software provides a map editor, a tileset editor, a sprite editor among other things.

Why is there several exectuable files?

Theses files are:

  • solarus: the graphical app used for managing your library of games (quests in Solarus termes), and for lauching them
  • solarus_run: the command line app to run quests. It’s totally normal that is does nothing if you execute it without telling it which quest to run.
  • solarus quest editor: the quest editor (graphical app)

Are you affiliated with Nintendo ?

No, we are independent from Nintendo. The game engine Solarus has no proprietary content and is written to be a general purpose action-RPG game engine, i.e. not only Zelda games. Our games contain Nintendo’s proprietary content, but we believe this is fair use.

What is the difference between Solarus and The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX?

Solarus is a game engine that runs quests.

The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX is a quest, i.e a game, that can be run with Solarus, and is actually the quest Solarus was primarly written for.

Solarus has no proprietary content, it is “just” an engine: there is no copyrighted assets in Solarus. However, The Legend of Zelda: Mystery Of Solarus (DX) has proprietary content: sprites, characters, music, storyline… actually everything that comes from Nintendo’s The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past. It also contains original sprites, characters, music and storyline inspired by the official game.

Why is there DX at the end of the title The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX?

The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus (without the DX) is the ancestor of the DX version, released in 2002. At that time, it did not use the Solarus engine but RPG Maker. DX stands for “Deluxe”, as for the awesome and beloved game The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX on Game Boy Color, which was an enhanced remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening on the original Game Boy.

What is the difference between Mystery of Solarus DX and Mystery of Solarus XD?

Those are both different games that can be run by Solarus. DX has a more serious tone (though lighthearted as in Zelda games) than XD. XD is actually a parody of Zelda games and was released on 2011, April 1st as an April’s fools. XD is a wordplay between “DX” of course, and the famous smiley xD of someone laughing with eyes closed.

What is the difference between The Legend of Zelda: Return of the Hylian and The Legend of Zelda: Return of the Hylian Solarus Edition?

Return of the Hylian is a game developped by Vincent Jouillat and released in 2009, independently from Solarus. You can find the original game on its official website. It is the first iteration of an excellent quadrilogy of Zelda fan-games, but the original game engine was not Solarus, and not as polished as our engine. So it has been remade from scratch, with the help from Vincent Jouillat, using Solarus, in 2015. And the remake’s title is suffixed by Solarus Edition. Now you can experience this great game in a better way.

I downloaded The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX/XD, but it does not work. Why?

There are several possibilities, but here are the most common ones:

  • You might have mistaken the engine and the quest, which are different packages. You have to run Solarus (i.e. the engine) and specify the data path (i.e. the quest) as an argument, or place the data and the engine in the same folder and run the engine.
  • Verify that the version of your data (i.e. the quest) can be run by your version of Solarus.

Can I use Solarus for a commercial game?

Yes, but Solarus is GPL: if you provide a copy (modified or not) of the Solarus engine, you have to provide its C++ source code with it. It is possible to sell GPL software, but customers are allowed to see the source code and to redistribute it even for free. We want to give the most freedom to users, and to allow them to create their own quests.

Note that while the engine is GPL and must obey this rule, your game data is another software and can have its own license. See question below.

Can I sell a game made with Solarus on a video game platform like Steam?

Yes, you can. But you most obey these rules because of the license:

  • The engine is GPL: Just make sure you give a link in your game to Solarus engine if you haven’t modified it and used it as is, or provide the source code of the modified Solarus engine if you modified it. The modified Solarus engine must be GPL too.
  • The game’s data can be whatever license you want. This is where you can, if you want, give a commercial license.

Can I use Zelda sprites, characters and musics for a commercial game?

For a commercial game, obviously: NO. Don’t use assets that are copyrighted by anyone else, including Nintendo (sprites, characters, music, storyline…). Or you expose yourself to legal problems.

Can I use Zelda sprites, characters and musics for a non-commercial game?

This is what we do. Unless Nintendo tells you to stop, this seems possible. We are totally independent from Nintendo, and they never contacted us. Nintendo seems to tolerate non profit fan-made creations when they don’t get too big. We believe this is fair use.

However, we are trying to replace progressively these copyrighted assets with custom free ones, in order to not violate copyright. Zelda 3 sprites and tiles were just a way to start up the engine.

Do Solarus and The Legend of Zelda: Mystery of Solarus DX work on Super Nintendo?

No, they don’t, even if Zelda Mystery of Solarus looks a lot like The Legend Of Zelda : A Link To The Past. Solarus has not been written to work on Super Nintendo. Solarus is not an emulator, it is an engine written from scratch. And our games are not rom hacks, they are Solarus quests.

How can I contribute to the project?

Thank you! There are a lot of ways to help:

  • If you like our games or creating quests with Solarus Quest Editor, tell your friends!
  • If you are a developer and want to contribute to the engine or the quest editor, you can get the source code and make pull requests.
  • If you want to translate one of our games or the quest editor into another language, your help is welcome.
  • If you are a designer, you can make a resource pack with free and open-source assets and share it with the community.
  • You can donate to contribute to the server fees or simply if you think Solarus is great. It is useful for the server fees and it is always very encouraging.

How can I contact Solarus Team?

If you have a request/question that is not here, and want a quicker answer, you can ask it on the forum or on the Discord chat. You can also send a mail to Solarus Team on the contact page.

How can I talk about Solarus Team?

If you want to talk about the Solarus project and Solarus Team, we made a press kit for you. Please don’t present Solarus as a Zelda ROM hack or SNES emulator, since Solarus is not these things. You’ll find all the information needed, including logos and other images in the link.