MORSE installation

General requirements


A decent machine is required (typically, with an Intel i5 + 4GB RAM, you should be comfortable).

To display textures correctly in the simulator, as well as to generate images using the simulated cameras, you will need to have a graphics card that supports GLSL shading. The Blender website lists these graphic cards as compatible with GLSL:

  • ATI Radeon 9x00, Xx00, X1x00, HD2x00 and HD3x00 series and newer.
  • NVidia Geforce FX, 6x00, 7x00, 8x00, 9x00 and GTX 2x0 and newer.

If you do not need cameras and OpenGL textures/shaders, you are advised to run your simulation in fastmode (refer to the simulation’s Builder API) for vastly improved loading time and performances.

Supported operating systems

Only Linux (x86, x86_64) is currently officially supported. MORSE is mainly developed on Fedora and Ubuntu, but we don’t expect problems on other distributions.

Other UNIXes systems probably work as well (like FreeBSD or Apple MacOSX). Limited testing has been performed on OSX 10.8 with success.

MORSE does not currently officially support Microsoft Windows, although some users reported success. Testers/maintainers for Windows are welcome!

Packaged versions

morse-1.0 is available on Debian Wheezy/Ubuntu >= 13.04. You can install the package morse-simulator with your favorite software manager:

$ sudo apt-get install morse-simulator

You can also install the Python bindings with:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-morse-simulator

You can also easily install MORSE with:

See their associated documentation for details.

If you plan to use the simulator with raw sockets or text files as interface (for instance, to integrate MORSE with MatLab or other specific applications), you don’t need anything else, and you can jump to MORSE’s Quickstart. Otherwise, you need to install the software for the desired middlewares:

  • MORSE is also known to work with OpenRTM.

If you want to distribute your simulation in a multinode infrastructure, MORSE provides by default a socket service for multinode synchronization. If you want to use HLA, you have to first install the CERTI and PyHLA packages:

Manual installation


The directory where MORSE is installed will be referred to as $MORSE_ROOT in this document.

It is recommended to store this environment variable, as it is necessary to use the Builder API scripts to generate simulation scenes with custom equipped robots.


  • cmake
  • Python (3.2 or +)
  • python-dev package
  • Blender (>= 2.62) build with Python >= 3.2. You can simply get a binary from Blender website


If you decide to install Python 3.2 by hand, the compilation must be done according to your operating system, to match the Python compiled in Blender:

  • On Linux compile with the --with-wide-unicode flag. This will provide you with 4-byte Unicode characters (max size: 1114111)
  • On Mac OS do not use the --with-wide-unicode flag. This will provide you with 2-byte Unicode characters (max size: 65535)

It the unicode sizes between Python and Blender do not match, you will get errors about undefined symbols with names starting with PyUnicodeUCS4

This is not needed for Python >= 3.3 (Blender >= 2.65) anymore.


Download the latest version of the source code. It is stored in a git repository:

$ git clone

If you want to get only the latest stable version (1.2) of Morse, you can get it in the branch 1.2_STABLE. You can get it directly using

$ git clone -b 1.2_STABLE

or if you have already download the repository

$ git checkout -b 1.2_STABLE -t origin/1.2_STABLE

You can get a tarball version here.

Go to the directory where you have previously downloaded the MORSE source. Then type these commands:

$ mkdir build && cd build
$ cmake ..

By default, MORSE will install in /usr/local. You can easily change the install directory by giving additional parameters to cmake. You can also change the installation type and select the middleware bindings by using these additional parameters.

  • CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX controls where will be installed MORSE. The install prefix directory is referred to as $MORSE_ROOT.
  • BUILD_CORE_SUPPORT controls the builds and install of Morse core. It is ON by default
  • BUILD_DOC_SUPPORT controls the build of the documentation (require sphinx)
  • BUILD_HLA_SUPPORT controls the builds of HLA support for multi-node simulations in MORSE.
  • BUILD_POCOLIBS_SUPPORT controls the build of pocolibs support in MORSE.
  • BUILD_YARP2_SUPPORT controls the build of YARP support in MORSE.
  • BUILD_ROS_SUPPORT controls the build of ROS support in MORSE.
  • BUILD_MOOS_SUPPORT controls the build of MOOS support in MORSE.
  • PYMORSE_SUPPORT controls the build and installation of pymorse, a library to interact with Morse through the socket interface. It is needed for test infrastructure.
  • CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE controls the optimization stuff for C/C++ extension (Release is a good choice).
  • PYTHON_EXECUTABLE indicate where the python executable is in your system (must be >= 3.2)

You can set up the different variables using the command line. For instance, to build and install MORSE with YARP support in /opt, you need something like:


Or to tell MORSE where to find a Python installed in a different location:

$ cmake -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=/usr/local/bin/python3.2 ..

Alternatively, you can use ccmake .. to change all of these parameters using a graphical interface. You can modify many different variables by switching to “advanced mode” (pressing the t key).

After configuring the necessary parameters, compile with:

$ sudo make install

The optional $MORSE_BLENDER environment variable can be set to let the simulator know where to look for Blender if it is not accessible from the path.

You can check your configuration is ok with:

$ morse check


When updating MORSE to a more recent version, you’ll simply have to do:

$ git pull --rebase [<refspec>]
$ cd build
$ make install

[<refspec>] being the branch or tag to sync with, as:

$ git pull --rebase 1.2
$ git pull --rebase master

Time to jump to MORSE’s Quickstart tutorial!

Installation troubleshooting

In case of problems installing MORSE, verify the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

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