EditorExportPlugin in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to an exploration of the EditorExportPlugin class in Godot 4, a powerful yet sometimes underappreciated tool that can significantly streamline your game development workflow. Exporting projects is a fundamental part of game development, and Godot’s extensible architecture allows for fine-grained control over this process, ensuring you include exactly what you need for your game’s deployment. This tutorial will delve into the utilities and nuances of the EditorExportPlugin, demonstrating reasons that make mastering this aspect of Godot both a valuable skill and an impressive display of a developer’s attention to the technicalities of their craft.

What is the EditorExportPlugin Class?

The EditorExportPlugin class in Godot 4 is a specialized script that automates and customizes your game export process. It springs into action each time you export your project, giving you the capability to decide what files and resources are necessary for different platforms.

What is it for?

Imagine having a trusty assistant who not only helps pack everything you need for a trip but also knows exactly what’s needed for each destination. The EditorExportPlugin does just that for your game project. By scripting these plugins, you can selectively include assets, apply platform-specific modifications, or even inject additional code based on the target platform, improving both your workflow and the end-user experience.

Why Should I Learn How to Use It?

Learning how to wield the EditorExportPlugin gives you more than just granular control over your export process; it empowers you to create more optimized and tailored game builds. Whether it’s optimizing resources to reduce size, adding platform-specific features, or securing your game files, mastering the EditorExportPlugin unlocks a new level of professionalism in your game delivery. Plus, gaining expertise in this area can set you apart in a field where efficiency and attention to detail are paramount.

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Creating a Basic EditorExportPlugin

Before diving into the examples, it’s essential to understand how to set up a basic EditorExportPlugin class in Godot 4. First, create a new script that extends from the EditorExportPlugin and save it in an appropriate location in your project.

extends EditorExportPlugin

To have this plugin recognized by Godot, you need to let the editor know when to activate it. You can do this by overriding the `_export_begin` function:

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    print("Export started for path: ", path)

Next, let’s see how you can exclude specific resources from the export. For example, if you have files that are only relevant for the development process, such as high-resolution textures that you scale down for the actual game, you can use the `skip` method.

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    skip("res://path_to_high_res_textures")

Manipulating Files During Export

Godot’s EditorExportPlugin allows you to modify files as they are exported. This is done by intercepting the file export process using the `_export_file` function. For instance, you can compress specific files before they are included in the final export:

func _export_file(file: String, type: String):
    if file.ends_with(".txt"):
        # Custom compression logic here
        return true # Return true to avoid default export.
    return false # Keep this file.

To add extra files that aren’t included by default, you can override the `_export_end` function:

func _export_end():
    var extra_file = File.new()
    if extra_file.open("res://extra_config.cfg", File.WRITE) == OK:
        extra_file.store_string("extra_info=1234")
        extra_file.close()
        add_file("res://extra_config.cfg", extra_file.get_buffer(0, extra_file.get_len()), true)

Platform-Specific Tweaks

Sometimes you’ll want to include files or make changes that are specific to the platform you’re exporting to. You can obtain the platform from the `features` parameter in the `_export_begin` function:

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    if "Windows Desktop" in features:
        # Only do this for Windows exports
        skip("res://linux-specific-files/")
    elif "X11" in features:
        # Only do this for Linux exports
        skip("res://windows-specific-files/")

It’s also possible to modify content of a file based on the target platform just before it’s exported:

func _export_file(file: String, type: String):
    if "Android" in features and file.ends_with(".cfg"):
        var file_contents = File.read(file)
        file_contents = modify_for_android(file_contents)
        File.write(file, file_contents)
        return true

In the example above, `modify_for_android` would be your custom function to adjust the contents for an Android release.

Finalizing Your Export Plugin

Once you’ve set the rules for exporting files and included any platform-specific modifications, you need to ensure all changes are saved correctly. This is where the `_export_end` function can be used to perform any final operations, cleanup, or log successful export information.

func _export_end():
    print("Export finished successfully!")

By using these examples as starting points, you’ll be able to build upon the essential functionalities of the EditorExportPlugin class in Godot 4, tailoring your game’s export process to your specific needs. Remember, the key to a great export plugin is understanding the needs of your project and the platforms you’re targeting. Now, practice with these examples and experiment to discover the best ways to optimize your game’s deployment.Continuing from where we left off, let’s delve further into the capabilities of the EditorExportPlugin class with additional code examples. These examples demonstrate the versatility of the plugin and highlight the potential for customizing your export process to suit the unique needs of your game.

Advanced Use Cases

Conditionally Exporting Files Based on Debug Mode

You might want to export different sets of files based on whether you’re doing a debug or release build. Let’s see how you can accomplish this with EditorExportPlugin:

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    if is_debug:
        skip("res://for_release_only/")
    else:
        skip("res://for_debug_only/")

Adding Custom Metadata or Configuration

You might need platform-specific metadata for your project. For example, adding a custom configuration file that’s only needed in the Windows export:

func _export_end():
    if "Windows Desktop" in features:
        var config = "[settings]\nfullscreen=true\n"
        add_file("user://settings.ini", config.to_utf8(), false)

Rename Files on Export

Sometimes, you might need to rename files as you export your project, like changing a configuration file’s name for different platforms:

func _export_file(file: String, type: String):
    if file == "res://default_config.cfg":
        if "Windows Desktop" in features:
            save_file("user://windows_config.cfg", file)
            return true
        elif "X11" in features:
            save_file("user://linux_config.cfg", file)
            return true
    return false

Modifying Scenes or Script Files

Imagine you want to make changes to your scene files, perhaps to adjust properties for a mobile platform:

func _export_file(file: String, type: String):
    if "Android" in features and file.ends_with(".tscn"):
        var scene_text = File.read(file)
        scene_text = adjust_scene_for_mobile(scene_text)
        File.write(file, scene_text)
        return true

Encrypting Files Before Export

If you are aiming for higher security, you might want to encrypt your scripts or data files during export:

func _export_file(file: String, type: String):
    if file.ends_with(".gd") or file.ends_with(".json"):
        var file_contents = File.read(file)
        file_contents = encrypt_data(file_contents)
        File.write(file, file_contents)
        return true

Conditionally Add Plugins or Modules

For complex projects that use different plugins or modules on different platforms, you can conditionally include these during the export:

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    if "HTML5" in features:
        skip("addons/native_plugin/")
    else:
        add_file("addons/native_plugin/x11/native_plugin.so", file_to_bytes("res://native_plugin/x11/native_plugin.so"), true)

Post-Export Script Execution

In some cases, you may want to run scripts after the export process completes, such as for automated testing or deployment. Here’s how you might initiate such a script:

func _export_end():
    OS.execute("res://post_export_script.sh", [], false)

These examples should equip you with a set of tools to make your exports not just faster, but more reflective of the needs of each individual platform you’re targeting. As always, the power of Godot’s EditorExportPlugin is in its flexibility and extensibility – it’s up to you as the developer to harness this power to optimize and refine your game’s exporting process.

Remember that each game and each export scenario might call for a unique approach, so use these examples as a starting point to build your custom export pipelines. At Zenva, we encourage you to be creative and inventive with these tools to streamline your development and ensure that the final product you deliver is of the highest quality and perfectly attuned to your audience’s needs.Continuing our deep dive into the EditorExportPlugin class with additional examples, we’re going to explore further scenarios that could arise in game development and how you can solve them using Godot’s flexible exporting system. These examples will build on the previous ones and showcase how you can use the plugin to its fullest potential.

Automatically Generating a Version File for Each Export

A common need during game exports is to create a version file that keeps track of the build version or commit hash:

func _export_end():
    var version = "1.2.3" // This could also be read from a file or environment variable
    var version_file = File.new()
    version_file.open("res://version.txt", File.WRITE)
    version_file.store_string(version)
    version_file.close()
    add_file("res://version.txt", version.to_utf8(), true)

Excluding Unused Assets

To decrease the size of your export, you may want to exclude assets that are not used in the final game, such as raw files used in creation (like .psd files):

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    skip("res://assets/raw/")

Customizing Assets for Specific Languages

If your game supports multiple languages, you can include only the relevant language assets, based on the chosen export locale:

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    var locale = "en" // This can be dynamically set based on your needs
    skip("res://locale/")
    add_file(f"res://locale/{locale}", file_to_bytes(f"res://locale/{locale}/localization.csv"), true)

Modifying Project Settings for Different Builds

You might want to adjust project settings for different platforms, such as enabling certain window settings for desktop but not for mobile:

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    if "Windows Desktop" in features or "X11" in features or "OSX" in features:
        ProjectSettings.set_setting("display/window/size/fullscreen", true)

Handling Additional Export Steps for Specific Platforms

Sometimes a platform may require extra steps after export, like post-processing an iOS export to deal with provisioning profiles or signing:

func _export_end():
    if "iOS" in features:
        # Post-process an iOS export (pseudo-code)
        sign_and_provision("path/to/exported/project.xcodeproj")

Embedding Security Keys or Access Tokens

For projects that use APIs or online services, you might need to embed different keys or tokens in your game when exporting. Make sure to store your keys securely:

func _export_begin(features, is_debug, path, flags):
    var api_key = get_api_key_for_platform(features)
    var key_file = File.new()
    key_file.open("res://api_key.txt", File.WRITE)
    key_file.store_string(api_key)
    key_file.close()
    add_file("res://api_key.txt", api_key.to_utf8(), true)

Automatically Generating Platform-Specific Readme Files

Providing information to players can sometimes be platform-specific. Generate a README file for specific platforms to inform players about controls, installation, or other platform-specific details:

func _export_end():
    var readme_text = ""
    if "Windows Desktop" in features:
        readme_text = "Double-click the executable to play."
    elif "Android" in features:
        readme_text = "Install the APK file on your device."
    else:
        return
    
    var readme_file = File.new()
    readme_file.open(f"user://{features}_README.txt", File.WRITE)
    readme_file.store_string(readme_text)
    readme_file.close()
    add_file(f"user://{features}_README.txt", readme_text.to_utf8())

These code snippets illustrate the versatility and the level of customization that can be achieved with the EditorExportPlugin in Godot 4. Whether it’s optimizing the size of your game, catering to different platforms’ requirements, or handling post-export processes, the plugin system provides a robust framework for automating and fine-tuning the export pipeline. Remember, scripts in Godot use GDScript, designed to be intuitive and easy to grasp, but are extremely powerful when harnessed correctly. We hope these examples spark ideas on how to further optimize and tailor the export process for your game projects. Happy coding!

Continuing Your Game Development Journey

Take Your Godot Skills Further

Having explored the powerful capabilities of the EditorExportPlugin class in Godot 4, you may be wondering what’s next on your path as a burgeoning game developer. The learning journey is an exciting road with endless possibilities, and we at Zenva encourage you to keep pushing forward, expanding your knowledge and refining your skills. To continue on this path, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next step to dive deeper into the world of Godot Engine.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to enhance your existing skills, the mini-degree will introduce you to a spectrum of game development concepts and practices using Godot’s versatile features. From mastering 2D and 3D game creation to understanding complex gameplay mechanics and player interactions, you will gain valuable insights that extend far beyond the basics.

For those seeking a broader range of content, we invite you to explore our comprehensive selection of Godot courses. Our curriculum is meticulously crafted to suit learners at all levels, ensuring that you can find the resources you need to take your game development aspirations to new heights. With our flexible, self-paced courses, you’ll get hands-on experience that not only enriches your understanding but also equips you with the practical skills sought after in the game development industry.

Remember, every step you take brings you closer to realizing your dreams of creating amazing games. Keep learning, keep experimenting, and let your passion drive you to new creative milestones. We’re here to support you every step of the way!

Conclusion

In this exploration of the powerful EditorExportPlugin class within Godot 4, we’ve unearthed the incredible potential it holds for fine-tuning your game’s export process, ensuring an optimized and polished end product for each platform. By embracing the principles and code examples shared, you’re now equipped to take on the export challenges that come your way, utilizing the full spectrum of Godot’s capabilities to achieve your game development goals.

Remember, the journey doesn’t end here; it’s merely a stepping stone towards greater mastery in the art of game creation. Continue to harness your newfound skills by diving into Zenva’s Godot Game Development Mini-Degree—a treasure trove of knowledge that awaits to take your capabilities even further. Stay passionate, stay curious, and let your creativity soar as you craft the games of your dreams. With commitment and the right resources at your fingertips, the possibilities are boundless!

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