UnrealCV can be compiled as a plugin as shown in the Compile from source code, but it you want to modify the plugin source code, compiling it together with an UE4 C++ project will make debug much easier. For development, we need to

  • Create a C++ game project

  • Get the corresponding plugin

  • Compile the C++ project

  • Add a new command

Create a C++ game project

UE4 has two types of game projects. Blueprint project and C++ project. We need a C++ project.

In a C++ project, the plugin code will be compiled together with the game project.

The simplest way to start is using the playground project. Playground project is a simple UE4 project to show basic features of UE4 and UnrealCV. It serves as a development base and test platform for UnrealCV team.

We use git-lfs to manage large binary files. Please make sure you have installed git-lfs on your computer. Then you can get the playground project by

git lfs clone

Get the corresponding plugin

Now the folder Plugins/UnrealCV in the repository is empty. Please refer to Install UnrealCV Plugin to get the corresponding plugin and put it in the folder.

Compile the C++ project


  • Install visual studio.

  • To generate visual studio solution, right click playground.uproject and choose Generate Visual Studio project files.

  • Open the *.sln solution file and build the solution. The plugin code will be compiled together with the game project.


# Modify to a path that specified in step 1
export UE4=/home/qiuwch/UnrealEngine/4.13
UE4Editor() { bin=${UE4}/Engine/Binaries/Linux/UE4Editor; file=`pwd`/$1; $bin $file; }
UE4GenerateProjectFiles() {
  bin=${UE4}/; file=`pwd`/$1;
  $bin -project=${file} -game -engine;
  • Generate project file and use Makefile

UE4GenerateProjectFiles playground.uproject
make playgroundEditor
# or make playgroundEditor-Linux-Debug
UE4Editor playground.uproject


  • Install Xcode.

  • To generate Xcode Project, right click playground.uproject and choose Service->Generate Xcode Project.

  • Open the *.xcworkspace file and build. The plugin code will be compiled together with the game project.

Useful resources for development, UnrealCV architecture

Add a new command

UnrealCV provides a set of commands for accomplishing tasks and the list is growing. But it might not be sufficient for your task. If you need any function that is missing, you can try to implement it yourself.

The benefits of implementing an UnrealCV command are:

  1. You can use the communication protocol provided by UnrealCV to exchange data between your program and UE4.

  2. You can share your code with other researchers, so that it can be used by others.


You are supposed to edit your code in playground->Plugins->UnrealCV instead of UE4->Plugins->UnrealCV.

First we go through a very simple example which prints a message. Assume that we want to add a commamd vget /object/helloworld to print “Hello World!”. We need to modify two files: ObjectHandler.h and ObjectHandler.cpp.

In ObjectHandler.h, we need to add a member function:

FExecStatus HelloWorld(const TArray<FString>& Args);

In ObjectHandler.cpp, we define this member function:

FExecStatus FObjectCommandHandler::HelloWorld(const TArray<FString>& Args)
        FString Msg;
        Msg += "Hello World!";
        return FExecStatus::OK(Msg);

Then we need to bind the command with the function:

void FObjectCommandHandler::RegisterCommands()

        Cmd = FDispatcherDelegate::CreateRaw(this, &FObjectCommandHandler::HelloWorld);
        Help = "Print Hello World";
        CommandDispatcher->BindCommand(TEXT("vget /object/helloworld"), Cmd, Help);


After the modification, we can compile and use the new command.

Here we will walk you through how to implement a command vset /object/[id]/rotation to enable you set the rotation of an object.

FExecStatus return the exec result of this command. The result will be returned as a text string.

Available variables for a command are GetWorld(), GetActor(), , GetLevel().

A new function will be implemented in a CommandHandler. CommandDispatcher will use CommandHandler.