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Creating your First Project in Defold

One nice major change from the earlier version of Defold is you can now create your project locally, instead of having it run on Defold’s servers. When you first launch Defold, you will be brought to the Defold project manager. Once loaded, select the New Project tab:

Defold Project Manager

Next select Desktop game, at the bottom, name your project and pick a proper location for it, then click Create New Project.

Voila, you’ve created your first Defold project. The primary Defold user interface will now be loaded with your empty project.

Defold Editor Screenshot

Actually, that’s about it, that’s all you need to do to create a project in Defold. Before ending this section, let’s quickly look at configuring your newly created project. Notice the file game.project in the assets panel? Double click to open that file. This will open up a special editor in the Editor window where you can configure key properties of your project.

Defold Project Configuration Editor

Notice at the top of the screen, that the Editor view is tabbed? You can edit multiple files of different kinds at the same time. We will get back to that in a second. Note first some of the key properties you can set in game.project, such as the title and version of your game and what the “main” collection is (more on this later). If you scroll down a bit you will notice sections for setting the resolution and graphics details, configure physics engine properties and more. We will revisit the project settings a bit later when we change the Main collection and again when we configure an add-on. For now, just realize that this is where you set the global level properties of your project.

There are often multiple ways you can edit a single file. When we double clicked the game.project file, it automatically opened up using the default viewer. If you right-click the file, however, you will notice you have other options for how it is opened:

Open game.project as text

game.project is actually just a text configuration file, Defold just happens to present a handy editor for reading these kinds of files. You will notice when you open it as text, it opens in a different straight text editor in the view window:

project opened as text

Note the tabs at the top, that both views of the same file can be open at the same time. A tab will remain open until it is manually closed. You can close a tab by clicking the X icon to it’s right. You can also manage multiple tabs by right-clicking and selecting the appropriate item from the menu.

See the option “Move to Other Tab Pane”? Initially, this doesn’t make a lot of sense since there isn’t another tab pane! Clicking it, however, will create a split screen view of the Editor view, or if already split, will move this tab to the other side.

Split tab view in defold editor

Ok, we’ve got a project and we’ve had a bit of a tour of the editor… let’s get our game on now.

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