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Ways to contribute¶
Godot Engine is a non-profit, community-driven free and open source project. Almost all (but our lead dev Juan, more on that below) developers are working pro bono on their free time, out of personal interest and for the love of creating a libre engine of exceptional quality.
This means that to thrive, Godot needs as many users as possible to get involved by contributing to the engine. There are many ways to contribute to such a big project, making it possible for everybody to bring something positive to the engine, regardless of their skill set:
Be part of the community. The best way to contribute to Godot and help it become ever better is simply to use the engine and promote it by word-of-mouth, in the credits or splash screen of your games, blog posts, tutorials, videos, demos, gamedev or free software events, support on the Q&A, forums, Contributors Chat, Discord, etc. Participate! Being a user and advocate helps spread the word about our great engine, which has no marketing budget and can therefore only rely on its community to become more mainstream.
Make games. It's no secret that, to convince new users and especially the industry at large that Godot is a relevant market player, we need great games made with Godot. We know that the engine has a lot of potential, both for 2D and 3D games, but given its young age we still lack big releases that will draw attention to Godot. So keep working on your awesome projects, each new game increases our credibility on the gamedev market!
Get involved in the engine's development. This can be by contributing code via pull requests, testing the development snapshots or directly the git master branch, report bugs or suggest enhancements on the issue tracker, improve the official documentation (both the class reference and tutorials) and its translations. The following sections will cover each of those "direct" ways of contributing to the engine.
Donate. Godot is a non-profit project, but it can still benefit from user donations for many things. Apart from usual expenses such as hosting costs or promotional material on events, we also use donation money to acquire hardware when necessary (e.g. we used donation money to buy a MacBook Pro to implement Retina/HiDPI support and various other macOS-related features). Most importantly, we also used donation money to hire core developers so they can work full-time on the engine. Even with a low monthly wage, we need a steady donation income to continue doing this, which has been very beneficial to the project so far. So if you want to donate some money to the project, check our website for details.
The possibility to study, use, modify and redistribute modifications of the engine's source code are the fundamental rights that Godot's MIT license grants you, making it free and open source software.
As such, everyone is entitled to modify Godot's source code, and send those modifications back to the upstream project in the form of a patch (a text file describing the changes in a ready-to-apply manner) or - in the modern workflow that we use - via a so-called "pull request" (PR), i.e. a proposal to directly merge one or more Git commits (patches) into the main development branch.
Contributing code changes upstream has two big advantages:
Your own code will be reviewed and improved by other developers, and will be further maintained directly in the upstream project, so you won't have to reapply your own changes every time you move to a newer version. On the other hand it comes with a responsibility, as your changes have to be generic enough to be beneficial to all users, and not just your project; so in some cases it might still be relevant to keep your changes only for your own project, if they are too specific.
The whole community will benefit from your work, and other contributors will behave the same way, contributing code that will be beneficial to you. At the time of this writing, more than 1000 developers have contributed code changes to the engine!
To ensure good collaboration and overall quality, the Godot developers enforce some rules for code contributions, for example regarding the style to use in the C++ code (indentation, brackets, etc.) or the Git and PR workflow.
A good place to start is by searching for issues tagged as good first issue on GitHub.
Technical details about the PR workflow are outlined in a specific section, Pull request workflow.
Details about the code style guidelines and the
tool used to enforce them are outlined in
Code style guidelines.
All pull requests must go through a review process before being accepted. Depending on the scope of the changes, it may take some time for a maintainer responsible for the modified part of the engine to provide their review. We value all of our contributors and ask them to be patient in the meantime, as it is expected that in an open source project like Godot, there is going to be way more contributions than people validating them.
To make sure that your time and efforts aren't wasted, it is recommended to vet the idea first before implementing it and putting it for a review as a PR. To that end, Godot has a proposal system. Its usage is encouraged to plan changes and discuss them with the community. Implementation details can also be discussed with other contributors on the Godot Contributors Chat.
Proposals are only required when working on an enhancement or a new feature. Bug reports are sufficient for fixing issues.
Testing and reporting issues¶
Another great way of contributing to the engine is to test development releases or the development branch and to report issues. It is also helpful to report issues discovered in stable releases, so that they can be fixed in the development branch and in future maintenance releases.
Testing development versions¶
To help with the testing, you have several possibilities:
Compile the engine from source yourself, following the instructions of the Compiling page for your platform.
Test official pre-release binaries when they are announced (usually on the blog and other community platforms), such as alpha, beta and release candidate (RC) builds.
Test "trusted" unofficial builds of the development branch; just ask community members for reliable providers. Whenever possible, it's best to use official binaries or to compile yourself though, to be sure about the provenance of your binaries.
As mentioned previously, it is also helpful to keep your eyes peeled for potential bugs that might still be present in the stable releases, especially when using some niche features of the engine which might get less testing by the developers.
Filing an issue on GitHub¶
Godot uses GitHub's issue tracker for bug reports. When you start filing a bug report, you’ll be given a form to fill out. Please try to follow it so that all issues are consistent and provide the required information.
Contributing to the documentation¶
There are two separate resources referred to as "documentation" in Godot:
The class reference. This is the documentation for the complete Godot API as exposed to GDScript and the other scripting languages. It can be consulted offline, directly in Godot's code editor, or online at Godot Class Reference. To contribute to the class reference, you have to edit the XML file corresponding to the class and make a pull request. See Contributing to the class reference and Class reference primer for more details.
The tutorials and engine documentation and its translations. This is the part you are reading now, which is distributed in the HTML format. Its contents are generated from plain text files in the reStructured Text (rst) format, to which you can contribute via pull requests on the godot-docs GitHub repository. See Contributing to the documentation for more details.
To make Godot accessible to everyone, including users who may prefer resources in their native language instead of English, our community helps translate both the Godot editor and its documentation in many languages.
See Editor and documentation localization for more details.