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Create an O3DE Gem
You can develop your own independent modules to distribute and build as Open 3D Engine (O3DE) Gems. A Gem is just a bundle of code and/or assets, a manifest file, a CMake build file, and an optional display icon for project configuration tools. This is all that’s needed to ship a Gem.
Although you can create a Gem manually by creating all of the files yourself, it’s recommended to use the
o3de tool located in the
<engine>\scripts\o3de.bat create-gem -gp <path to create gem at>
<engine>/scripts/o3de.sh create-gem -gp <path to create gem at>
This will create your Gem with a standard file structure and CMake files created from templates .
For more information on how to use the
o3de tool, refer to
Project Configuration CLI Reference
Each Gem has an
Assets directory that can contain models, textures, scripts, animations, and more. Asset files are accessed the same way as they are in a game project. O3DE uses this root directory to find the asset file path. For example, when O3DE looks for the
textures/rain/rainfall_ddn.tif file, it looks in the
Gem code can be contained in any directory that is picked up by the
CMakeLists.txt file of the Gem, although, by convention, Gems with only one source module use
Code for the directory name.
A Gem that contains code is known as a Code Gem. For more information on developing Code Gems, refer to Programmer’s Guide to Gem Development .
Each Gem is required to have a
gem.json manifest file, describing the Gem. See the
Gem manifest documentation
for information on writing a
Each Gem can also contain an optional image to use as an icon in GUI project configuration tools. This image should be a
.jpg with dimensions of 140x80, and named
Gems also require a
CMakeLists.txt CMake build file, so that they can be picked up by the O3DE build system. This should be a standard CMake file for building your
Gem’s source code. For Gems that use binary libraries or executables that aren’t distributed as source, O3DE has a
third-party package system
CMakeLists.txt file is like any other CMake file. When you create it, keep the following important points in mind:
- The target generated for the Gem will have the Gem name as defined in the
gem.jsonmanifest. This will be the active target during the invocation of your Gem’s
- You can use the functions available in the core O3DE build system. See the contents of the
cmakedirectory in source.
- Avoid the use of
file(DOWNLOAD ...). The package system of O3DE is a robust replacement, and should be used instead.
When you create a Gem without a specified template, it’s created from the “DefaultGem” template. This creates a Gem for packaging both code and assets. You can also create a Gem that provides only assets by specifying the “AssetGem” template through the
<engine>\scripts\o3de.bat create-gem --gem-path <path to create gem at> --template-name AssetGem # or <engine>\scripts\o3de.bat create-gem --gem-path <path to create gem at> --template-path <engine-root>\Templates\AssetGem
<engine>/scripts/o3de.sh create-gem --gem-path <path to create gem at> --template-name AssetGem # or <engine>/scripts/o3de.sh create-gem --gem-path <path to create gem at> --template-path <engine-root>/Templates/AssetGem
O3DE provides a list of Gem templates, which can be found in the Templates directory in the O3DE repository.
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