Please turn off auto import by default

hey there,

first of all: loving the new 4.7 features thus far and stability also made a great step forward! so thx for all that, good job! :slight_smile:

BUT ^^

one feature that just bit us in the back really hard is the auto import feature. i can see why you think its a great feature, and for single devs or new starters its probably a good time saver. but it certainly isnt for teams which have an established pipeline and workflow; its just too inflexible and does make too many false assumptions.

our situation:

  • we use p4 as source control
  • we have multiple people working on multiple files at the same time
  • we have files in the working folder, that are wip and are not subject to go into the game immediately
  • we have files in the working folder that we wish to NOT import at all, e.g. our artists using jpgs for previews in max
  • we store source files in subfolders prefixed with “_” to be able to exclude them easily by tools
  • we want to import assets to a different folder than the source files (usually one folder up the “_” prefixed source folder)
  • we regularly submit and sync a good bunch of files at once (e.g. one section of a level or more complex assets; goes in line with point 3)

you probably can see, why the auto import in its current state does not work for us… :wink:

  • currently we have to work through internet, which means syncing several hundreds MB takes a few minutes. problem: a source file might be on disk already, while its uasset file is still downloading, but the editor thinks its not imported yet so does start the import process…only fixable by closing the editor every single time before syncing. you forgot to close the editor? you’re screwed and have to manually cleanup afterwards!
  • after you synced a good bunch of files and start the editor, it starts importing all the unneccessary files, creating dozens of uasset files in source folders even though those assets will never be used; also the editor is blocked while that happens, so you get quite a coffee break everytime…waste of disk space and time

so as you perhaps can see, we had quite some headaches with this, until everyone turned off auto import. it would’ve been a lot easier ride, if auto import would’ve had the backwards compatible behavior, meaning: OFF for existing projects. maybe turning it only on for NEW projects would’ve worked…or only turn on REIMPORTING existing assets should their sources have changed, but not create new ones unintentionally. maybe. but auto importing everything everytime for everyone was not the best choice, imho!

to make this feature usable for US, it would need to be a lot more flexible.
like: allow to exclude certain patterns (like folders/files prefixed with “_*”) and defining WHERE an asset should be imported to (even though i see why that would be a hard thing to do in a generic way).

well, that became quite a wall of text…sorry 'bout that :smiley:

but hopefully it helps making things better and less intrusive in future iterations :slight_smile:


Hey - thanks for the feedback, it’s really appreciated.

Firstly I should let you know that we’re still actively working on this feature to make it as useful as it can be for as many people as possible. We realise that it currently won’t play very nicely with version control, but we’ve got some pending improvements to make that better. Here’s a quick list of improvements that you should expect soon:

* We're adding the ability to **disable detection of changes on restart** of the editor. This means if you want to do a large sync, you can close the editor and not have it reimport all the changed files that you just synced. Admittedly this won't help if you sync with the editor still open, but that's a tricky problem to solve if the feature's turned on.
* We're expanding the directory mappings to include **wildcard matches, and mount points**. This will allow you to exclude certain file types and folders, and map external folders to mounted content directories which will enable the auto creation of assets in those folders (currently we can't do that as we wouldn't know where to import things)

Your point about making auto import off for previously existing projects sounds like a good suggestion.

There are some more advanced options already in the 4.7 build which you may not have found, which disable the auto-creation and auto-deletion of assets. It sounds like you’d get on better with the feature if you had those turned off (which means you’d only get the reimport behaviour for existing assets)

You can also turn the feature off at a project level by adding the following config to your Config/DefaultEditorUserSettings.ini, should you wish:


Thanks again for the feedback - if you have any further suggestions do let us know.

thx for the extensive reply, didnt expect that tbh :smiley:

yeah, found out about the auto-creation and -deletion checkboxes, but have to admit were so frustrated over its default behaviour, we just wanted to get rid of it entirely… :wink:

upcoming improvements sound good, so will keep an eye on it in the release notes!

best regards :slight_smile:

Interesting thread, thanks for the info Andrew.

You mentioned there are some advanced options for auto import, where are those located exactly? In project settings? I’ll have another look now.

They are in Editor Preferences -> Loading & Saving:

Do we have an update on how this feature works on 4.19? Is this a feature we should default to be off?