EditorSelection in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our tutorial on the EditorSelection class in Godot 4; a comprehensive guide to mastering the control of your SceneTree selections right within the Godot Editor. Learning about how to leverage EditorSelection can significantly improve your workflow and efficiency when working on game development projects. Whether you’re sculpting the worlds of your dreams or creating intricate gameplay mechanics, understanding the EditorSelection class is a valuable step in your Godot mastery.

What is EditorSelection?

The EditorSelection class is a critical part of the Godot game engine, especially when it comes to scene management and organization. It serves as the backbone for how you interact with different nodes within your scenes from the editor’s perspective.

What is it for?

The purpose of EditorSelection is to provide developers with the ability to manage which nodes are selected in the SceneTree. This becomes incredibly useful for scenarios where multiple nodes need to be transformed, modified, or closely inspected. It’s also key to understanding how you can programmatically influence your game’s editor environment.

Why should I learn it?

Getting to grips with EditorSelection can enhance your game development process by allowing for more dynamic and script-controlled scene manipulation. Beginners will find that it simplifies the process of managing multiple selections, while experienced coders can use it to create more advanced editor tools and plugins. Understanding this class opens up the doors to higher efficiency and the ability to customize the Godot Editor to your unique needs.

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Accessing Selection from a Script

To begin with, you need to know how to access the EditorSelection. Below is an example of how to obtain a reference to the EditorSelection in your script.

var editor_selection = get_editor_interface().get_selection()

Once you have the reference, you can use it to interact with the currently selected nodes:

# Get an array of the currently selected nodes
var selected_nodes = editor_selection.get_selected_nodes()

These snippets will form the base for the rest of your editor manipulation scripts, enabling a variety of selection-based operations.

Selecting and Deselecting Nodes

To select a node in the SceneTree, you can add it to the EditorSelection:

# Assume you have a node reference called 'my_node'
editor_selection.add_node(my_node)

Deselecting nodes is just as easy:

# To deselect the node
editor_selection.remove_node(my_node)

# To clear the entire selection
editor_selection.clear()

These functions provide you with precise control over node selections directly from your scripts.

Responding to Selection Changes

It’s often useful to execute code when the selection changes in the editor. You can do this by connecting a custom method to the EditorSelection ‘selection_changed’ signal:

# First, connect the signal
editor_selection.connect("selection_changed", self, "_on_selection_changed")

# Then, define the method that will handle the signal
func _on_selection_changed():
    print("The selection has been changed!")

This functionality is particularly useful for creating plugins or editor tools that need to update their state in response to selection changes.

Inspecting Selection Properties

To truly leverage EditorSelection, you might want to inspect properties of the selected nodes. Use the following way to access the properties:

for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
    # You can now access and print node properties
    print(node.name)
    print(node.get_position())

Remember that the properties you can access depend on the type of node you are dealing with, so you need to make sure you are accessing valid ones.To further explore the capabilities of the EditorSelection class, let’s delve into more advanced examples that build on the fundamentals covered earlier. When implementing these examples, it’s crucial to understand that they’re intended for use in editor plugins or tool scripts within the Godot environment.

Firstly, let’s see how you can iterate over all selected nodes, performing an operation on each:

# Example: Moving all selected nodes by a Vector3 offset
var offset = Vector3(10, 0, 0)
for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
    if node is Spatial:
        node.translate(offset)

Suppose you’re interested in keeping track of the last node you’ve added to the selection. Here’s a script for that:

var last_selected_node

func _on_selection_changed():
    var selected_nodes = editor_selection.get_selected_nodes()
    if selected_nodes.size() > 0:
        last_selected_node = selected_nodes[-1]

In this snippet, the last node in the selection is updated every time the selection changes.

Let’s look at an example where you want to tag all selected nodes with a specific group:

# Add all selected nodes to a group named "collectibles"
for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
    node.add_to_group("collectibles")

If you need to find out if a specific node is currently selected, you can do this:

var my_node  # Assume this is a node you're interested in
if editor_selection.is_selected(my_node):
    print(my_node.name + " is currently selected.")
else:
    print(my_node.name + " is not selected.")

In the case that you are creating a custom interface and you need to update it when the EditorSelection changes, you can implement something like this:

func _on_selection_changed():
    # Let's say 'update_custom_interface()' updates a custom editor panel
    update_custom_interface()

Finally, for developers who are interested in building an undo/redo system for their tools or plugins, Godot’s undo/redo functionality can be integrated with the EditorSelection as well:

# Imagine you have an operation that moves a selected node
func move_selected_node(node, to_position):
    var from_position = node.get_position()
    get_undo_redo().create_action("Move Node")
    get_undo_redo().add_do_method(node, "set_position", to_position)
    get_undo_redo().add_undo_method(node, "set_position", from_position)
    get_undo_redo().commit_action()

This snippet sets up the undo/redo methods so that changes to the node’s position can be reversed or reapplied. Your editor tools can start becoming more user-friendly with such features in place.

Remember, these examples are meant to inspire and guide you in creating customized tools and functionalities within the Godot Editor. The EditorSelection class provides the base, but the applications and possibilities of what you can build with it are limited only by your imagination and needs as a developer.Utilizing the EditorSelection’s signals, you can automate tasks when objects in the scene move. Let’s start with tracking node movement:

func _on_selection_changed():
    for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
        node.connect("transform_changed", self, "_on_node_transform_changed", [node])

func _on_node_transform_changed(node):
    print(node.name + " has moved to: " + String(node.global_transform.origin))

In the editor, if you’re designing a level and need to snap objects to a grid, here’s how you could perform this action on all currently selected objects:

# Assuming a grid size stored in 'grid_size'
func snap_to_grid(grid_size):
    for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
        if node is Spatial:
            node.global_transform.origin = node.global_transform.origin.snapped(grid_size)

# Usage: Call 'snap_to_grid' with a desired Vector3 grid size
snap_to_grid(Vector3(1, 1, 1))  # Snap to a 1x1x1 grid

Focusing the editor’s camera on a selected object can be crucial for quick navigation. Here’s how you might center the viewport on the last selected object:

func _on_selection_changed():
    var selected_nodes = editor_selection.get_selected_nodes()
    if selected_nodes.size() > 0:
        var last_selected = selected_nodes[-1]
        if last_selected is Spatial:
            get_editor_interface().get_editor_viewport().focus_on_node(last_selected)

When developing game mechanics, you may want to apply specific material properties to all selected mesh instances. For example, setting a selected mesh to be transparent can be done like this:

# Let's assume 'transparent_material' is already a defined material
for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
    if node is MeshInstance:
        for surface in range(node.mesh.get_surface_count()):
            node.mesh.surface_set_material(surface, transparent_material)

Let’s say you are developing an editor tool that needs to find all nodes of a certain type within your selection, such as Light nodes. You could use the following script to gather them:

var selected_lights = []
for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
    if node is Light:
        selected_lights.append(node)

# Now 'selected_lights' contains all the Light nodes from the current selection

Sometimes, you may want to tag a whole hierarchy under a selection. You can achieve that by writing a recursive function to group your nodes:

func tag_hierarchy(node, group_name):
    node.add_to_group(group_name)
    for child in node.get_children():
        tag_hierarchy(child, group_name)

# Usage: Select a parent node in the SceneTree and call the following
for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
    tag_hierarchy(node, "group_name")

Developing editor tools often requires changing or adding script references on selected nodes. Here’s how that might be accomplished:

# Assume 'new_script' is a loaded script resource you wish to attach
for node in editor_selection.get_selected_nodes():
    if node is Node2D:  # Checking if it is the type of node we are interested in
        node.set_script(new_script)

Remember that manipulating nodes in the editor can have unintended consequences if not carefully handled. Always ensure that your scripts take into consideration the types of nodes you are working with and their properties’ validity in the specific context of your current selection.

These are advanced examples that showcase the power and flexibility of Godot’s EditorSelection class, empowering you to create highly customized tools and workflows for your Godot projects.

Continue Your Game Development Journey

Having explored the power of the EditorSelection class in Godot, you’re well on your way to harnessing the full potential of this versatile game engine. Let this be just the starting point of your game development adventure. As you continue to build, learn, and refine your skills, we invite you to dive deeper into the world of Godot with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. Here, not only will you gain a thorough understanding of 2D and 3D game creation, GDScript, and core gameplay mechanics, but you’ll also put theory into practice by constructing your very own games.

For those who wish to expand their knowledge further, check out our broader collection of Godot courses. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to add professional polish to your skill set, our detailed courses will support your learning needs and help you build a robust portfolio to showcase your newfound expertise.

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Conclusion

The incredible potential of the EditorSelection class in Godot unveils a new dimension of efficiency and convenience in game development. We’ve only scratched the surface here, and there’s so much more to discover and implement in your projects. Embrace these tools, play around with the features, and make the editor truly your own. The power to revolutionize your game development process is at your fingertips with Godot’s flexible editor scripting.

Don’t stop here, though. Continue to level up your skills and turn your creative visions into reality by delving into our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. We’re excited to see the amazing games you’ll create and the innovative ways you’ll use Godot. Let your journey in game creation soar to new heights with Zenva—your learning partner in the exciting world of game development.

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