Developing for pygamer using cmake

DISCLAIMER: Sorry, this post is about boring code shit i just don’t want to learnt to do again later. It’s only a few things but it took me days to get a handle on.

Using cmake instead of the arduino ide is really nice, it works well in both text editors (emacs and vscode) and you get context-aware completion, hover docs, etc.

1. Get Arduino-CMake-Toolchain:

$ cd ~/projects
$ git clone <>

2. Start your project:

$ mkdir cool_project
$ cd cool_project
$ touch
$ $EDITOR CMakeLists.txt


cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.19.0)
project(cool_project CXX)

# `AUTO_PUBLIC` will automatically find and link the right libraries
# from your installed arduino libraries, just like the arduino IDE!
target_link_arduino_libraries(bleepbloopmachine AUTO_PUBLIC)

# this will add an `upload` target that you can use to build &
# upload to the microcontroller

3. Use cmake!

$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake -D CMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=$HOME/projects/Arduino-CMake-Toolchain/Arduino-toolchain.cmake -D CMAKE_EXPORT_COMPILE_COMMANDS=1 .. 

This will generate a compile_commands.json file that your editor can use to give you completion hints and docs.

4. Setup vscode!

If you’re using Code:

  1. install the cmake tools extension.
  2. Run the command CMake: Edit User-Local CMake Kits
  3. add this kit to the array:
     "name": "Arduino toolchain",
     "toolchainFile": "/home/chee/projects/Arduino-CMake-Toolchain/Arduino-toolchain.cmake" 
    (change the toolchainFile path to the correct path for wherever you cloned the cmake arduino toolchain to in the very first step)
  4. Run the command CMake: Select A Kit and select Arduino toolchain from the drop-down
  5. Now you can use CMake: Build (F7) and CMake: Build Target upload to build and upload things to the microcontroller!

getting the upload target working

Set the environment variable SERIAL_PORT_FILE to ttyACM0 (or whatever the microcontroller’s serial port is on your computer) in the workspace’s cmake.buildEnvironment setting: