EditorSceneFormatImporter in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our exciting exploration of the EditorSceneFormatImporter class in Godot 4! If you’re venturing into the world of game development, especially with Godot, understanding how to import scenes from various 3D formats is an invaluable skill. This tutorial aims to demystify the process, showing you how to take advantage of Godot’s capabilities to bring your imagination to life. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your Godot expertise, you’ll find this guide filled with insights and easy-to-follow examples. Let’s jump right in and unlock the potential of importing scenes to enrich your games.

What is EditorSceneFormatImporter?

The EditorSceneFormatImporter is a Godot Engine class responsible for importing scenes from third-party 3D file formats. As you may know, Godot is a powerful open-source game engine that supports a wide variety of file formats, and a key component of this support is the EditorSceneFormatImporter class. Through it, developers have the power to integrate assets from various sources into their Godot projects.

What is it for?

Specifically, the EditorSceneFormatImporter is designed to work with third-party 3D models and scenes. Whether you’re working with Blender, FBX, or GLTF files, this class ensures your external assets can be brought into Godot seamlessly. It’s integral for game developers who leverage a myriad of tools for asset creation, providing a bridge to Godot’s ecosystem.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding and utilizing the EditorSceneFormatImporter is essential for a few reasons:

– **Expand your asset pipeline**: By learning how to import different 3D formats, you can incorporate a broader range of resources into your games.
– **Streamline collaboration**: Work efficiently with artists and designers who may use different software for asset creation.
– **Customize and extend**: Godot’s open-source nature means you can customize the import process by writing your own importer scripts if the need arises.

Gaining familiarity with this class equips you with more tools to create, modify, and enhance your game projects. Let’s unravel the potential of EditorSceneFormatImporter together!

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Basic Scene Importing

Let’s start by importing a basic scene into Godot with the EditorSceneFormatImporter. Before we begin, ensure that you have your 3D file (for instance, an .fbx or .dae file) ready to be imported into your project.

var importer = EditorSceneFormatImporter.new()
var scene = importer.import_scene("res://path_to_your_3d_file.fbx", 0, "", [])

In the code above, we create a new instance of the EditorSceneFormatImporter. We then call the `import_scene` method, passing the path to our .fbx file, a flags parameter set to 0 (for default import flags), an empty string for the p_feedback_loop parameter, and an empty array for the p_options parameter.

If you successfully imported the scene, the `scene` variable should now hold a reference to the imported scene. Otherwise, check the console for any error messages that may provide clues as to what went wrong.

Adjusting Import Settings

Godot’s import system is flexible, allowing you to tweak how assets are imported. The `p_options` parameter in the `import_scene` method lets you customize these options. For instance, you can specify if you want to import animations with the following approach:

var importer = EditorSceneFormatImporter.new()
var import_options = [{"import_animations": true}]
var imported_scene = importer.import_scene("res://my_scene.glb", 0, "", import_options)

In this example, we’ve set up an array of dictionaries that define our import options, specifically asking the importer to include animations from the file we’re importing.

Handling Imported Assets

Once you’ve imported a scene, you will likely want to do something with it, such as adding it to the current scene tree.

var current_scene = get_tree().current_scene
var imported_scene_instance = scene.instance()

This snippet retrieves the current scene and instances the imported scene onto it, effectively adding all the nodes and resources from the imported scene into the current one. Remember to ensure that the import process completed successfully before trying to instance it.

Customization With Custom Import Scripts

Sometimes default import options just aren’t enough, and you may want to process the imported scene further. You can write a custom script to run after import to modify the scene to better fit your game. Here’s a simple example of how to change the material of all imported mesh instances:

func _post_import(scene):
    for node in scene.get_children():
        if node is MeshInstance:
            var material = preload("res://materials/my_custom_material.tres")
            node.material_override = material
    return scene

The hypothetical `_post_import` function goes through all child nodes of the imported scene, checks if they are of type MeshInstance, and applies a custom material to them. You would call this function after the `import_scene` call and pass the resulting `scene` to it.

Remember that these code snippets are starting points. Godot’s scripting environment is incredibly robust, and as you get more comfortable with EditorSceneFormatImporter and GDScript, you’ll be able to create more complex import logic fit for your specific needs. Happy coding!Now that we’re getting comfortable with importing scenes and manipulating imported assets, let’s delve even deeper into the capabilities of the EditorSceneFormatImporter class. We’ll provide more code snippets to demonstrate how you can have finer control over your imports and how to deal with some common scenarios you might encounter.

Importing Meshes with Custom Flags

You might want to import meshes with specific flags, like calculating tangents or importing with a specific type of compression. Here’s how you can set those flags using the `p_flags` parameter:

var importer = EditorSceneFormatImporter.new()
var flags = EditorSceneFormatImporter.FLAG_CALCULATE_TANGENTS
var scene = importer.import_scene("res://your_model.scn", flags, "", [])

In this example, `FLAG_CALCULATE_TANGENTS` is just one of the many flags you can use to modify the import process.

Dealing with Materials

Handling materials in imported scenes can be a common task. For example, let’s say you want to replace all the imported materials with a specific shader you’ve prepared.

func _replace_materials(scene, material_path):
    var new_material = preload(material_path)
    for node in scene.get_children():
        if node is MeshInstance:
            node.material_override = new_material

This function takes a scene and a material path, loads the new material, and replaces the material on all MeshInstance nodes. An essential thing to remember here is to ensure that the preload path is correct and points to a valid material resource.

Saving Imported Scenes

After importing a scene and making any necessary modifications, you might want to save it as a part of your project. Here’s a quick snippet on how to save an imported scene as a packed scene file:

var imported_scene = ... # Assume this is the scene we imported earlier
var packed_scene = PackedScene.new()
ResourceSaver.save("res://path_to_save_scene.tscn", packed_scene)

After packing your imported scene into a PackedScene object, you can save it using ResourceSaver, choosing whatever path suits your project’s organization.

Error Handling

Good error handling can save a lot of debugging time when working with imports. Here’s a simple way to log errors:

var importer = EditorSceneFormatImporter.new()
var scene = importer.import_scene("res://path_to_nonexistent_file.fbx", 0, "", [])
if not scene:
    print("Error importing scene. Check file path and import settings.")

In this example, we’re simply checking to see if the `scene` is non-existent (`null` in GDScript) after attempting to import and printing an error message to the console.

By taking advantage of these more advanced techniques, you’ll enhance the workflow within your Godot projects. Importing and adjusting scene assets to suit your game’s needs becomes a more streamlined and customizable process, allowing you to craft the precise gaming experience you desire. Keep experimenting and refining your skills—the possibilities are endless within Godot’s dynamic engine!Certainly! As we delve further into the intricacies of the EditorSceneFormatImporter class, let’s explore additional capabilities and scenarios you’ll likely encounter. These examples will demonstrate how to unlock even more potential from your imports.

Applying Import Presets

Import presets can significantly streamline your workflow, especially when you need to import multiple files with the same settings. Here’s how you can apply an existing import preset to a new scene.

var importer = EditorSceneFormatImporter.new()
var import_presets = load("res://import_presets/my_preset.tres") # Ensure this path is correct
var scene = importer.import_scene("res://new_model.fbx", 0, "", import_presets.get_import_options())

In this snippet, we’re loading a preset resource and using the `get_import_options` method to retrieve the options from the preset, then applying them to the new import.

Loading and Modifying Imported Nodes

After importing a scene, you might want to find specific nodes and modify them. Let’s say you want to adjust the transform of a node named “PlayerStart”:

var imported_scene = ... # This is the scene we've imported
var player_start_node = imported_scene.find_node("PlayerStart", true, false)
if player_start_node:
    player_start_node.transform.origin += Vector3(0, 1, 0) # Raise it by 1 unit on the Y-axis

This script locates a node called “PlayerStart” in the scene tree, and if found, modifies its origin to raise it by one unit on the Y-axis.

Assigning Imported Animations

If you import a model with animations, assigning these animations to an AnimationPlayer node will be a typical task:

var imported_scene = ... # Assume this contains animations
var animation_player = AnimationPlayer.new()
var animations = imported_scene.get_animation_list()
for animation_name in animations:
    var animation = imported_scene.get_animation(animation_name)
    animation_player.add_animation(animation_name, animation)

Here, we’re adding each animation found in the imported scene to an AnimationPlayer node for playback in our game.

Setting up Collisions for Imported Meshes

For game mechanics that rely on physics, you’ll need to set up collisions for your imported meshes:

var imported_scene = ... # This is the scene imported with meshes
for node in imported_scene.get_children():
    if "collision" in node.name.to_lower(): # Identify nodes meant for collisions
        var collision_shape = CollisionShape.new()
        var shape = ConcavePolygonShape.new()
        collision_shape.shape = shape

In this example, we’re iterating through the nodes in an imported scene, identifying those intended for collision by name, and adding a CollisionShape node with a ConcavePolygonShape to each.

Optimizing Imported Scenes

When bringing in complex scenes, optimization might be necessary to ensure good performance. Here’s how you might merge similar materials to reduce draw calls:

var material_cache = {}
func _merge_materials(node):
    if node is MeshInstance and node.get_surface_material_count() > 0:
        for i in range(node.get_surface_material_count()):
            var mat = node.get_surface_material(i)
            if mat in material_cache:
                node.set_surface_material(i, material_cache[mat])
                material_cache[mat] = mat

We’re caching each unique material encountered. If a material has already been seen, we replace it with the cached version, reducing the number of different materials used in the imported scene.

Remember that these snippets are starting points and can (and should!) be tailored to fit the specific requirements of your project. As with any aspect of game development, testing and iteration are key—don’t hesitate to try out different approaches to find what works best for your game. Enjoy the journey into Godot’s powerful importing capabilities!

Continuing Your Game Development Journey with Godot

Now that you’ve dipped your toes into the waters of the EditorSceneFormatImporter in Godot 4, you may be wondering, “Where to from here?” The exciting truth is that the journey is only beginning, and there’s a whole ocean of knowledge waiting for you to dive into.

If you’re keen to build cross-platform games and master the free and open-source Godot 4 engine, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree might just be the next step you’re looking for. It’s tailored to usher you through a comprehensive learning path that encompasses a wide array of key game development topics. Beyond just the basics, our courses are designed to grow with you – from beginner all the way to professional developer, ensuring you’re well-equipped with in-demand skills for the gaming industry.

For those of you eager to explore even more about Godot and game development, make sure to check out our broader catalog of Godot courses. At Zenva, we’re committed to providing high-quality content that empowers you to learn coding, create games, and earn certificates, all at your own pace. So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to level up, we’ve got the content to propel your career forward. The world of Godot game development is at your fingertips, and we’re excited to support you on this journey. Happy coding!


Diving into Godot’s EditorSceneFormatImporter is just the beginning of a thrilling adventure in game development. Through this journey, you’ve unlocked new doors to asset creation and scene management, ultimately enriching your gaming projects. Remember, every step taken in learning and experimentation enhances your skills and brings you closer to crafting the unique gaming experiences you envision.

As you continue to explore and harness the full potential of Godot 4, don’t hesitate to delve into deeper learning. Our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is specially designed to guide you every step of the way. From importing scenes to scripting logic and building entire worlds, your path to becoming a game development pro is clearer than ever. Join us at Zenva, and let’s shape the future of gaming together!

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