Developer Guide (Version 1.11)

Editor Components

Some components in Lumberyard have separate editor and runtime versions. The editor version is active in the editor. The run-time version is used for running the level in game or in the editor by pressing Ctrl+G or clicking AI/Physics below the viewport. Lumberyard uses editor components to maintain a clean separation between tools-specific code and data on one hand, and leaner run-time component data on the other. In general, run-time game components do not require editor counterparts. Components rarely need to be fully active at edit time. The light and mesh components are exceptions because they must behave the same at edit time as at run time.

EditContext reflection is fully supported in run-time components. Edit time is the only time when editor components are active. At run time, when Lumberyard processes a level or dynamic slice, it uses the run-time equivalents of editor components. Using the EditContext from a run-time component is usually sufficient to provide a rich editing experience.


Editor components are not required. An editor component is necessary only if one of the following is true:

  • Your component must be fully active at edit time. Edit time refers to standard editing mode; run-time components are used for the AI/Physics mode and gameplay (Ctrl+G).

  • You must add special tools functionality to your component that requires that you compile only into your editor binaries.

  • Your component provides functionality only in the editor and does not export a run-time component (for example, if your component manages selection logic).

Sample Editor Component

The following code shows a sample editor component.

class MyEditorComponent : public AzToolsFramework::Components::EditorComponentBase , private AzFramework::EntityDebugDisplayEventBus::Handler { public: AZ_EDITOR_COMPONENT(MyEditorComponent, "{5034A7F3-63DB-4298-83AA-915AB23EFEA0}"); // AZ::Component interface implementation. void Init() override {} void Activate() override {} void Deactivate() override {} // AzFramework::EntityDebugDisplayEventBus::Handler. void DisplayEntity(bool& handled) override; // Required Reflect function. static void Reflect(AZ::ReflectContext* context); // Optional functions for defining provided and dependent services. static void GetProvidedServices(AZ::ComponentDescriptor::DependencyArrayType& provided) static void GetDependentServices(AZ::ComponentDescriptor::DependencyArrayType& dependent); static void GetRequiredServices(AZ::ComponentDescriptor::DependencyArrayType& required); static void GetIncompatibleServices(AZ::ComponentDescriptor::DependencyArrayType& incompatible); void BuildGameEntity(AZ::Entity* gameEntity) override; };

Editor Component and Run-Time Component Differences

The code for editor components is similar to the code for run-time components. The following sections list the key differences. It is safe to assume that editor component code is the same as it is for run-time component code other than the differences listed. For more information, see Creating a Component.

Base Classes

All editor components include the AzToolsFramework::Components::EditorComponentBase class somewhere in their inheritance ancestry. If a component must display edit-time visualization, it must be a handler on the AzFramework::EntityDebugDisplayEventBus::Handler bus, as in the following example.

class MyComponent : public AzToolsFramework::Components::EditorComponentBase , private AzFramework::EntityDebugDisplayEventBus::Handler


Every editor component must specify the AZ_EDITOR_COMPONENT macro within its class definition. The macro takes two arguments:

  1. The component type name.

  2. A unique UUID. You may use any UUID generator to produce the value. Visual Studio provides this functionality through Tools, Create GUID. Use the Registry Format setting, and then copy and paste the value that is generated.

A sample AZ_EDITOR_COMPONENT macro follows.

AZ_EDITOR_COMPONENT(MyEditorComponent, "{5034A7F3-63DB-4298-83AA-915AB23EFEA0}");


Some older editor components specify AzToolsFramework::Components::EditorComponentBase as the base class but use the AZ_COMPONENT instead of the AZ_EDITOR_COMPONENT macro, as in the following example.

AZ_COMPONENT(EditorMannequinComponent, "{C5E08FE6-E1FC-4080-A053-2C65A667FE82}", AzToolsFramework::Components::EditorComponentBase);

The DisplayEntity Method

To render special visualizations in the editor, implement the DisplayEntity method of the AzFramework::EntityDebugDisplayEventBus interface. Use this location for custom primitive edit-time visualization code.

// AzFramework::EntityDebugDisplayEventBus::Handler void DisplayEntity(bool& handled) override;

The BuildGameEntity Method

The BuildGameEntity method facilitates the translation of an editor component into a run-time component. Its syntax is as follows.

void BuildGameEntity(AZ::Entity* gameEntity) override;

A typical implementation of the BuildGameEntity method performs the following actions:

  1. Create a run-time component based on the editor component of the specified gameEntity.

  2. Copy the configuration data from the editor component into the run-time component.

  3. Add the run-time component to the gameEntity that was specified.

At this point, the run-time component serializes the gameEntity and reloads it to create a new, clean version of the run-time entities.

The Transform Component Example

The TransformComponent is a good example of how editor and run-time components can differ. In the run-time component, values are stored in a fully composed AZ::Transform. In the editor component, values are stored in decomposed format. Position, rotation, and scale values are stored separately, and rotation is represented as Euler angles. This difference in format enables the editor component to provide user-friendly display and storage while providing optimal storage in the run-time component.