Contributing to Evennia Docs


This system is still WIP and many things are bound to change!

Contributing to the docs is is like contributing to the rest of Evennia: Check out the branch of Evennia you want to edit the documentation for. Create your own work-branch, make your changes to files in evennia/docs/source/ and make a PR for it!

The documentation source files are *.md (Markdown) files found in evennia/docs/source/. Markdown files are simple text files that can be edited with a normal text editor. They can also contain raw HTML directives (but that is very rarely needed). They use the Markdown syntax with MyST extensions.


You do not need to be able to test/build the docs locally to contribute a documentation PR. We’ll resolve any issues when we merge and build documentation. If you still want to build the docs for yourself, instructions are at the end of this document.

Source file structure

The sources are organized into several rough categories, with only a few administrative documents at the root of evennia/docs/source/. The folders are named in singular form since they will primarily be accessed as link refs (e.g. Component/Accounts)

  • source/Components/ are docs describing separate Evennia building blocks, that is, things that you can import and use. This extends and elaborates on what can be found out by reading the api docs themselves. Example are documentation for Accounts, Objects and Commands.

  • source/Concepts/ describes how larger-scale features of Evennia hang together - things that can’t easily be broken down into one isolated component. This can be general descriptions of how Models and Typeclasses interact to the path a message takes from the client to the server and back.

  • source/Setup/ holds detailed docs on installing, running and maintaining the Evennia server and the infrastructure around it.

  • source/Coding/ has help on how to interact with, use and navigate the Evennia codebase itself. This also has non-Evennia-specific help on general development concepts and how to set up a sane development environment.

  • source/Contribs/ holds documentation specifically for packages in the evennia/contribs/ folder. Any contrib-specific tutorials will be found here instead of in Howtos

  • source/Howtos/ holds docs that describe how to achieve a specific goal, effect or result in Evennia. This is often on a tutorial or FAQ form and will refer to the rest of the documentation for further reading.

    • source/Howtos/Starting/ holds all documents part of the initial tutorial sequence.

Other files and folders:

  • source/api/ contains the auto-generated API documentation as .rst files. Don’t edit these files manually, your changes will be lost. To refer to these files, use api: followed by the Python path, for example [rpsystem contrib](evennia.contrib.rpsystem).

  • source/_templates and source/_static should not be modified unless adding a new doc-page feature or changing the look of the HTML documentation.

  • holds the Sphinx configuration. It should usually not be modified except to update the Evennia version on a new branch.

Editing syntax

The format used for Evennia’s docs is Markdown (Commonmark). While markdown supports a few alternative forms for some of these, we try to stick to the below forms for consistency.


We generally use underscores for italics and double-asterisks for bold:

  • _Italic text_ - Italic text

  • **Bold Text** - Bold text


We use # to indicate sections/headings. The more # the more of a sub-heading it is (will get smaller and smaller font).

  • # Heading

  • ## SubHeading

  • ### SubSubHeading

  • #### SubSubSubHeading

Don’t use the same heading/subheading name more than once in one page. While Markdown does not prevent it, it will make it impossible to refer to that heading uniquely. The Evennia documentation preparser will detect this and give you an error.


One can create both bullet-point lists and numbered lists:

- first bulletpoint
- second bulletpoint
- third bulletpoint
  • first bulletpoint

  • second bulletpoint

  • third bulletpoint

1. Numbered point one
2. Numbered point two
3. Numbered point three
  1. Numbered point one

  2. Numbered point two

  3. Numbered point three


A blockquote will create an indented block. It’s useful for emphasis and is added by starting one or more lines with >. For ‘notes’ you can also use an explicit Note.

> This is an important
> thing to remember.

Note: This is an important thing to remember.


A table is done like this:

| heading1 | heading2 | heading3 |
| --- | --- | --- | 
| value1 | value2 | value3 |
|  | value 4 | |
| value 5 | value 6 | |







value 4

value 5

value 6

As seen, the Markdown syntax can be pretty sloppy (columns don’t need to line up) as long as you include the heading separators and make sure to add the correct number of | on every line.

Verbatim text

It’s common to want to mark something to be displayed verbatim - just as written - without any Markdown parsing. In running text, this is done using backticks (`), like `verbatim text` becomes verbatim text.

If you want to put the verbatim text on its own line, you can do so easily by simply indenting it 4 spaces (add empty lines on each side for readability too):

This is normal text

    This is verbatim text

This is normal text

Another way is to use triple-backticks:

Everything within these backticks will be verbatim.


Code blocks

A special ‘verbatim’ case is code examples - we want them to get code-highlighting for readability. This is done by using the triple-backticks and specify which language we use:

from evennia import Command
class CmdEcho(Command):
    Usage: echo <arg>
    key = "echo"
    def func(self):
from evennia import Command
class CmdEcho(Command):
  Usage: echo <arg>
  key = "echo"
  def func(self):

MyST directives

Markdown is easy to read and use. But while it does most of what we need, there are some things it’s not quite as expressive as it needs to be. For this we use extended MyST syntax. This is on the form

```{directive} any_options_here




This kind of note may pop more than doing a > Note: ....


This is some noteworthy content that stretches over more than one line to show how the content indents.
Also the important/warning notes indents like this.



This is some noteworthy content that stretches over more than one line to show how the content indents. Also the important/warning notes indents like this.


This is for particularly important and visible notes.

  This is important because it is!


This is important because it is!


A warning block is used to draw attention to particularly dangerous things, or features easy to mess up.

  Be careful about this ...


Be careful about this …

Version changes and deprecations

These will show up as one-line warnings that suggest an added, changed or deprecated feature beginning with particular version.

```{versionadded} 1.0

New in version 1.0.

```{versionchanged} 1.0
  How the feature changed with this version.

Changed in version 1.0: How the feature changed with this version.

```{deprecated} 1.0

Deprecated since version 1.0.

A more flexible code block

The regular Markdown Python codeblock is usually enough but for more direct control over the style, one can also use the {code-block} directive that takes a set of additional :options::

```{code-block} python
:emphasize-lines: 1-2,8
:caption: An example code block
:name: A full code block example

from evennia import Command
class CmdEcho(Command):
    Usage: echo <arg>
    key = "echo"
    def func(self):
An example code block
from evennia import Command
class CmdEcho(Command):
    Usage: echo <arg>
    key = "echo"
    def func(self):

Here, :linenos: turns on line-numbers and :emphasize-lines: allows for emphasizing certain lines in a different color. The :caption: shows an instructive text and :name: is used to reference this block through the link that will appear (so it should be unique for a given document).

eval-rst directive

As a last resort, we can also fall back to writing ReST directives directly:


    This will be evaluated as ReST.
    All content must be indented.


Within a ReST block, one must use Restructured Text syntax, which is not the same as Markdown.

  • Single backticks around text makes it italic.

  • Double backticks around text makes it verbatim.

  • A link is written within back-ticks, with an underscore at the end:

    `python <>`_

Here is a ReST formatting cheat sheet.

Code docstrings

The source code docstrings will be parsed as Markdown. When writing a module docstring, you can use Markdown formatting, including header levels down to 4th level (#### SubSubSubHeader). After the module documentation it’s a good idea to end with four dashes ----. This will create a visible line between the documentation and the class/function docs to follow.

All non-private classes, methods and functions must have a Google-style docstring, as per the [Evennia coding style guidelines][github:evennia/]. This will then be correctly formatted into pretty api docs.


Evennia leverages Sphinx with the MyST extension, which allows us to write our docs in light-weight Markdown (more specifically CommonMark, like on github) rather than Sphinx’ normal ReST syntax. The MyST parser allows for some extra syntax to make us able to express more complex displays than plain Markdown can.

For autodoc-generation generation, we use the sphinx-napoleon extension to understand our friendly Google-style docstrings used in classes and functions etc.

Building the docs locally

The sources in evennia/docs/source/ are built into a documentation using the Sphinx static generator system. To do this locally you need to use a system with make (Linux/Unix/Mac or Windows-WSL). Lacking that, you could in principle also run the sphinx build-commands manually - read the evennia/docs/Makefile to see which commands are run by the make-commands referred to in this document.

You don’t necessarily have to build the docs locally to contribute. Markdown is not hard and is very readable on its raw text-form.

You can furthermore get a good feel for how things will look using a Markdown-viewer like Grip. Editors like ReText or IDE’s like PyCharm also have native Markdown previews. Building the docs locally is however the only way to make sure the outcome is exactly as you expect. The process will also find any mistakes you made, like making a typo in a link.

Building only the main documentation

This is the fastest way to compile and view your changes. It will only build the main documentation pages and not the API auto-docs or versions. All is done in your terminal/console.

  • (Optional, but recommended): Activate a virtualenv with Python 3.7.

  • cd to into the evennia/docs folder.

  • Install the documentation-build requirements:

    make install
    pip install -r requirements.txt
  • Next, build the html-based documentation (re-run this in the future to build your changes):

    make quick
  • Note any errors from files you have edited.

  • The html-based documentation will appear in the new folder evennia/docs/build/html/.

  • Use a web browser to open file://<path-to-folder>/evennia/docs/build/html/index.html and view the docs. Note that you will get errors if clicking a link to the auto-docs, because you didn’t build them!

Building the main documentation and API docs

The full documentation includes both the doc pages and the API documentation generated from the Evennia source. For this you must install Evennia and initialize a new game with a default database (you don’t need to have any server running)

  • It’s recommended that you use a virtualenv. Install your cloned version of Evennia into by pointing to the repo folder (the one containing /docs):

    pip install -e evennia
  • Make sure you are in the parent folder containing your evennia/ repo (so two levels up from evennia/docs/).

  • Create a new game folder called exactly gamedir at the same level as your evennia repo with

    evennia --init gamedir
  • Then cd into it and create a new, empty database. You don’t need to start the game or do any further changes after this.

    evennia migrate
  • This is how the structure should look at this point:

      ----- evennia/  (the top-level folder, containing docs/)
      ----- gamedir/

(If you are already working on a game, you may of course have your ‘real’ game folder there as well. We won’t touch that.)

  • Go to evennia/docs/ and install the doc-building requirements (you only need to do this once):

    make install
    pip install -r requirements.txt
  • Finally, build the full documentation, including the auto-docs:

    make local
  • The rendered files will appear in a new folder evennia/docs/build/html/. Note any errors from files you have edited.

  • Point your web browser to file://<path-to-folder>/evennia/docs/build/html/index.html to view the full docs.

Building with another gamedir

If you for some reason want to use another location of your gamedir/, or want it named something else (maybe you already use the name ‘gamedir’ for your development …), you can do so by setting the EVGAMEDIR environment variable to the absolute path of your alternative game dir. For example:

EVGAMEDIR=/my/path/to/mygamedir make local

Building for release

The full Evennia documentation contains docs from many Evennia versions, old and new. This is done by pulling documentation from Evennia’s old release branches and building them all so readers can choose which one to view. Only specific official Evennia branches will be built, so you can’t use this to build your own testing branch.

  • All local changes must have been committed to git first, since the versioned docs are built by looking at the git tree.

  • To build for local checking, run (mv stands for “multi-version”):

    make mv-local

This is as close to the ‘real’ version of the docs as you can get locally. The different versions will be found under evennia/docs/build/versions/. During deploy a symlink latest will point to the latest version of the docs.


Releasing the official docs requires git-push access the the Evennia gh-pages branch on github. So there is no risk of you releasing your local changes accidentally.

  • To deploy docs in two steps

    make mv-local
    make deploy
  • If you know what you are doing you can also do build + deploy in one step:

    make release

After deployment finishes, the updated live documentation will be available at