C++ usage guidelines

Rationale

Since Godot 4.0, the C++ standard used throughout the codebase is a subset of C++17. While modern C++ brings a lot of opportunities to write faster, more readable code, we chose to restrict our usage of C++ to a subset for a few reasons:

  • It makes it easier to review code in online editors. This is because engine contributors don't always have access to a full-featured IDE while reviewing code.

  • It makes the code easier to grasp for beginner contributors (who may not be professional C++ programmers). Godot's codebase is known to be easy to learn from, and we'd like to keep it that way.

To get your pull request merged, it needs to follow the C++ usage guidelines outlined here. Of course, you can use features not allowed here in your own C++ modules or GDNative scripts.

Note

Prior to Godot 4.0, the C++ standard used throughout the codebase was C++03, with a handful of C++14 extensions. If you are contributing a pull request to the 3.x branch rather than master, your code can't use C++17 features. Instead, your code must be able to be built with a C++14 compiler.

The guidelines below don't apply to third-party dependencies, although we generally favor small libraries instead of larger solutions. See also Best practices for engine contributors.

See also

See Code style guidelines for formatting guidelines.

Disallowed features

Any feature not listed below is allowed. Using features like constexpr variables and nullptr is encouraged when possible. Still, try to keep your use of modern C++ features conservative. Their use needs to serve a real purpose, such as improving code readability or performance.

Standard Template Library

We don't allow using the STL as Godot provides its own data types (among other things). See Why does Godot not use STL (Standard Template Library)? for more information.

This means that pull requests should not use std::string, std::vector and the like. Instead, use Godot's datatypes as described below:

  • Use String instead of std::string.

  • Use Vector instead of std::vector. In some cases, List or LocalVector can be used as an alternative (ask core developers first).

  • Use Array instead of std::array.

auto keyword

Please don't use the auto keyword for type inference. While it can avoid repetition, it can also lead to confusing code:

// Not so confusing...
auto button = memnew(Button);

// ...but what about this?
auto result = EditorNode::get_singleton()->get_complex_result();

Keep in mind hover documentation often isn't readily available for pull request reviewers. Most of the time, reviewers will use GitHub's online viewer to review pull requests.

We chose to forbid auto instead of allowing it on a case-by-case basis to avoid having to decide on difficult edge cases. Thank you for your understanding.

Lambdas

Lambdas should be used conservatively when they make code effectively faster or simpler, and do not impede readability. Please ask before using lambdas in a pull request.

#pragma once directive

To follow the existing style, please use standard #ifdef-based include guards instead of #pragma once in new files.

See also

See Header includes for guidelines on sorting includes in C++ and Objective-C files.