EditorDebuggerPlugin in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to the world of game development and specifically, the realm of Godot Engine! As developers, we’re always on the lookout for ways to enhance our workflows and make debugging processes more efficient. Whether you’re a beginner just starting to dip your toes into game creation or a seasoned pro looking to polish your skills, understanding the inner workings of debugging tools is essential. Today, we’re diving into an exciting feature available in Godot 4 – the EditorDebuggerPlugin class. This powerful class offers developers a way to extend and customize the editor’s debugging capabilities to fit their specific needs. So buckle up and get ready to learn how this can revolutionize the way you debug your Godot projects.

What is EditorDebuggerPlugin?

EditorDebuggerPlugin is a class within Godot Engine, designed to interact with the editor’s debugger. By inheriting from this base class, you can implement custom debugger plugins that enhance the development environment to your liking. Imagine crafting a debugger that works precisely how you want, giving you control over the debugging experience and making it easier to troubleshoot and resolve issues in your game.

What is it for?

The reason we delve into the EditorDebuggerPlugin is to create more adaptable and targeted debugging processes. With this nifty tool, developers can listen for specific messages from the game, display custom data in the debugger, and establish a smoother workflow when tracking down those pesky bugs. It’s about marrying functionality with convenience for a more streamlined game development journey.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding how to use the EditorDebuggerPlugin can significantly empower your development process. By creating customized debugging tools, you can:

– Speed up the debugging process by focusing on specific areas of your game.
– Improve the clarity of debugging information through custom visuals or outputs.
– Enhance the overall development experience with a tailored workflow.

Learning to harness the power of the EditorDebuggerPlugin is not only a step forward in mastering Godot but also an investment in refining your development strategy. Let’s embark on this exciting journey together and unlock the full potential of your game debugging tools!

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Creating a Simple EditorDebuggerPlugin

To get started with creating a customized debugger plugin for your Godot project, we first need to define a new script that inherits from EditorDebuggerPlugin. This script will be the foundation for adding our unique functionality.

extends EditorDebuggerPlugin

Next, we override the on_enter_tree method to register our plugin with the editor. This method is called when the plugin is activated and the plugin enters the Scene Tree.

func _enter_tree():
    print("My custom debugger plugin is now active!")

The on_exit_tree method is also essential as it’s called right before the plugin is deactivated. Here we can clean up any resources or references specific to our plugin.

func _exit_tree():
    print("My custom debugger plugin is now inactive.")

Intercepting Debugger Messages

A core feature of the EditorDebuggerPlugin is the ability to listen for messages from the game’s debugging interface. Using the forward_debugger_message method, we can intercept and handle messages as needed.

func _forward_debugger_message(p_message):
    if p_message == "custom_message":
        print("A custom message is received from the game.")

This method needs to return true if the message was handled, or false otherwise to allow the debugger to continue processing.

func _forward_debugger_message(p_message):
    if p_message == "custom_message":
        print("A custom message is received from the game.")
        return true
    return false

Manipulating Debugger Panels

We can add custom debugger panels for our game’s specific needs through the EditorDebuggerPlugin. First, we create a Control node representing our panel’s UI.

var my_custom_panel = preload("res://path_to/MyCustomPanel.tscn").instance()

We then add it to the debugger’s Inspector Dock with a unique name for it:

func _enter_tree():
    add_inspector_dock("My Custom Panel", my_custom_panel)

To remove the panel when our plugin is deactivated, we’d use:

func _exit_tree():

Debugging with Custom Inspectors

Sometimes, a game object may require a unique way to be inspected. Here’s how to add a custom inspector to our plugin. First, create the inspector script.

func can_handle(object):
    return object is MyCustomResource  # Replace with your logic

func parse_message(message, object):
    # Your custom parsing logic here

Then, inform the debugger when the inspector is created and make sure to clean it up properly when the plugin is deactivated.

func _enter_tree():
    add_inspector_plugin("My Custom Inspector", MyCustomInspector.new())

func _exit_tree():
    remove_inspector_plugin("My Custom Inspector")

These examples just touch the surface of what’s possible with the EditorDebuggerPlugin class. By integrating these basic concepts, we can start to build a debug environment that aligns perfectly with our project’s necessities. Stay tuned as we continue to explore and create more sophisticated examples in the next part of our tutorial.Let’s delve deeper into the power of the EditorDebuggerPlugin by exploring how to utilize more of its features in your game development process.

Customizing Breakpoints

Breakpoints are a crucial part of the debugging arsenal, allowing developers to pause game execution and inspect the state at specific points.

Here’s how we can customize the breakpoint handling in our EditorDebuggerPlugin:

func _breakpoints_changed():
    var breakpoints = get_breakpoints()
    for breakpoint in breakpoints:
        print("Breakpoint set at: " + breakpoint)

This method is called whenever there is a change in the breakpoints. We can retrieve all the breakpoints set in the editor using get_breakpoints(), which returns an array of file paths and line numbers where breakpoints are set.

Intercepting Errors and Warnings

When running a game, various errors and warnings may be emitted. We can hook into this stream of messages and provide additional context or logging for them.

func _error_message(emitted, message, file, line, error_code, warning, test_error):
    if warning:
        print("Warning: %{message} in %{file}:%{line}" % {"message":message, "file":file, "line":line})
        print("Error: %{message} in %{file}:%{line}" % {"message":message, "file":file, "line":line})

This method provides us with the details of every error or warning, allowing us to log them, display customized alerts, or even ignore specific types depending on our needs.

Extending the Inspector

To add more depth and functionality to our Inspector panel, let’s say we want to display custom properties for a selected node.

func _inspect_object(obj):
    if obj.has_method("get_custom_properties"):
        var custom_properties = obj.get_custom_properties()
        for property in custom_properties:
            add_property_editor(obj, property.name, property.type, property.value)

This snippet hooks into the object inspection process. If our object has a method called get_custom_properties, we fetch these properties and add them to the Inspectors panel with the add_property_editor.

Adding a Custom Monitored Variable

In some cases, we may want to monitor a variable’s value while the game is running. Here’s how to add a custom monitored variable to the debugger’s Monitors panel:

var my_variable_value = 0

func _ready():
    add_monitored_variable("My Custom Variable", my_variable_value)

func _process(delta):
    my_variable_value = # Calculate or get the new value here
    update_monitored_variable("My Custom Variable", my_variable_value)

The add_monitored_variable method registers our custom variable with the debugger, and we keep it updated with update_monitored_variable so that its current value displays within Godot’s Monitors panel.

Controlling the Debugging Workflow

Lastly, your EditorDebuggerPlugin can also control the flow of the debugging process. For instance, you can programmatically start or stop the game, or even request a stack dump:

func _debugger_paused():

func _stack_dump_received(dump):
    for stack_frame in dump:
        print("Function: " + stack_frame.function + " at line: " + str(stack_frame.line))

Upon pausing the debugger, we can request a stack dump which, once received, allows us to iterate through the call stack and print out relevant information.

As you can see, the EditorDebuggerPlugin in Godot 4 opens up a whole new level of debugging possibilities. By leveraging these advanced features, we can turn the arduous task of debugging into a much more manageable and even enjoyable part of game development.

Don’t forget that experimentation is key to discovering what works best for you and your project. So go ahead and try integrating some of these features into your next Godot project. Happy debugging!Let’s further enhance our debugging capabilities by incorporating additional features that Godot 4’s EditorDebuggerPlugin has to offer.

Live Editing and Reload Scripts

Godot’s live editing feature can be a game-changer for productivity and efficiency, allowing you to modify the game while it’s running and see changes take effect immediately. You can control this feature from your plugin as well.

# Toggle live edit
func _toggle_live_edit(enabled):

# Reload scripts without restarting the game
func _reload_scripts():

Enabling live edit lets you make changes to scenes and scripts on the fly, and the reload_scripts() function allows you to update your game’s scripts without needing to restart the game, which is extremely useful during the development process.

Custom Debugger Commands

To add custom commands to your debugger plugin, override the get_debugger_commands method to list the available commands and handle them with debugger_command.

func _get_debugger_commands():
    return ["custom_command"]

func _debugger_command(command, args):
    if command == "custom_command":
        # Perform your custom command action here

This feature can greatly assist you in quickly executing repetitive tasks or complex debugging routines with just a simple command.

Visually Highlighting Nodes

For a more graphical debugging approach, you may want to highlight certain nodes when they’re the subject of a breakpoint or an error. Use edit_node to focus on a particular node.

func _breakpoint_reached(node_path):
    var node = get_node(node_path)

# Visually highlight the node
func edit_node(node):
    node.modulate = Color(1, 0, 0, 1)  # Red color for highlight

Afterward, you could remove the highlight when resuming the game.

func _debugger_resumed():
    for node in get_tree().get_nodes_in_group("debug_highlight"):
        node.modulate = Color(1, 1, 1, 1)  # Reset color

Custom Data Inspection

In complex games, you may need to inspect data that isn’t readily available through the standard inspector. For cases like statistics, AI states, or other custom data, adding an inspector tool might be beneficial.

# Assume we have a custom data script with the `get_data` method
func _inspect_custom_data(object):
    if object.get_script().has_method("get_data"):
        var data = object.get_data()
        # Display or process the data as needed

This approach allows you to tailor the inspector to your game’s specific systems, making it easier to understand what’s happening behind the scenes at a glance.

Monitoring Performance Metrics

Performance can often be a bottleneck in game development. Using the EditorDebuggerPlugin, you can monitor various metrics and performance statistics.

func _ready():
    add_performance_monitor("FPS", Performance.FPS)
    add_performance_monitor("Memory Usage", Performance.MEMORY_USED)

func _process(delta):
    update_performance_monitor("FPS", Performance.get_monitor(Performance.FPS))
    update_performance_monitor("Memory Usage", Performance.get_monitor(Performance.MEMORY_USED))

By doing this, you can keep a watchful eye on your game’s performance and address any issues before they become major problems.

Responding to Network Messages

Networked games often need to debug messages sent over the wire. You can extend the EditorDebuggerPlugin to monitor these messages.

func _network_peer_packet_received(packet_peer_id, packet):
    print("Network packet received from ID %s: %s" % [packet_peer_id, packet.get_packet()])

This function will get called whenever your network peer receives a packet, allowing you to log or process it as needed.

These additional features open up a new level of control and flexibility in your debugging process, enhancing your ability to pinpoint issues quickly and improve your overall development workflow within Godot. As developers, we know that solid debugging tools are worth their weight in gold, and with EditorDebuggerPlugin, you are limited only by your imagination. Happy coding!

Continuing Your Game Development Journey

Embarking on the path of game development with Godot Engine has been an exciting adventure, and your journey is just beginning. As you’ve learned about the powerful EditorDebuggerPlugin, you’re now armed with knowledge that can transform your debugging process. To further enhance your game development skills, we invite you to explore our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive program is tailored to help you grasp the intricacies of Godot 4 and build remarkable games that captivate players.

Our extensive collection of Godot courses goes beyond and covers a broad spectrum of game development concepts. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine your expertise, we’ve got you covered. From mastering GDScript to creating immersive 2D and 3D experiences, our curriculum is designed to be flexible and accessible – allowing you to learn at your own pace, on any device. Head over to our Godot courses to continue expanding your game development horizons.

At Zenva, we understand the thrill of creating your own games and the importance of having a strong portfolio. That’s why we aim to equip you with not just theoretical knowledge but also practical skills to bring your ideas to life. So dive into our courses, challenge yourself with interactive projects, and join a community of learners dedicated to achieving mastery in game development. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create.


In the dynamic world of game development, mastering the art of debugging is just as important as crafting compelling gameplay. The EditorDebuggerPlugin for Godot 4 we’ve discussed provides an unparalleled level of customization to fit your unique debugging needs, ensuring that no bug is left unsquandered and every performance hiccup is addressed. Remember, every step you take to learn and implement new features into your development cycle propels you forward in your game creation journey.

As you continue to harness the capabilities of Godot and cultivate your skills, don’t forget to consider the Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. It’s your gateway to fully unlocking the potential of this incredible, open-source game engine. By completing real projects and building up your portfolio, you’re setting the stage for success in the gaming industry. So why wait? Take the next step with us at Zenva, where your game development dreams become a playable reality.

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