I have a headless Raspberry Pi running PiBang (swapping to Raspbian soon since PiBang is no longer supported) which I'd like to play Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup over ssh. When I try to run


it reads

Failed to initialize SDL: Unable to open a console terminal

I've tried using this command

export DISPLAY=:0

Nothing appears to happen. The device does not have a display connected, but my google queries usually pointed to that command.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?


Here's some more info. I'm sshing into the RPi on a public computer using PuTTy. Googling 'x11 forwarding putty' lead me to this page https://wiki.utdallas.edu/wiki/display/FAQ/X11+Forwarding+using+Xming+and+PuTTY which says to install something called Xming.

Now it says,

Failed to set video mode: Couldn't find matching GLX visual

which appears to be an entirely new problem in itself. Does anyone have any tips for sshing on a public computer without installing Xming or insight on the video mode error?


1 Answer 1


You need to forward your X connection:

ssh -X user@pi

You'll probably need xauth installed on the Pi as well.

Given that you're running via PuTTY on Windows, here are a couple of other things to try:

  • plain crawl should work fine, it doesn't use graphics at all (it's the "console" version if you're downloading from the Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup web site);
  • Xming supports GLX, so it should be possible to run crawl-tiles remotely using ssh -X; it's possible the error message you're seeing is because crawl-tiles is trying to change the screen resolution, so you can try crawl-tiles -extra-opt-last tile_full_screen=false to start it in a window.

You won't be able to run anything in graphics mode without an X server on the Windows end of things, either Xming or some other X server (OpenText Exceed...).

  • Is there a way to do this while already ssh'ed in?
    – wildleaf
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 17:42
  • Not that I know of, you'll probably need to open another ssh connection... Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 17:45
  • It doesn't appear to be that simple using PuTTy. I added more information in the question above. Thanks for your help.
    – wildleaf
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 18:14

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