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Device Management

How to install and manage content on the Sifteo Base


swiss is a utility tool, provided with the SDK to perform a variety of device management tasks. swiss can be found in sdk/bin within the Sifteo SDK.

You can easily use swiss from within an SDK shell - just double click on the appropriate launcher in the SDK:

If you're using linux, a udev rule file might be useful, check out the instructions at the end of this page: Linux and USB

Install Apps

To install a new version of your application to your Sifteo base, use the swiss install command as follows:

$ swiss install myapplication.elf

This will remove any previously installed versions of myapplication.elf, and install the new one. It's even possible to install a new version while your application is running. The old version will continue to run until you restart the app.

To install an app that should be used as the launcher menu, use the -l flag:

$ swiss install -l mylauncher.elf
You must call Sifteo::Metadata::package() within your game's source code in order to generate the information required to install it successfully.


The manifest command provides a summary of the content installed on your Sifteo base. Invoke it with:

$ swiss manifest

Depending on what you have installed, you'll see some results similar to those below:

C:\code\sifteo-sdk\examples>swiss manifest
System: 128 kB  Free: 15104 kB  Firmware: ---
0d  Launcher    128      0 com.sifteo.launcher     0.1     System Launcher
10  Game        128      0 com.sifteo.extras.hello 0.1     Hello World SDK Example


swiss listen accepts LOG() data from the Sifteo base, formats it, and prints it.

To start logging from your base, make sure it's connected via USB, insert some calls to LOG() in your game, install it and start running it. Then execute the following in the SDK shell:

$ swiss listen mygame.elf

You should see your log statements printed to the console.

In order to log as efficiently as possible, the base sends the bare minimum of log info at runtime, and swiss is responsible for accessing your game's .elf to perform the printf-style formatting - this is why it's necessary for swiss listen to know the .elf that you're running. This has a couple nice properties:


If you'd like to send the log output to a file instead:

$ swiss listen mygame.elf --fout mylogfile.txt

If you'd like to receive the log output immediately (helpful for real-time visualizations, for example), you can ask swiss to flush the log buffer after every write by specifying the --flush-logs option:

$ swiss listen mygame.elf --flush-logs

Retrieve Saved Data

At runtime, your app may store persistent data via Sifteo::StoredObject - this could be metrics, game save data, or anything you like. swiss can retrieve this data for your inspection.

Sifteo::StoredObject provides a namespace of 255 keys for a given app. The data for each StoredObject is stored by key in a journaled filesystem - while the filesystem itself would only return to you the current value for a given key, there may be older versions of a key's data still lurking on disk before being garbage collected.

swiss can create a dump of all your app's StoredObject data, although there's no guarantee there will be more than one version available for each key. If more than one version is available, they're sorted from oldest to newest in the savedata file.

To retrieve savedata, use the swiss savedata extract command.


For instance, let's extract the save data for the Hello World SDK Example shown in the manifest output above. Specify the package string of the game you'd like to extract from - this is the same string you used in Sifteo::Metadata::package(). The steps are as follows:

$ swiss savedata extract com.sifteo.extras.hello saved.bin

Now saved.bin contains all the StoredObject records that were found on the Base, in a simple binary format. Since StoredObject data is opaque to the system, we don't offer any standard way of formatting or parsing it. However, tools/savedata.py within your SDK installation can serve as a template for parsing these files. By default, it will print savedata contents to stdout, dumping the hex value of user data. Invoke it as follows:

$ python /path/to/sifteo-sdk/tools/savedata.py saved.bin

Example output might look like:

/Users/liam/sifteo-sdk$ python tools/savedata.py saved.bin
header - key 0, val: com.sifteo.sdk.hello
header - key 1, val: 1.1
header - key 2, val: 97983c9a-9527-4eeb-8d57-85a015ec70b4
header - key 3, val: 33FFDB053347333251441843
header - key 4, val: v0.9.10-48-gd44424b
key 0, val (16 bytes): 00000000000000000000000000000000
key 1, val (16 bytes): 01010101010101010101010101010101
key 2, val (16 bytes): 02020202020202020202020202020202
key 3, val (16 bytes): 03030303030303030303030303030303
Internally, Sifteo::StoredObject stores all elements with a size rounded up to the nearest multiple of 16. Ignore any extra padding as appropriate for your data.

Delete Content

Swiss provides a few options for removing content from your Sifteo base. To remove all content from your Sifteo base, use the --all flag:

$ swiss delete --all

To remove a single game, delete it by specifying its package string.

For instance, to remove the "Hello World SDK Example" above, the command is:

$ swiss delete com.sifteo.sdk.hello

You may also delete a single game by its volume number. You can retrieve the volume number of a game from the manifest command above. For example, in the manifest output above the "Hello World SDK Example" is listed as 10 in the VOL column, so the command to remove it is:

$ swiss delete 10

Delete System Content

You can also remove all system bookkeeping information from the base, including Sifteo::AssetSlot allocation records.

$ swiss delete --sys

Once you delete this system info, the base will need to install assets to your cubes the next time you play a game, even if those assets were previously installed.

Delete Save Data

To remove save data generated by a game, use the following command:

$ swiss savedata delete com.mystudio.awesomegame

You can use swiss savedata extract to capture the save data first - otherwise, there's no way to retrieve it!

Update Firmware

Swiss can also update the firmware on your Sifteo base.

This is a two step process. First, the base must be in update mode. If the red LED is already illuminated, the base is already in update mode and you can skip this step. Otherwise, to initialize the updater on the base:

$ swiss update --init

Your base will disconnect from USB and reboot into update mode. When the red LED is illuminated, your device is in update mode.

Once in update mode, you can install new firmware:

$ swiss update myNewFirmware.sft


If you need to force an update, you can use the following recovery process:

After one second, the red LED illuminates and you can install the update as normal:

$ swiss update myNewFirmware.sft

Linux and USB

As a security precaution on Linux, unknown USB devices can only be accessed by root. This is a general Linux issue, and is not specific to Sifteo.

The following udev rule allows the Sifteo base to be identified by its vendor and product IDs, mounts it to /dev/sifteo, and (for Debian-based distros) grants read/write permissions to the plugdev group.

To install these rules, execute these instructions:

$ RULES='SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0105", ATTRS{idVendor}=="22fa", MODE:="0666", GROUP="plugdev", SYMLINK+="sifteo"'
$ echo $RULES | sudo tee /etc/udev/rules.d/42-sifteo.rules
$ sudo restart udev

Debian-based distros:

A user needs to be a member of the plugdev group to access hot-pluggable devices (Sifteo base, digital cameras, USB drives, etc.). Make sure you are in this group by running the groups command and checking if the output includes plugdev. If not, add yourself to plugdev with:

$ sudo usermod -a -G plugdev $USER

Then log back out and log back in. After that’s done, restart udev:

$ sudo restart udev

Red Hat-based distros:

$ udevadm control --reload-rules

After restarting udev, you might need to unplug and re-plug your Sifteo base.