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Workflow for using source builds

Hey everyone,

Sorry if this is in the wrong place, but I was curious about folks workflows when using a source build of the engine in order to build a dedicated server. The main root of the question is: do you retarget your game to the source build only when packaging or do you retarget and then continue to develop against that source build as well?

I ask because developing against a source build seems tedious. Builds in Rider seem to be a bit longer as it inspects the engine source as well, and adding plugins, etc from the marketplace is always a 2 step process (install in supported engine, copy to source). I realize the latter would happen anyways once you retarget, but in general I was curious about other users workflows with this type of setup.

Speaking as a hobbyist, I almost always use source builds, often after initializing the project I never change it back to the binary builds. Some thoughts:

The initial clean build certainly takes longer with a source build, but the incremental builds are no different time wise than when linking against a binary version of the engine from the launcher.

I find that the time Rider takes to initialize at startup between Source vs Binary builds is about the same (always within 30 seconds to a minute). Albeit I have UE on an NVMe drive, perhaps its taking you a lot longer on a slower drive maybe?

A suggestion Epic has for adding marketplace content that will help here is to maintain a throwaway project (using a binary engine build). You add your plugins to this project then migrate Content in it over to your actual project (you can do this via the editor).

This way you wouldn’t need to temporarily re-target your real project and then eat the cost of a full build when you re-target it back to the source build.

So in short I’ve personally not noticed any big drawbacks to the source build, it really doesn’t add that much of additional slowdowns for startups or incremental compiles. It making it easier to do a quick development export for the dedicated server certainly helps.