Screen Debug Message macros for Unreal Engine

For all my Unreal projects, I insert a small header containing debugging utility, especially for printing on screen.

Code

First, I defined a bunch of macros to print debug messages on screen. The code is based on Logs, Printing Messages To Yourself During Runtime and uses AddOnScreenDebugMessage

	#pragma once

	#include "EngineGlobals.h"
	#include "Engine/Engine.h"

	#define print(text)							if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::White, TEXT(text), false)
	#define printc(channel, text)				if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::White, TEXT(text))
	#define printf(format, ...)					if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::White, FString::Printf(TEXT(format), ##__VA_ARGS__), false)
	#define printcf(channel, format, ...)		if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::White, FString::Printf(TEXT(format), ##__VA_ARGS__))

	#define printwarn(text)						if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::Yellow, TEXT(text), false)
	#define printcwarn(channel, text)			if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::Yellow, TEXT(text))
	#define printfwarn(format, ...)				if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::Yellow, FString::Printf(TEXT(format), ##__VA_ARGS__), false)
	#define printcfwarn(channel, format, ...)	if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::Yellow, FString::Printf(TEXT(format), ##__VA_ARGS__))

	#define printerr(text)						if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::Red, TEXT(text), false)
	#define printcerr(channel, text)			if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::Red, TEXT(text))
	#define printferr(format, ...)				if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::Red, FString::Printf(TEXT(format), ##__VA_ARGS__), false)
	#define printcferr(channel, format, ...)	if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::Red, FString::Printf(TEXT(format), ##__VA_ARGS__))

	#define printfloat(variable)				if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::Cyan, FString::Printf(TEXT(#variable ": %f"), variable), false)
	#define printcfloat(channel, variable)		if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::Cyan, FString::Printf(TEXT(#variable ": %f"), variable))

	#define printvector(variable)				if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(-1, 1.5f, FColor::Green, FString::Printf(TEXT(#variable ": %s"), *variable.ToCompactString()), false)
	#define printcvector(channel, variable)		if (GEngine) GEngine->AddOnScreenDebugMessage(channel, 1.5f, FColor::Green, FString::Printf(TEXT(#variable ": %s"), *variable.ToCompactString()))

There are multiple versions for each define because I wanted to support channels and string formats.

A message printed on a channel will override any previous message on the same channel, whereas a message not printed on a channel (-1) will always be printed as a new message.

String formats are very convenient for debugging, just remember to pass *TCHAR arguments to Printf by calling the operator* on the FString you want to display (variadic arguments, a float or a vector converted to a string). Note that I use FVector::ToCompactString() instead of ToString() to display 2 decimals instead of 3, but your mileage may vary.

#variable allows me to print the name of the variable or expression in front of its value. The fallback is that you shouldn’t type expressions that are too long.

In the other defines, the ## before __VA_ARGS__ will make sure the last comma will be stripped out of Printf arguments if no argument is passed along a format, although it is not required when using variadic macros in C++  (see Variadic Macros). Since the format version of each method (printf, printcf, printfwarn, etc.) supports 0 extra arguments, you may get rid of the non-format versions (print, printc, printwarn, etc.) and rely entirely on the format versions.

I also pass false as the 5th parameter of AddOnScreenDebugMessage, bNewerOnTop, so that new messages are printed toward the bottom of the screen. Again, you may prefer the opposite option (in this case, don’t pass a 5th argument at all, since the default is true).

Demo

UE4 Screen Debug - Actor location

Actor location debug message is continuously updated

UE4 Screen Debug - Switched view to first person

Debug messages after switching view to first person

UE4 Screen Debug - Switched view to third person

Debug messages after switching view to third person

Further

I am still prototyping my new game, but when I enter production I will probably want to strip out the debugging calls of my non-dev builds. I will probably add conditional macros such as

	#if UE_BUILD_DEBUG
		// defines here
		// ...
	#else
		// empty defines here
		#define print(text)
		// ...
	#endif

Also check out Rama’s post to prepend the function name and line to the message.

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