Input Preprocessor


All input in Gameface goes through a fairly complicated process. It consists of rules and algorithms that propagate input forwarding through multiple Views, calculate coordinates and keep track of user focus, among other things. Although Gameface comes with many out-of-the-box settings or delegates that let you control how user input is handled, it’s impossible for the settings to cover all possible use-cases.

The Input Preprocessor feature gives you absolute control over all facets of the input, by putting every part of the implementation in your hands to extend or override, at the cost of having a fairly complicated initial setup process and maintenance. It is basically a way for you to write your Gameface input handling from scratch, using the Unreal Engine IInputProcessor interface, with example code provided to start you off.

The IInputProcessor implementation you receive when you activate the feature contains an outline of the processing needed to handle input in Gameface, which tries to resemble the current Gameface input behavior as closely as possible. You are required to “finish” the implementation, providing any and all details or unspecified behaviors, so that they match your desired functionality.

General setup

Here are the steps to set up the Input Preprocessor:

  • Remove any spawning of the SCohtmlInputForward Widget, whether from Blueprints, or C++. Its job will be taken over by the Input Preprocessor.
  • Read over the provided IInputProcessor C++ implementation and provide, or override any relevant parts, as outlined here.
  • Activate the Input Preprocessor from the Gameface settings.
  • Verify all functionalities listed in the following chapter thoroughly.

Implementing and Overriding the Input Preprocessor

Firstly, you need to decide if your game will be using a HUD/Component setup, a UMG one, or both. The HUD/Component setup is the one activated by default in the Input Preprocessor.

If you want to do some special handling for UMG input, set the bPropagateInputToUMG variable to true and then extend the relevant UMG methods as you see fit. Using both UMG and a HUD/Component setup is not defined behavior for Gameface. If you want to use such a setup, you should define and implement the particulars of how, and in what order input will be propagated yourself.

Other than that, here are the main things you would need to implement for the needs of your game:

  • How does your Input Preprocessor detect/process KeyChar events
    • They are usually received directly from the engine, but the KeyChar event callback is missing from the IInputProcessor provided by Unreal Engine.
  • FocusReceived/FocusLost mechanics
    • These are usually handled by the engine. They come with a pre-implemented crude setup that calls focus events manually, based on when Gameface Views switch focus.
  • When UI input is handled at all
    • In a normal setup you can turn off any UI input processing by defocusing the InputForwardWidget, for example. To achieve a similar result, you would need to implement the ShouldHandleInput method.
  • When is input discarded
    • In Unreal Engine the input is received on a per-object basis when the object is interacted with. However, all engine input goes through the IInputProcessor, so you would need to weed out the relevant UI events and discard all others.
  • How does the Input Preprocessor receive data about the world
    • Most input depends on the Game world, Player, PlayerController and GameViewportClient. The provided implementation fetches the data in a crude way, for example just taking the first local Player Controller. If you want to extend or customize that, override the GetWorldData method.

After implementing the points above, you can also check the various sub-features present in Gameface, such as whether or not the Gamepad will keep the state of pressed buttons when unfocused, will raycasting reach further objects than the first encountered, etc.

You can look at the Gameface settings, or the Gameface HUD/Component/UMG Blueprint-exposed parameters for ideas on sub-features that you can further implement if you will be using the Input Preprocessor.

After getting the Input Preprocessor up and running, here are some of the behaviors you can override:

  • How and in what order does Gameface finds Views inside HUDs/Components in your game.
  • How does Gameface raycast in the game world to find Views.
  • How are mouse events and their coordinates processed before being sent to every View.
  • How do we keep track of the currently focused component in order to send keyboard/gamepad events to them.