Command line tutorial

Some developers like using the command line extensively. Godot is designed to be friendly to them, so here are the steps for working entirely from the command line. Given the engine relies on almost no external libraries, initialization times are pretty fast, making it suitable for this workflow.


On Windows and Linux, you can run a Godot binary in a terminal by specifying its relative or absolute path.

On macOS, the process is different due to Godot being contained within an .app bundle (which is a folder, not a file). To run a Godot binary from a terminal on macOS, you have to cd to the folder where the Godot application bundle is located, then run followed by any command line arguments. If you've renamed the application bundle from Godot to another name, make sure to edit this command line accordingly.

Command line reference

General options



-h, --help, /?

Display the list of command line options.


Display the version string.

-v, --verbose

Use verbose stdout mode.


Quiet mode, silences stdout messages. Errors are still displayed.

Run options



-e, --editor

Start the editor instead of running the scene (tools must be enabled).

-p, --project-manager

Start the project manager, even if a project is auto-detected (tools must be enabled).

-q, --quit

Quit after the first iteration.

-l <locale>, --language <locale>

Use a specific locale (<locale> being a two-letter code). See Locales for more details.

--path <directory>

Path to a project (<directory> must contain a 'project.godot' file).

-u, --upwards

Scan folders upwards for 'project.godot' file.

--main-pack <file>

Path to a pack (.pck) file to load.

--render-thread <mode>

Render thread mode ('unsafe', 'safe', 'separate'). See Thread Model for more details.

--remote-fs <address>

Remote filesystem (<host/IP>[:<port>] address).

--audio-driver <driver>

Audio driver. Use --help first to display the list of available drivers.

--video-driver <driver>

Video driver. Use --help first to display the list of available drivers.

Display options



-f, --fullscreen

Request fullscreen mode.

-m, --maximized

Request a maximized window.

-w, --windowed

Request windowed mode.

-t, --always-on-top

Request an always-on-top window.

--resolution <W>x<H>

Request window resolution.

--position <X>,<Y>

Request window position.


Force low-DPI mode (macOS and Windows only).


Run with invisible window. Useful together with --script.

Debug options


Debug options are only available in the editor and debug export templates (they require debug or release_debug build targets, see Target for more details).



-d, --debug

Debug (local stdout debugger).

-b, --breakpoints

Breakpoint list as source::line comma-separated pairs, no spaces (use %%20 instead).


Enable profiling in the script debugger.

--remote-debug <address>

Remote debug (<host/IP>:<port> address).


Show collision shapes when running the scene.


Show navigation polygons when running the scene.

--frame-delay <ms>

Simulate high CPU load (delay each frame by <ms> milliseconds).

--time-scale <scale>

Force time scale (higher values are faster, 1.0 is normal speed).


Disable render loop so rendering only occurs when called explicitly from script.


Disable crash handler when supported by the platform code.

--fixed-fps <fps>

Force a fixed number of frames per second. This setting disables real-time synchronization.


Print the frames per second to the stdout.

Standalone tools



-s <script>, --script <script>

Run a script.


Only parse for errors and quit (use with --script).

--export <target>

Export the project using the given export target. Export only main pack if path ends with .pck or .zip (tools must be enabled).

--export-debug <target>

Like --export, but use debug template (tools must be enabled).

--doctool <path>

Dump the engine API reference to the given <path> in XML format, merging if existing files are found (tools must be enabled).


Disallow dumping the base types (used with --doctool, tools must be enabled).


Build the scripting solutions (e.g. for C# projects, tools must be enabled).


Generate JSON dump of the Godot API for GDNative bindings (tools must be enabled).

--test <test>

Run a unit test. Use --help first to display the list of tests. (tools must be enabled).

--export-pack <preset> <path>

Like --export, but only export the game pack for the given preset. The <path> extension determines whether it will be in PCK or ZIP format. (tools must be enabled).


It is recommended that your Godot binary be in your PATH environment variable, so it can be executed easily from any place by typing godot. You can do so on Linux by placing the Godot binary in /usr/local/bin and making sure it is called godot.

Setting the project path

Depending on where your Godot binary is located and what your current working directory is, you may need to set the path to your project for any of the following commands to work correctly.

This can be done by giving the path to the project.godot file of your project as either the first argument, like this:

godot path_to_your_project/project.godot [other] [commands] [and] [args]

Or by using the --path argument:

godot --path path_to_your_project [other] [commands] [and] [args]

For example, the full command for exporting your game (as explained below) might look like this:

godot --path path_to_your_project --export my_export_preset_name game.exe

Creating a project

Creating a project from the command line can be done by navigating the shell to the desired place and making a project.godot file.

mkdir newgame
cd newgame
touch project.godot

The project can now be opened with Godot.

Running the editor

Running the editor is done by executing Godot with the -e flag. This must be done from within the project directory or a subdirectory, otherwise the command is ignored and the project manager appears.

godot -e

If a scene has been created and saved, it can be edited later by running the same code with that scene as argument.

godot -e scene.tscn

Erasing a scene

Godot is friends with your filesystem and will not create extra metadata files. Use rm to erase a scene file. Make sure nothing references that scene or else an error will be thrown upon opening.

rm scene.tscn

Running the game

To run the game, simply execute Godot within the project directory or subdirectory.


When a specific scene needs to be tested, pass that scene to the command line.

godot scene.tscn


Catching errors in the command line can be a difficult task because they just fly by. For this, a command line debugger is provided by adding -d. It works for running either the game or a simple scene.

godot -d
godot -d scene.tscn


Exporting the project from the command line is also supported. This is especially useful for continuous integration setups. The version of Godot that is headless (server build, no video) is ideal for this.

godot --export "Linux/X11" /var/builds/project
godot --export Android /var/builds/project.apk

The preset name must match the name of an export preset defined in the project's export_presets.cfg file. If the preset name contains spaces or special characters (such as "Windows Desktop"), it must be surrounded with quotes.

To export a debug version of the game, use the --export-debug switch instead of --export. Their parameters and usage are the same.

To export only a PCK file, use the --export-pack option followed by the preset name and output path, with the file extension, instead of --export. The output path extension determines the package's format, either PCK or ZIP.


When specifying a relative path as the path for --export, --export-debug or --export-pack, the path will be relative to the directory containing the project.godot file, not relative to the current working directory.

Running a script

It is possible to run a simple .gd script from the command line. This feature is especially useful in large projects, e.g. for batch conversion of assets or custom import/export.

The script must inherit from SceneTree or MainLoop.

Here is a simple example of how it works:

#!/usr/bin/env -S godot -s
extends SceneTree

func _init():

And how to run it:

# Prints "Hello!" to standard output.
godot -s

If no project.godot exists at the path, current path is assumed to be the current working directory (unless --path is specified).

The first line of above is commonly referred to as a shebang. If the Godot binary is in your PATH as godot, it allows you to run the script as follows in modern Linux distributions, as well as macOS:

# Mark script as executable.
chmod +x
# Prints "Hello!" to standard output.

If the above doesn't work in your current version of Linux or macOS, you can always have the shebang run Godot straight from where it is located as follows:

#!/usr/bin/godot -s