Nix flakes for development

Background: I had some projects from school that I wanted to revisit and compile again, specifically a game called Worm. This was an assignment that needed to be linked against ncurses which isn’t installed out of the box on most machines. I’ve been dual booting NixOS for some time now on my gaming PC and I thought it was time to start using Nix Flakes with my own projects.

nix flake worm candybar

Art by @LeslieCarrierArt



  • nix develop
  • make
  • ./worm

Game Preview

Collect numbers with WASD to increase worm size and do not eat yourself!

Nix Flakes

This flake file added to the repo contains the build instructions and dependencies needed to compile the game. There is also a flake.lock file which is used to pin all the dependencies. Now you no longer have to track down the ncurses dependencies and manually install them into the dev environment. Thanks to nixvital/nix-based-cpp-starterkit for the reference flake.


  description = "Worm CLI game";

  inputs = {
    # Pointing to the current stable release of nixpkgs. You can
    # customize this to point to an older version or unstable if you
    # like everything shining.
    # E.g.
    # nixpkgs.url = "github:NixOS/nixpkgs/unstable";
    nixpkgs.url = "github:NixOS/nixpkgs/22.11";

    utils.url = "github:numtide/flake-utils";

  outputs = { self, nixpkgs, ... }@inputs: inputs.utils.lib.eachSystem [
    # Add the system/architecture you would like to support here. Note that not
    # all packages in the official nixpkgs support all platforms.
    "x86_64-linux" "aarch64-linux" "x86_64-darwin" "aarch64-darwin"
  ] (system: let pkgs = import nixpkgs { inherit system; };
  in {

    # This block here is used when running `nix develop`
    devShells.default = pkgs.mkShell rec {
      # Update the name to something that suites your project.
      name = "worm";

      # build environment dependencies
      packages = with pkgs; [

      # Setting up the environment variables you need during development.

      # Todo figure out why I can't use clang on Asahi but can on Darwin
      # Use "clang++" for most systems but OSX Asahi requires g++ for some reason or a runtime error occurs
      shellHook = let
        # This is for an icon that is used below for the command line input below
        icon = "f121";
      in ''
        export PS1="$(echo -e '\u${icon}') {\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[\033[38;5;228m\]\w\[$(tput sgr0)\]\[\033[38;5;15m\]} (${name}) \\$ \[$(tput sgr0)\]"
        export COMPILER="clang++"
        #export COMPILER="g++"

    # This is used when running `nix build`
    packages.default = pkgs.llvmPackages_14.stdenv.mkDerivation rec {
      name = "worm";
      version = "0.1.1";
      src = self;

      buildInputs = [ pkgs.ncurses6 ];

      buildPhase = "COMPILER='clang++' make";

      installPhase = ''
        mkdir -p $out/bin; 
        install -t $out/bin worm

      meta = with inputs.utils.lib; {
        homepage = "";
        description = ''
          Terminal CLI Worm Game

Author Avatar

Matt Carrier

I am a pixel connoisseur who enjoys the finer details of a Bresenham line. When not staring at arrays of smoothly rendered pixels I enjoy playing guitar and consuming coffee.