Custom Resource Format Loaders


ResourceFormatLoader is a factory interface for loading file assets. Resources are primary containers. When load is called on the same file path again, the previous loaded Resource will be referenced. Naturally, loaded resources must be stateless.

This guide assumes the reader knows how to create C++ modules and godot data types. If not, refer to this guide Custom modules in C++.

What for?

  • Adding new support for many file formats
  • Audio formats
  • Video formats
  • Machine learning models

What not?

  • Raster images

ImageFormatLoader should be used to load images.

Creating a ResourceFormatLoader

Each file format consist of a data container and a ResourceFormatLoader.

ResourceFormatLoaders are usually simple classes which return all the necessary metadata for supporting new extensions in Godot. The class must the return the format name and the extension string.

In addition, ResourceFormatLoaders must convert file paths into resources with the load function. To load a resource, load must read and handle data serialization.


#include "io/resource_loader.h"

class ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson : public ResourceFormatLoader {
        virtual RES load(const String &p_path, const String &p_original_path, Error *r_error = NULL);
        virtual void get_recognized_extensions(List<String> *p_extensions) const;
        virtual bool handles_type(const String &p_type) const;
        virtual String get_resource_type(const String &p_path) const;

        virtual ~ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson() {}
#endif // MY_JSON_LOADER_H
#include "my_json_loader.h"
#include "my_json.h"

ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson::ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson() {

RES ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson::load(const String &p_path, const String &p_original_path, Error *r_error) {
        MyJson *my = memnew(MyJson);
        if (r_error)
                *r_error = OK;
        Error err = my->set_file(p_path);
        return Ref<MyJson>(my);

void ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson::get_recognized_extensions(List<String> *p_extensions) const {

String ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson::get_resource_type(const String &p_path) const {

        if (p_path.get_extension().to_lower() == "mjson")
                return "MyJson";
        return "";

bool ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson::handles_type(const String &p_type) const {
        return (p_type == "MyJson");

Creating Custom Data Types

Godot may not have a proper substitute within its Core types or managed resources. Godot needs a new registered data type to understand additional binary formats such as machine learning models.

Here is an example of how to create a custom datatype

#ifndef MY_JSON_H
#define MY_JSON_H

#include "core/variant.h"
#include "reference.h"
#include "variant_parser.h"
#include "io/json.h"
#include "dictionary.h"

class MyJson : public Resource{
        GDCLASS(MyJson, Resource);

        static void _bind_methods() {
                ClassDB::bind_method(D_METHOD("toString"), &MyJson::toString);

        Dictionary dict;
        Error set_file(const String &p_path){
                Error error_file;
                FileAccess *file = FileAccess::open(p_path, FileAccess::READ, &error_file);

                String buf = String("");
                        buf += file->get_line();
                String err_string;
                int err_line;
                JSON cmd;
                Variant ret;
                Error err = cmd.parse( buf, ret, err_string, err_line);
                dict = Dictionary(ret);
                file -> close();
                return OK;

        String toString() const {
                return String(*this);

        operator String() const {
                JSON a;
                return a.print(dict);

    MyJson() {};
    ~MyJson() {};


Some libraries may not define certain common routines such as i/o handling. Therefore, Godot call translations are required.

For example, here is the code for translating FileAccess calls into std::istream.

#include <istream>
#include <streambuf>

class GodotFileInStreamBuf : public std::streambuf{
        GodotFileInStreamBuf(FileAccess * fa) {
                _file = fa;
        int underflow() {
                if (_file->eof_reached()) {
                        return EOF;
                } else {
                        size_t pos = _file->get_position();
                        uint8_t ret = _file->get_8();
                        _file->seek(pos); //required since get_8() advances the read head
                        return ret;
        int uflow() {
                return _file->eof_reached() ?  EOF : _file -> get_8();
        FileAccess * _file;

Registering the New File Format

Godot registers ResourcesFormatLoader with a ResourceLoader handler. The handler selects the proper loader automatically when load is called.

/* register_types.cpp */
#include "register_types.h"
#include "class_db.h"

#include "my_json_loader.h"
#include "my_json.h"

static ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson *my_json_loader = NULL;
void register_my_json_types() {
        my_json_loader = memnew(ResourceFormatLoaderMyJson);

void unregister_my_json_types() {

Loading it on GDScript

  "savefilename" : "demo.mjson",
  "demo": [
extends Node

func _ready():
        var myjson = load("res://demo.mjson")
        print( myjson.toString())