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# Creating Projects on Windows

Use the instructions in this tutorial to create an O3DE project for the Windows host platform. You can create project directories either in the same directory as the O3DE root directory or outside of this directory. This documentation refers to the latter as “external projects”.

## Prerequisites

The following instructions assume that you have:

## Create a new O3DE project

To start a project based on the standard template, complete the following steps.

1. Open a command line window and change to your O3DE engine directory by doing one of the following:

• If you set up your engine as a source engine, use the engine source directory. Example:

cd C:\o3de

• If you installed O3DE or built your engine as an SDK engine using the INSTALL target, use the installed engine directory. Example:

cd C:\o3de-install

2. To create a new project, use the o3de script in the scripts subdirectory with the create-project command. Supply an absolute or relative path to the directory where you want to create your new project using the --project-path argument. The last component of the path will become the project name, unless you override it with the --project-name argument. The script will create a new project using the standard template (the default project template). Example:

scripts\o3de.bat create-project --project-path %USERPROFILE%\O3DE\Projects\MyProject


When creating a project, this command also makes two important registrations:

• It associates your project with an engine by registering the engine in the project’s project.json manifest, using the engine’s registered name. You can find this manifest in the project’s root directory. The registration for an engine named “o3de” looks like the following example:

"engine": "o3de",

Note:
If you change the engine’s registered name, or wish to use a different engine with the project, you will need to update this manifest entry.
• It registers the project in the O3DE manifest, adding it to the list of known projects, and making Project Manager aware of your project. The O3DE manifest is located in <USER_DIRECTORY>/.o3de/o3de_manifest.json. The registration for a project located in C:\Users\MyUsername\O3DE\Projects\MyProject looks like the following example:

"projects": [
],

Note:
If you move the project, you will need to update this manifest entry.

## Create a Visual Studio project

Use CMake to create the Visual Studio project for your O3DE project.

1. Create the Visual Studio project in your new project directory. Supply the build directory, the project source directory, the Visual Studio generator, and any other project options. Paths can be absolute or relative. Example:

cd %USERPROFILE%\O3DE\Projects\MyProject
cmake -B build/windows -S . -G "Visual Studio 16"

Note:
Use Visual Studio 16 as the generator for Visual Studio 2019, and Visual Studio 17 for Visual Studio 2022. For a complete list of common generators for each supported platform, refer to Configuring projects in the User Guide.
Note:

CMake uses the downloadable packages directory that is defined in your O3DE manifest with default_third_party_folder. You can specify a different directory to use by including the -DLY_3RDPARTY_PATH argument. For example, if you created the package directory in C:\o3de-packages, include the argument -DLY_3RDPARTY_PATH=C:\o3de-packages.

Do not use trailing slashes when specifying the path to the packages directory.

Note:
CMake unity builds are on by default. This is a CMake feature that can greatly improve build times by merging source files into single compilation units. If you encounter a build error, disabling unity builds might help debug the problem. To disable unity builds, run the previous cmake command with the -DLY_UNITY_BUILD=OFF argument to regenerate your project files.

## Build the O3DE project

Use CMake to build the Visual Studio project in the build directory of your O3DE project.

1. Build the project launcher using the solution that you created in the project’s build/windows directory. The following example shows the profile build configuration.

cmake --build build/windows --target MyProject.GameLauncher Editor --config profile -- -m

Important:
When building the project for a pre-built SDK engine, even though you aren’t building O3DE Editor, we still highly recommend including Editor as a build target. While the GameLauncher doesn’t depend on the Editor target, some Gems do. If you leave off the Editor target, those Gems aren’t included in the build.

When building the project for a source engine, you build the Asset Processor and Project Manager too, since they are dependencies of O3DE Editor.

The -m is a recommended build tool optimization. It tells the Microsoft compiler (MSVC) to use multiple threads during compilation to speed up build times.

2. When the build is complete, you can find the project binaries in the project directory under build/windows/bin/profile. To verify that the project is ready to use, run O3DE Editor by doing one of the following:

• If you set up your engine as a source engine, run the Editor from the project build directory.

build\windows\bin\profile\Editor.exe

Note:
If your project build directory is outside the project path, you must include the project path (using the --project-path parameter) when launching O3DE Editor.
• If you installed O3DE or built your engine as an SDK engine using the INSTALL target, run the Editor from the installed engine’s build directory. (If you don’t supply the project path, Project Manager launches instead.) The project path can be absolute or relative to the engine directory.

C:\o3de-install\bin\Windows\profile\Default\Editor.exe --project-path %USERPROFILE%\O3DE\Projects\MyProject

Important:
If you built the engine from source using the INSTALL target, make sure that you launch the Editor and other tools from the installed engine’s build directory, not the engine’s build directory. The Windows install directory typically ends in /bin/Windows/profile/Default.

You can also run Project Manager (o3de.exe) from the same directory to edit your project’s settings, add or remove Gems from the project, rebuild your project, and launch the Editor.

Caution:
When you launch the Editor, the Asset Processor from the same directory will also launch. To launch the Editor from a different directory, you must close any Asset Processor tasks that are running.

For more information about project configuration and building, refer to the Project Configuration and Build sections of the User Guide.