Crate cvars

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Configuration variables .rs
A simple and ergonomic way to store and edit runtime configuration in your program

TL;DR: Cvars allow you to access struct fields based on their name as a string.

This is useful for app configuration, especially in games - gamedevs, modders and players access cvars dynamically using a TUI while your gamecode accesses them statically as struct fields.

The cvars crate contains proc macros to generate:

  • setter and getter methods directly on your config struct
  • an impl of SetGet for your config struct so it can use dynamic dispatch

In-game consoles are in separate crates - pick one based on your game engine:


use cvars::cvars;

// This generates a Cvars struct containing all your config options
// and a corresponding Default impl.
cvars! {
    g_rocket_launcher_ammo_max: i32 = 20,
    g_rocket_launcher_damage: f32 = 100.0,

// Store this in your game state.
let mut cvars = Cvars::default();

// These normally come from the user
// (from stdin / your game's console / etc.)
let cvar_name = "g_rocket_launcher_damage";
let new_value = "150";

// This looks up the right field and sets it to the new value.
cvars.set_str(cvar_name, new_value).unwrap();

A player/modder/gamedev wants rockets to do more damage. He types g_rocket_launcher_damage 150 into the game’s console or stdin. The code gets both the cvar name and new value as strings so you can’t write cvars.g_rocket_launcher_damage = 150. You need to look up the correct field based on the string - this is what cvars does - it generates set_str (and some other useful methods). You call cvars.set_str("g_rocket_launcher_damage", "150"); which looks up the right field, parses the value into its type and updates the field with it. From then on, rockets do 150 damage.

The important thing is that in the rest of your application, you can still access your cvars as regular struct fields - e.g. -= cvars.g_rocket_launcher_damage;. This means you only need to use strings when the user (player or developer when debugging or testing a different balance) is changing the values. The rest of your gamelogic is still statically typed and using a cvar in gamecode is just a field access without any overhead.

A typical game will have hundreds or thousands of tunable parameters. With cvars and a console you can keep them all configurable for advanced players, modders and your-gamedev-self without having a build an elaborate settings menu. You can keep everything configurable using a TUI while also exposing common settings to normal players in your game’s GUI.

See cvars/examples/ for a small runnable example.

For real-world examples, look at games using cvars:

What it generates

  • A struct containing all your cvars
  • A Default impl with the specified default values
  • Methods to set and get cvars by name
  • Some utility methods

The most important methods have these signatures (same as on the SetGet trait):

impl Cvars {
    /// Finds the cvar whose name matches `cvar_name` and returns its value as a `String`.
    /// Returns `Err` if the cvar doesn't exist.
    pub fn get_string(&self, cvar_name: &str) -> Result<String, String>

    /// Finds the cvar whose name matches `cvar_name`, tries to parse `str_value` to its type and sets it to the parsed value.
    /// Returns `Err` if the cvar doesn't exist or if `str_value` fails to parse to its type.
    pub fn set_str(&mut self, cvar_name: &str, str_value: &str) -> Result<(), String>


Cvar values can have any type which implements the FromStr and Display traits. If you want to use enums, it’s best to derive these traits automatically via strum.

use strum_macros::{Display, EnumString};

use cvars::cvars;

cvars! {
    cl_splitscreen: Splitscreen = Splitscreen::Vertical,

#[derive(Debug, Clone, Copy, PartialEq, Eq, Display, EnumString)]
pub enum Splitscreen {

Tip: use #[strum(ascii_case_insensitive)] so players don’t need to pay attention to capilatization when changing cvars - both "Vertical" and "vertical" will parse into Splitscreen::Vertical.


  • Skipping fields - If a field is not meant to be configurable, mark it with #[cvars(skip)].

  • Checking cvars are sorted - To make the macro panic if it detects that the cvars are not sorted, use the #[cvars(sorted)] attribute on the struct. Note if you’re using the cvars macro instead of deriving SetGet, you have to use it as an an inner attribute.

See the README for more information about the cvars family of crates and for comparison with alternatives such as inline_tweak.


  • Generate the Cvars struct and its impls. Each cvar and its default value is defined on one line. This is the recommended way of using this crate.


  • A trait for writing generic code that can access cvars but doesn’t know the concrete Cvars struct.

Derive Macros

  • Generate setters and getters that take cvar names as string. This does the same thing as cvars! but you can use it on an existing struct.