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SDL Wiki


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


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);

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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