Plugin vs Source Code


I am new to making add-ons to the Unreal Engine and I already started editing the source code, but I am haveing second thoughts about my approach.

I am looking to make a tool for the Blueprint editor and Level Editor and I wanted to know if Plugins have the same kind of capabilities as altering the source code, because so far with the source code, everything I want to do seems to be relatively straight forward.

I understand that creating plugin would make the tool I am making a lot more accessible but I am just looking to get it to work for now.

Thanks for any insights!

I generally find you can do most modifications as a plugin and you won’t have to deal with forking engine source code and the much longer compile times that entails. That said there will be certain things that will require source modifications, as a general rule extending the editor functionality should be possible purely in plugins, whereas changing base functionality will need source modifications.

The plugin system supports both editor only plugins, runtime, or both. It’s a highly flexible system and unless you need to modify base classes I would recommend using it.

The plugin Unreal.JS can be used to write editors and is a plugin.

You can create new editors and tools with plugins no problem. Extending existing ones is more limited.

The level editor has various hooks which let you extend certain things. If you’re looking to extend the blueprint editor from a plugin though, you’re going to struggle.