A penny saved

Oliver Norred, 29 September 2020

I’ve had a ton of time, so of course I’m on a pixel art kick. I wanted Aseprite, a popular pixel editor, thinking it would make me as talented as the artists on YouTube.

The Aseprite logo Aseprite.org

The only problem was that it costs $20.

There was a hole in Aseprite’s scheme, though: despite being a paid software, Aseprite is open source. That means I can legally download the source code for free. But if I want the executable, I gotta compile the source code, which entails downloading a bajillion other things.

To compile Aseprite you will need:

  • The latest version of CMake (3.14 or greater)
  • Ninja build system
  • And a compiled version of the aseprite-m81 branch of the Skia library. There are pre-built packages available. You can get some extra information in the laf dependencies page.

Windows dependencies:

  • Windows 10 (we don't support cross-compiling)
  • Visual Studio Community 2019 (we don't support MinGW)
  • The Desktop development with C++ item + Windows 10.0.18362.0 SDK from the Visual Studio installer

So I spent 3 hours downloading, troubleshooting, and ultimately compiling Aseprite’s source code. And it worked. $20 in 3 hours is less than minimum wage, but it’s not bad at all!

A penny saved is a penny earned. On the other hand, 3 hours wasted is 3 hours wasted. I almost don’t regret it.