EditorPlugin in Godot – Complete Guide

Engaging with game development is an exciting journey, rich with opportunities for creativity and technical prowess. One such adventure is diving into the world of Godot, a versatile and powerful game engine that facilitates the creation of both 2D and 3D games. In this tutorial, we will explore the EditorPlugin class in the newly released Godot 4. This class serves as a bridge, extending the Godot editor’s functionality to suit our custom needs.

In the realm of game development, being able to customize your tools can significantly streamline the creative process. The EditorPlugin class in Godot 4 equips us with this ability. By learning how to leverage EditorPlugins, we can tailor the Godot editor to our specific workflow, introduce new functionalities, and increase our productivity.

What Is EditorPlugin?

class EditorPlugin:

At its core, the EditorPlugin class is a way to extend the native capabilities of the Godot editor. Whether you’re looking to craft tools to tweak your game levels, create custom importers, or streamline asset management, the EditorPlugin class is your starting block for bespoke tooling within Godot.

What Are the Uses for EditorPlugins?

EditorPlugins are incredibly versatile, allowing for a broad spectrum of enhancements to the Godot editor. You can:

– **Edit Node or Resource Types**: Create plugins to modify specific types of game entities or data.
– **Custom Importers and Exporters**: Streamline the workflow for bringing assets into Godot or sending them out.
– **Extend Editors for 2D/3D Views**: Enhance the visual editing experience for your specific game’s needs.

Why Should I Learn to Create EditorPlugins?

Investing time into mastering EditorPlugins is advantageous for several reasons:

– **Increase Efficiency**: Custom tools can automate repetitive tasks, saving precious time.
– **Tailored Workflow**: You can craft an editor that meshes perfectly with your team’s needs.
– **Community Contribution**: Sharing your tools can help fellow developers and garner support and recognition.

Buckle up, as we delve into this tutorial, you’ll see just how empowering EditorPlugin can be for your game development endeavors. Let the creative coding commence!

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Getting Started with an EditorPlugin

To begin creating an EditorPlugin, we must first establish a new plugin by creating a script that extends the EditorPlugin class. Once this script is in place, we can register it as an add-on within Godot.

extends EditorPlugin

func _enter_tree():
    # Initialization of the plugin goes here

func _exit_tree():
    # Clean up the plugin data here

_enter_tree() is called when the plugin is loaded (like when Godot starts), which is where we typically initialize our plugin, and _exit_tree() is where we clean up, like disconnecting signals or removing custom nodes added to the editor.

Adding Custom Nodes to the Editor

An effective use of an EditorPlugin is adding custom nodes or controls to the editor interface. Using add_control_to_container(), we can dock our nodes in predefined areas of the editor.

func _enter_tree():
    var custom_button = Button.new()
    custom_button.text = "Press Me"
    add_control_to_container(CUSTOM_DOCK, custom_button)

This snippet adds a simple button to a chosen dock within the Godot editor. When pressed, this button could trigger any action we have set up in our plugin.

Interacting with the Editor

Interacting with Godot’s editor is a common need. Let’s capture user input with an example of a custom button’s implementation with an _on_custom_button_pressed() callback.

func _enter_tree():
    var custom_button = Button.new()
    custom_button.text = "Press Me"
    custom_button.connect("pressed", self, "_on_custom_button_pressed")
    add_control_to_container(CUSTOM_DOCK, custom_button)

func _on_custom_button_pressed():
    print("The custom button was pressed!")

In the callback function, we could do anything from displaying a message to triggering a complex workflow offering immense power and flexibility to our development process.

Manipulating Scenes and Nodes

EditorPlugins allow manipulation of the scene and nodes directly. This can include adding nodes to the current scene or iterating over nodes to perform batch operations.

func _enter_tree():
    var my_node = Sprite.new() # Example: Creating a new Sprite node
    get_tree().get_root().add_child(my_node) # Adding the Sprite node to the current scene

func _on_custom_button_pressed():
    var selected_node = get_editor_interface().get_selection().get_selected_nodes()[0] # Get the first selected node in the scene
    selected_node.position = Vector2(100, 100) # Set the position of the node

This example highlights how to add a new sprite to the scene and manipulate a selected node’s position via our custom plugin button.

Creating Custom Inspectors

Creating custom inspectors can greatly enhance the user experience for manipulating custom resources or nodes. With add_inspector_plugin(), you can attach custom inspector functionality to your plugin.

class CustomInspectorPlugin extends EditorInspectorPlugin:

    func can_handle(object):
        return object is MyCustomNode # Replace with your custom node or resource class

    func parse_begin(object):
        # Custom inspector setup for MyCustomNode

var inspector_plugin = CustomInspectorPlugin.new()

func _enter_tree():

func _exit_tree():

This snippet is a basic setup that checks if the selected object is of a type that our plugin can handle. If true, it uses parse_begin to start setting up the custom inspector functionality.

Through examples like these, you can start seeing how the EditorPlugin class empowers you to integrate deeply with Godot’s editor, making your development experience much more tailored and efficient. Stay tuned for our next lesson where we’ll delve deeper into even more complex examples and possibilities.Let’s keep expanding our knowledge about creating powerful EditorPlugins. As we proceed, consider the infinite possibilities these tools offer to customize your workflow in Godot 4.

Adding Auto-Import Rules for Assets

Imagine you have specific rules for importing assets such as textures or sounds. With EditorPlugins, you can automate this process by implementing custom import scripts.

class CustomImportPlugin extends EditorImportPlugin:

    func get_importer_name():
        return "custom_importer"

    func get_visible_name():
        return "My Custom Importer"

    func get_recognized_extensions():
        return ["png", "jpg"]

    func import(source_file, save_path, options, r_platform_variants, r_gen_files):
        # Your custom import logic goes here

func _enter_tree():
    var import_plugin = CustomImportPlugin.new()

func _exit_tree():

This basic setup introduces a new importer to handle specific image formats, applying whatever custom import logic you need for your project.

Tool Menu Items and Commands

Another powerful feature is adding custom menu items to Godot’s tool menu, which allows you to execute commands right from the main editor interface.

func _enter_tree():
    add_tool_menu_item("My Tool Command", self, "_on_my_tool_command_selected")

func _exit_tree():
    remove_tool_menu_item("My Tool Command")

func _on_my_tool_command_selected():
    print("My tool command was selected!")

With `_on_my_tool_command_selected()`, you can wire up your own functionality, like launching an external application or running a script within Godot.

Scripting Editor Behaviors

You can even modify how scripts behave within the editor. For example, we can set up our EditorPlugin to automatically format script code when it’s saved.

func _enter_tree():
    var script_editor = get_editor_interface().get_script_editor()
    script_editor.connect("script_saved", self, "_on_script_saved")

func _exit_tree():
    var script_editor = get_editor_interface().get_script_editor()
    script_editor.disconnect("script_saved", self, "_on_script_saved")

func _on_script_saved(script):
    # Implement your formatting logic here

In the `_on_script_saved` method, we could implement a code formatter, enforcing good coding practices amongst the development team.

Syncing Editor Settings with Code

The EditorPlugin allows for the synchronization of editor settings from within code. This can be critical in maintaining a standardized work environment for a team.

func _enter_tree():
    var settings = EditorSettings.get_singleton()
    settings.set_setting("text_editor/theme/color_theme", "YourFavoriteTheme")

func _exit_tree():
    # Code to revert any changes if necessary

In this example, we’re programmatically setting the color theme for the text editor, which could be a part of a setup process for new team members.

Creating an EditorPlugin within Godot 4 can range from these simple examples to rich, complex integrations that deeply enhance the editor. Through the EditorPlugin class, the power of the Godot engine is not just in how you make your games but also in how you tailor the tool to make creating them an even better experience.

Unlock your creativity, and consider developing an EditorPlugin that could serve not just your project but the wider Godot community. Embrace the spirit of open-source and share your creations for a more robust and inviting game development ecosystem.Building upon our foundation, let’s delve further into developing EditorPlugins in Godot 4 by examining some practical code examples. These will showcase the adaptability and power offered by Godot’s plugin system.

Custom Gizmos in the 3D Viewport

If your game heavily relies on 3D space manipulation, adding custom gizmos can dramatically improve the level design process.

func _enter_tree():
    var handle_material = create_handle_material("my_material")
    add_handle_gizmo_for_type("Spatial", handle_material)

func _exit_tree():

In this snippet, we’re adding a custom gizmo for all Spatial nodes using a predefined handle material. Gizmos like these enhance the interactivity within the 3D viewport.

Extending the Script Editor

Creating plugins can also enhance the experience of writing code within Godot. For instance, adding a new panel in the script editor is possible with EditorPlugins.

func _enter_tree():
    var custom_panel = VBoxContainer.new()
    var custom_label = Label.new()
    custom_label.text = "Custom Panel Content"
    add_control_to_dock(EDITOR_DOCK_SLOT_LEFT_UL, custom_panel)

This code adds a new panel with a label to the upper left dock in the script editor, providing you with a custom area for tooling or information display.

Integrating with the Animation Editor

Plugins can also interact with Godot’s powerful animation tools. For example, adding a button to the animation editor could help streamline complex animation processes.

func _enter_tree():
    var anim_editor = get_editor_interface().get_animation_editor()
    var custom_button = Button.new()
    custom_button.text = "New Keyframe"
    custom_button.connect("pressed", self, "_on_custom_button_pressed")

func _on_custom_button_pressed():
    # Logic for adding keyframes to animation

Here, a button is added to Godot’s animation editor panel that, when pressed, could perform tasks like automatically creating a keyframe for all properties of a selected node.

Scene Conversion and Processing

Powerful batch operations like scene conversion can be streamlined with EditorPlugins. Imagine converting all your 3D scenes to a voxel-based representation with a single command:

func _enter_tree():
    add_tool_menu_item("Convert to Voxel", self, "_on_convert_to_voxel_selected")

func _exit_tree():
    remove_tool_menu_item("Convert to Voxel")

func _on_convert_to_voxel_selected():
    # Logic for scene conversion to voxel representation

Selecting “Convert to Voxel” from the tool menu would then process the current scene, translating every 3D mesh into a voxel counterpart.

Enhancing Project Management

Organizing and managing a project’s resources effectively is vital. With plugins, we could add a custom resource manager dock to the editor:

func _enter_tree():
    var resource_manager = preload("res://addons/my_plugin/ResourceManager.tscn").instance()
    add_control_to_dock(EDITOR_DOCK_SLOT_RIGHT_BL, resource_manager)

By adding this custom dock, you create a centralized hub for managing your project’s resources, enabling quick access and organization with ease.

These examples only scratch the surface of what can be accomplished with EditorPlugins in Godot 4. Crafting EditorPlugins is akin to shaping the clay that is Godot, a powerful engine in itself, into tools that conform perfectly to your hands. The more your tools fit your needs, the more time you can spend bringing your game to life and less time wrestling with workflows that don’t quite match up.

As ever, we at Zenva are committed to empowering you with the knowledge to harness these advancements to their full potential. We encourage you to experiment, explore, and develop plugins that will enhance your Godot editor and make game creation an even more personal and pleasurable process.

Continue Your Godot Journey with Zenva

Congratulations on taking these first steps into the world of EditorPlugins with Godot 4! You’ve gained valuable insights into customizing the Godot editor to enhance your game development workflow. But the journey doesn’t end here; there is so much more to discover and master within the Godot engine!

To keep the momentum going and to expand your Godot expertise, consider exploring our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive collection of courses will guide you through the process of building cross-platform games using Godot 4. You’ll learn about using both 2D and 3D assets, crafting gameplay with GDScript, and developing various game mechanics for genres like RPG, RTS, and platformers. With projects you can add to your portfolio, our curriculum is designed to escalate your skills from beginner to professional at your own pace.

For a broader exploration of our courses, visit our complete assortment of Godot tutorials. These courses cater to all levels, allowing you to deepen your knowledge and become proficient in game development with Godot. With Zenva, your learning journey is flexible—start making your game development dreams a reality today!


As you step out from the realms of theory to the practical world of game creation with Godot, remember that the toolset of a game developer is ever-evolving. The knowledge of EditorPlugins you’ve acquired is just one facet of the multifaceted gemstone that is game development with Godot 4. Whether you’re developing whimsical 2D worlds or expansive 3D landscapes, the ability to refine your workflow can set the stage for a more seamless and enjoyable development experience.

Dive deeper, build more, and let your creativity flow unimpeded with the tools and teachings provided through our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. We at Zenva are here to help guide that journey, offering you courses that sharpen your skills and transform your ideas into playable realities. Continue crafting, learning, and growing as a developer—your next game-changing project awaits!

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