Windows build

This guide details how to build CARLA from source on Windows. There are two parts. Part one details system requirements and installations of required software, and part two details how to actually build and run CARLA.

The build process is long (4 hours or more) and involves several kinds of software. It is highly recommended to read through the guide fully before starting.

If you come across errors or difficulties then have a look at the F.A.Q. page which offers solutions for the most common complications. Alternatively, use the CARLA forum to post any queries you may have.

Part One: Prerequisites

In this section you will find details of system requirements, minor and major software installations and Python dependencies that are required before you can begin to build CARLA.

System requirements

  • x64 system. The simulator should run in any 64 bits Windows system.
  • 165 GB disk space. CARLA itself will take around 32 GB and the related major software installations (including Unreal Engine) will take around 133 GB.
  • An adequate GPU. CARLA aims for realistic simulations, so the server needs at least a 6 GB GPU although 8 GB is recommended. A dedicated GPU is highly recommended for machine learning.
  • Two TCP ports and good internet connection. 2000 and 2001 by default. Make sure that these ports are not blocked by firewalls or any other applications.

Software requirements

Minor installations

  • CMake generates standard build files from simple configuration files.
  • Git is a version control system to manage CARLA repositories.
  • Make generates the executables. It is necessary to use Make version 3.81, otherwise the build may fail. If you have multiple versions of Make installed, check that you are using version 3.81 in your PATH when building CARLA. You can check your default version of Make by running make --version.
  • 7Zip is a file compression software. This is required for automatic decompression of asset files and prevents errors during build time due to large files being extracted incorrectly or partially.
  • Python3 x64 is the main scripting language in CARLA. Having a x32 version installed may cause conflict, so it is highly advisable to have it uninstalled.


Be sure that the above programs are added to the environment path. Remember that the path added should correspond to the progam's bin directory.

Python dependencies

Starting with CARLA 0.9.12, users have the option to install the CARLA Python API using pip3. Version 20.3 or higher is required. To check if you have a suitable version, run the following command:

pip3 -V

If you need to upgrade:

pip3 install --upgrade pip

You must install the following Python dependencies:

pip3 install --user setuptools
pip3 install --user wheel

Major installations

Visual Studio 2019

Get the 2019 version of Visual Studio from here. Choose Community for the free version. Use the Visual Studio Installer to install three additional elements:

  • Windows 8.1 SDK. Select it in the Installation details section on the right or go to the Indivdual Components tab and look under the SDKs, libraries, and frameworks heading.
  • x64 Visual C++ Toolset. In the Workloads section, choose Desktop development with C++. This will enable a x64 command prompt that will be used for the build. Check that it has been installed correctly by pressing the Windows button and searching for x64. Be careful not to open a x86_x64 prompt.
  • .NET framework 4.6.2. In the Workloads section, choose .NET desktop development and then in the Installation details panel on the right, select .NET Framework 4.6.2 development tools. This is required to build Unreal Engine.


Other Visual Studio versions may cause conflict. Even if these have been uninstalled, some registers may persist. To completely clean Visual Studio from the computer, go to Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\Installer\resources\app\layout and run .\InstallCleanup.exe -full

Unreal Engine

Starting with version 0.9.12, CARLA uses a modified fork of Unreal Engine 4.26. This fork contains patches specific to CARLA.

Be aware that to download this fork of Unreal Engine, you need to have a GitHub account linked to Unreal Engine's account. If you don't have this set up, please follow this guide before going any further.

To build the modified version of Unreal Engine:

1. In a terminal, navigate to the location you want to save Unreal Engine and clone the carla branch:

    git clone --depth 1 -b carla .


Keep the Unreal Engine folder as close as C:\\ as you can because if the path exceeds a certain length then Setup.bat will return errors in step 3.

2. Run the configuration scripts:


3. Compile the modified engine:

  1. Open the UE4.sln file inside the source folder with Visual Studio 2019.

  2. In the build bar ensure that you have selected 'Development Editor', 'Win64' and 'UnrealBuildTool' options. Check this guide if you need any help.

  3. In the solution explorer, right-click UE4 and select Build.

4. Once the solution is compiled you can open the engine to check that everything was installed correctly by launching the executable Engine\Binaries\Win64\UE4Editor.exe.


If the installation was successful, this should be recognised by Unreal Engine's version selector. You can check this by right-clicking on any .uproject file and selecting Switch Unreal Engine version. You should see a pop-up showing Source Build at PATH where PATH is the installation path that you have chosen. If you can not see this selector or the Generate Visual Studio project files when you right-click on .uproject files, something went wrong with the Unreal Engine installation and you will likely need to reinstall it correctly.


A lot has happened so far. It is highly advisable to restart the computer before continuing.

Part Two: Build CARLA

Clone the CARLA repository

The button above will take you to the official repository of the project. Either download from there and extract it locally or clone it using the following command:

    git clone


The master branch contains the current release of CARLA with the latest fixes and features. Previous CARLA versions are tagged with the version name. Always remember to check the current branch in git with the command git branch.

Get assets

Download the latest assets to work with the current version of CARLA by running the following command in the CARLA root folder:


The assets will be downloaded and extracted to the appropriate location if have 7zip installed. If you do not have this software installed, you will need to manually extract the file contents to Unreal\CarlaUE4\Content\Carla.

To download the assets for a specific version of CARLA:

  1. From the root CARLA directory, navigate to \Util\ContentVersions.txt. This document contains the links to the assets for all CARLA releases.
  2. Extract the assets in Unreal\CarlaUE4\Content\Carla. If the path doesn't exist, create it.
  3. Extract the file with a command similar to the following:
    tar -xvzf <assets_file_name>.tar.gz.tar -C C:\path\to\carla\Unreal\CarlaUE4\Content\Carla

Set Unreal Engine environment variable

It is necessary to set an environment variable so that CARLA can find the Unreal Engine installation folder. This allows users to choose which specific version of Unreal Engine is to be used. If no environment variable is specified, then CARLA will search for Unreal Engine in the windows registry and use the first version it finds there.

To set the environment variable:

  1. Open Windows Control Panel and go to Advanced System Settings or search for Advanced System Settings in the Windows search bar.
  2. On the Advanced panel open Environment Variables....
  3. Click New... to create the variable.
  4. Name the variable UE4_ROOT and choose the path to the installation folder of the desired Unreal Engine installation.


This section outlines the commands to build CARLA.

  • All commands should be run in the root CARLA folder.
  • Commands should be executed via the x64 Native Tools Command Prompt for VS 2019. Open this by clicking the Windows key and searching for x64.

There are two parts to the build process for CARLA, compiling the client and compiling the server.

1. Compile the Python API client:

The Python API client grants control over the simulation. Compilation of the Python API client is required the first time you build CARLA and again after you perform any updates. After the client is compiled, you will be able to run scripts to interact with the simulation.

The following command compiles the Python API client:

    make PythonAPI

The CARLA client library will be built in two distinct, mutually exclusive forms. This gives users the freedom to choose which form they prefer to run the CARLA client code. The two forms include .egg files and .whl files. Choose one of the following options below to use the client library:

A. .egg file

The .egg file does not need to be installed. All of CARLA's example scripts automatically look for this file when importing CARLA.

If you previously installed a CARLA .whl, the .whl will take precedence over an .egg file.

B. .whl file

The .whl file should be installed using pip3:

pip3 install <path/to/wheel>.whl

This .whl file cannot be distributed as it is built specifically for your OS.


Issues can arise through the use of different methods to install the CARLA client library and having different versions of CARLA on your system. It is recommended to use virtual environments when installing the .whl and to uninstall any previously installed client libraries before installing new ones.

2. Compile the server:

The following command compiles and launches Unreal Engine. Run this command each time you want to launch the server or use the Unreal Engine editor:

    make launch

The project may ask to build other instances such as UE4Editor-Carla.dll the first time. Agree in order to open the project. During the first launch, the editor may show warnings regarding shaders and mesh distance fields. These take some time to be loaded and the map will not show properly until then.

3. Start the simulation:

Press Play to start the server simulation. The camera can be moved with WASD keys and rotated by clicking the scene while moving the mouse around.

Test the simulator using the example scripts inside PythonAPI\examples. With the simulator running, open a new terminal for each script and run the following commands to spawn some life into the town and create a weather cycle:

        # Terminal A 
        cd PythonAPI\examples
        pip3 install -r requirements.txt

        # Terminal B
        cd PythonAPI\examples


If the simulation is running at a very low FPS rate, go to Edit -> Editor preferences -> Performance in the Unreal Engine editor and disable Use less CPU when in background.

Other make commands

There are more make commands that you may find useful. Find them in the table below:

Command Description
make help Prints all available commands.
make launch Launches CARLA server in Editor window.
make PythonAPI Builds the CARLA client.
make LibCarla Prepares the CARLA library to be imported anywhere.
make package Builds CARLA and creates a packaged version for distribution.
make clean Deletes all the binaries and temporals generated by the build system.
make rebuild make clean and make launch both in one command.

Read the F.A.Q. page or post in the CARLA forum for any issues regarding this guide.

Now that you have built CARLA, learn how to update the CARLA build or take your first steps in the simulation, and learn some core concepts.