Layers vs DataLayers

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In Unreal Engine, both layers and data layers are used for organizing and managing various elements within the editor, but they serve different purposes.

  1. Layers: In Unreal Engine, layers are primarily used to control the visibility and editability of objects within the Level Editor. Layers allow you to group objects together and manage their visibility independently. You can think of layers as a way to organize and categorize different elements in your scene. For example, you could have a layer for environment assets, another layer for characters, and so on. By enabling or disabling specific layers, you can control which objects are visible and editable in the editor, making it easier to work on specific parts of your project without distractions.
  2. Data Layers: Data layers, on the other hand, are a newer feature introduced in Unreal Engine 4.26 and are designed specifically for managing and manipulating data within your game or project. Data layers allow you to create hierarchical structures to store and organize data, such as game settings, configuration values, and other variables. Unlike regular layers, data layers don’t affect the visibility or editability of objects in the editor. Instead, they focus on providing a structured way to store and manage data, which can be accessed and modified at runtime.

Data layers are especially useful for handling dynamic data that may change during gameplay or across different game modes. They offer a flexible and organized approach to managing and manipulating data within your project.

To summarize, layers in Unreal Engine primarily deal with visibility and editability of objects in the Level Editor, while data layers focus on organizing and managing data within your game or project at runtime.