BoxOccluder3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to this comprehensive tutorial on utilizing the BoxOccluder3D class in Godot 4. If you’ve ever wondered how to refine your game’s performance by smartly handling what is rendered on the screen, this tutorial is for you! We’ll dive into the world of occlusion culling, a technique that involves determining which objects are not visible from a current viewpoint and thus do not need to be rendered. By mastering this, you’ll ensure your games run smoothly and look great. Stay tuned as we unravel one of Godot’s robust performance optimization tools that will transform the way you create your game worlds.

What is BoxOccluder3D?

The BoxOccluder3D class in Godot 4 is a pivotal resource within the engine’s occlusion culling system. It is a cuboid shape that helps in optimizing your game by telling the rendering engine which parts of your scene can be skipped over because they are not in the camera’s view.

What is BoxOccluder3D Used For?

In detail, BoxOccluder3D stores information about 3D space that is not currently visible to the player, effectively hiding or ‘occluding’ unnecessary details. As a result, it can drastically improve rendering performance, especially in complex scenes with many objects.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding and implementing BoxOccluder3D can significantly impact the effectiveness and efficiency of your game development process. Learning about occlusion culling with BoxOccluder3D allows you to:

– Improve your game’s performance by reducing the workload on the graphics processor.
– Increase the complexity of your scenes without sacrificing frame rate.
– Gain valuable insights into an often-overlooked aspect of game optimization.

By the end of this tutorial, you will have a solid grasp of how to use BoxOccluder3D to elevate your Godot projects. Let’s enhance your Godot expertise and take your game development skills to the next level!

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Creating and Placing a BoxOccluder3D in Godot

Firstly, let’s begin by adding a BoxOccluder3D node to our scene. This step is fundamental in setting up occlusion culling for our game. Here’s how you can do it:

var occluder = BoxOccluder3D.new()
occluder.bounds = AABB(Vector3(0, 0, 0), Vector3(10, 10, 10)) 
# This sets the bounding box of the occluder, where it starts at the origin and extends 10 units in all directions.
get_tree().get_root().add_child(occluder) 
# This adds the occluder to the root of the scene tree.

Now that we have our BoxOccluder3D node in place, it’s essential to correctly position it within our scene to make effective use of occlusion culling. Position it around objects that are likely to obscure other objects from the camera’s viewpoint.

Adjusting the Occluder’s Parameters

After adding the BoxOccluder3D to our scene, we might need to adjust its parameters based on the size and complexity of the obstructions. For example, if we’re using a large building to occlude objects behind it, we’ll need to scale the occluder accordingly:

occluder.scale = Vector3(5, 3, 2)
# This scales the occluder to be 5 times wider, 3 times taller, and 2 times deeper.

Remember, precise adjustment of the occluder’s properties ensures effective occlusion and optimizes performance.

Testing Occlusion with Static and Dynamic Objects

To verify that the BoxOccluder3D is working as expected, we’ll need objects that can be occluded. Let’s create some static and dynamic objects in the scene and observe how they interact with our occluder:

// For static objects:
var static_body = StaticBody3D.new()
get_tree().get_root().add_child(static_body)
# This adds a new StaticBody3D directly to the root of the scene tree for testing purposes.

// For dynamic objects:
var rigid_body = RigidBody3D.new()
get_tree().get_root().add_child(rigid_body)
# Similarly, this adds a new RigidBody3D to the root of the scene tree.

With these bodies in place, run your scene and move your camera around. Objects should become ‘invisible’ to the rendering engine when they are fully occluded by the BoxOccluder3D.

Optimizing the Scene with Multiple Occluders

In more complex scenes, a single BoxOccluder3D may not be enough. Here, we will add multiple occluders to represent different occluding structures:

var occluder1 = BoxOccluder3D.new()
var occluder2 = BoxOccluder3D.new()

occluder1.bounds = AABB(Vector3(0, 0, 0), Vector3(5, 10, 5))
occluder2.bounds = AABB(Vector3(10, 0, 0), Vector3(15, 10, 5))

get_tree().get_root().add_child(occluder1)
get_tree().get_root().add_child(occluder2)

These code snippets produce two occluders with different sizes and positions that can handle diverse obstructions in a scene.

Stay tuned for the next part of this tutorial, where we’ll delve into more advanced usage and common pitfalls to avoid while mastering the BoxOccluder3D in Godot 4. Let’s continue to harness the power of occlusion culling to create high-performance, visually stunning games!Continuing with our exploration of occlusion culling using BoxOccluder3D in Godot 4, we encounter scenarios where occluders must work cooperatively within the scene. Let’s look into combining occluders and testing their collective impact on rendering.

To simulate a scene with multiple buildings that occlude various objects, we need to ensure that each BoxOccluder3D is strategically placed. For clarity in our code examples, let’s assume we’re working with a simple cityscape.

// Creating occluders for multiple buildings
var building1Occluder = BoxOccluder3D.new()
building1Occluder.bounds = AABB(Vector3(0, 0, 0), Vector3(6, 15, 6))

var building2Occluder = BoxOccluder3D.new()
building2Occluder.bounds = AABB(Vector3(8, 0, 0), Vector3(4, 12, 4))

var building3Occluder = BoxOccluder3D.new()
building3Occluder.bounds = AABB(Vector3(15, 0, 0), Vector3(5, 20, 5))

// Add the occluders as children to an appropriate parent node
var parentNode = Spatial.new()
parentNode.add_child(building1Occluder)
parentNode.add_child(building2Occluder)
parentNode.add_child(building3Occluder)
get_tree().get_root().add_child(parentNode)

With the occluders added, remember to check and adjust their orientations if the buildings are rotated or have unique shapes:

// Orienting an occluder to match a rotated building
building1Occluder.rotate_x(Math_PI / 4) // Rotating the occluder 45 degrees around the X-Axis

In a dynamic scene where objects or occluders can move, it is vital to update the occluder bounds accordingly:

// Updating occluder bounds for a moving object
func _on_object_moved(new_position):
    building1Occluder.bounds = AABB(new_position, building1Occluder.bounds.size)

Furthermore, a game’s environment might change, necessitating the addition or removal of BoxOccluder3D nodes on the fly:

// Adding an occluder at runtime
var new_occluder = BoxOccluder3D.new()
new_occluder.bounds = AABB(Vector3(20, 0, 0), Vector3(5, 10, 5))
get_tree().get_root().call_deferred("add_child", new_occluder) // Deferred call ensures it's safe to modify the scene tree

// Removing an occluder at runtime
var old_occluder = parentNode.get_node("OccluderToBeRemoved")
parentNode.remove_child(old_occluder)
old_occluder.queue_free() // Queue the old occluder for deletion

Finally, it’s important to periodically review the scene in the Godot Editor to ensure occluders are positioned and sized to maximize the performance benefits they were designed to provide. If your scene contains moving platforms or destructible environments, be sure to update or recalculate occluders as these dynamics evolve.

// Recalculating an occluder for a destructible wall
var destructible_wall_occluder = parentNode.get_node("DestructibleWallOccluder")
if wall_destroyed:
    destructible_wall_occluder.bounds = AABB(Vector3.ZERO, Vector3.ZERO) // Effectively disables the occluder

As we can see, proper management and execution of BoxOccluder3D nodes are crucial components of optimizing 3D scenes in Godot. They serve as a testament to the engine’s commitment to providing developers with the tools necessary to create both vivid and performance-conscious game worlds.

Keep honing your skills with BoxOccluder3D, and you’ll soon be able to tackle even the most resource-demanding scenes with confidence. Embrace the challenge, and let’s create something extraordinary!In this section, we’ll explore some advanced applications of `BoxOccluder3D`. We’ll look at how to dynamically change an occluder based on the in-game time of day, handle occluders for non-axis aligned objects, balance performance considerations, and adjust occluders during the development process.

When building a game with a day-night cycle, shadows and lighting can dramatically change the visibility of objects, which means our occluders will need to adapt:

// Adjusting occluders based on the time of day
func _update_occluders_for_time_of_day(time_of_day):
    if time_of_day == "Night":
        for occluder in get_tree().get_nodes_in_group("DaytimeOccluders"):
            occluder.set_deferred("bounds", AABB(Vector3.ZERO, Vector3.ZERO))  // Disable daytime occluders at night
    elif time_of_day == "Day":
        for occluder in get_tree().get_nodes_in_group("DaytimeOccluders"):
            occluder.set_deferred("bounds", occluder.original_bounds)  // Restore original bounds for daytime occluders

This adjustment means during the night, different occlusion rules may apply. This can be particularly useful if the night introduces new gameplay elements, such as night-vision or stealth features, where visibility is a critical factor.

In cases where objects aren’t aligned with the world axes, we might need our occluders to match these orientations, which requires us to transform the occluders accordingly:

// Aligning an occluder with a non-axis aligned object
var slanted_object_occluder = BoxOccluder3D.new()
var object_transform = slanted_object.global_transform
slanted_object_occluder.global_transform = object_transform

This code snippet ensures our occluder matches the global transform of a slanted object, allowing for correct occlusion despite the object’s odd angle.

Performance considerations are also important when using occluders. Godot allows you to toggle occlusion culling during runtime, which is useful for conducting performance tests:

// Toggling occlusion culling on the fly
func _on_toggle_occlusion_pressed():
    var environment = get_tree().get_root().get_node("WorldEnvironment")
    environment.environment.occlusion_culling_enabled = !environment.environment.occlusion_culling_enabled

By enabling and disabling occlusion culling, developers can monitor the impact it has on performance.

As your game develops, you may find that certain occluders need adjusting as your levels change. Here is how you can programmatically adjust an occluder based on gameplay events or during development:

// Adjusting occluder bounds during gameplay or development
func _adjust_occluder_size(occluder, new_bounds):
    occluder.bounds = new_bounds
    
// Example usage: You may call this function when a building is constructed or demolished in your game.

And finally, removing unnecessary occluders is as important as adding new ones when optimizing performance in a large-scale game world:

// Removing an outdated occluder
func _remove_outdated_occluder(occluder_name):
    var occluder = get_tree().get_root().find_node(occluder_name, true, false)
    if occluder:
        occluder.queue_free()

In conclusion, `BoxOccluder3D` offers a robust set of features for optimizing your game, but it requires careful management. You must continuously evaluate and adjust occluders to suit the evolving conditions of your game world. Incremental testing, diligent planning, and a mastery of the node’s properties are key to proficiently utilizing occluders to enhance game performance.

Remember, the power of optimization is at your fingertips with `BoxOccluder3D` and Godot 4. With these advanced techniques, you’re well on your way to creating a game that not only impresses with its visuals but runs efficiently even in the most demanding scenarios. Keep pushing the boundaries and happy coding!

Continuing Your Godot Journey

You’ve learned about the BoxOccluder3D and how it can optimize your Godot scenes, but this is just the beginning. The path to mastering Godot 4 is an ever-evolving journey, and we are here to help you level up your game development skills. If you’re eager to build on what you’ve learned and create your very own games, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree offers a powerful launchpad into the world of game creation with Godot.

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Conclusion

By embracing the power of BoxOccluder3D in Godot 4, you’re not just enhancing your game’s performance—you’re also unlocking a deeper understanding of what it takes to build sophisticated and immersive gaming experiences. Remember, every step you take on this learning journey equips you with the skills to bring your most ambitious game ideas to life. We hope this tutorial has sparked a curiosity that leads to experimentation, refinement, and triumph in your game development endeavors.

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