SDL Wiki
(This is the documentation for SDL3, which is under heavy development and the API is changing! SDL2 is the current stable version!)


Set the SDL error message for the current thread.


int SDL_SetError(SDL_PRINTF_FORMAT_STRING const char *fmt, ...) SDL_PRINTF_VARARG_FUNC(1);

Function Parameters

fmt a printf()-style message format string
... additional parameters matching % tokens in the fmt string, if any

Return Value

Returns always -1.


Calling this function will replace any previous error message that was set.

This function always returns -1, since SDL frequently uses -1 to signify an failing result, leading to this idiom:

if (error_code) {
    return SDL_SetError("This operation has failed: %d", error_code);


This function is available since SDL 3.0.0.

Code Examples

SDL_SetError("Something unexpected happened!");
int errorCode = 0;
errorCode = -37;
if (errorCode < 0)
    SDL_SetError("Something unexpected happened: Error Code %d", errorCode);

CategoryAPI, CategoryError

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