CharacterBody3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our tutorial on harnessing the power of the CharacterBody3D class in Godot 4! In today’s session, we aim to unlock the potential of this foundational class, pivotal for creating dynamic and engaging characters in a 3D setting. This course is crafted to guide both seasoned developers and newcomers through the intricacies of CharacterBody3D, embarking all learners on a journey to mastering user-controlled character motion in Godot Engine. So buckle up as we dive into a world where code meets creativity, and let’s bring your game characters to life!

What is CharacterBody3D?

CharacterBody3D is a class in the Godot Engine specifically tailored for objects that should move according to scripts, instead of mechanics decided by the physics engine. This agile character type interacts with the game’s physics world dynamically – they can affect, but are not affected by, physics directly. Essentially, it’s the backbone for any character movement system you plan to script in your 3D games.

What is it for?

The key purpose of the CharacterBody3D is to provide an accessible, yet comprehensive handling of character movement within a 3D environment. It includes methods like move_and_slide for movement that respects collisions, walls, and slopes, perfect for elaborate player movement scenarios such as:

– A hero navigating through intricate platformer levels.
– A player character scaling craggy terrains.
– An avatar traversing around obstacles and interacting with moving platforms.

Why should I learn it?

Understanding CharacterBody3D is crucial for any game developer wanting to create responsive, physics-aware characters. Whether you are building your first indie title or honing your skills for complex projects, mastering CharacterBody3D allows you to:

– Implement custom and advanced movement logic.
– Tailor character interactions within a 3D space to fit your game’s unique requirements.
– Ensure that your character’s movements are smooth, natural, and immersive.

Delving into CharacterBody3D will arm you with the knowledge to unleash the full potential of Godot’s engine, enhancing the player’s experience through physically believable and satisfying in-game character motion. With that explained, let’s gear up for our first section of coding examples and know-how.

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Setting Up Your CharacterBody3D

Before venturing into the various functions of CharacterBody3D, it’s important to set up your 3D character correctly. You’ll need to add a CharacterBody3D node to your scene, along with a child CollisionShape3D node that defines the physical space your character occupies. Here’s a simple setup:

var character = CharacterBody3D.new()
var collider = CollisionShape3D.new()
collider.shape = BoxShape3D.new() # Or any other shape that fits your character
character.add_child(collider)
add_child(character)

After adding the collision shape, you’ll want to assign a camera to your character. This is essential for a third-person perspective:

var camera = Camera3D.new()
camera.translation = Vector3(0, 2, -5) # Adjust the values for your desired camera position
character.add_child(camera)

Making Your Character Move

One of the fundamental aspects is moving your character in response to player input. Use the Input class to check for pressed keys, and then use move_and_slide to move your character. Here’s an example function that could be called during the _physics_process callback:

func _physics_process(delta):
    var direction = Vector3.ZERO
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_forward'):
        direction.z -= 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_backward'):
        direction.z += 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_left'):
        direction.x -= 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_right'):
        direction.x += 1
    direction = direction.normalized() * move_speed
    character.move_and_slide(direction)

Gravity and Jumping

Characters often need to respond to gravity and have the ability to jump. This adds a level of realism and physical interaction with the world. Here’s how you could implement a simple gravity and jumping mechanism using CharacterBody3D:

var velocity = Vector3.ZERO # The character's velocity
var gravity = -9.8 # The force of gravity
var is_jumping = false

func _physics_process(delta):
    velocity.y += gravity * delta
    if Input.is_action_just_pressed('jump') and not is_jumping:
        velocity.y = jump_strength # Ensure this is a positive value
        is_jumping = true
    if is_on_floor():
        is_jumping = false
    velocity = character.move_and_slide(velocity, Vector3.UP)

Handling Slopes and Stairs

Traversing slopes and stairs is vital for many games and CharacterBody3D provides the is_on_floor method to help with this. You can use the move_and_slide_with_snap method to help the character stick to the ground when moving down slopes or stairs:

var snap_vector = Vector3.DOWN * 0.5 # Adjust the snap distance according to your needs

func _physics_process(delta):
    # Assuming direction is already calculated based on input as per the movement example
    if character.is_on_floor():
        velocity = character.move_and_slide_with_snap(velocity, snap_vector, Vector3.UP)
    else:
        velocity = character.move_and_slide(velocity, Vector3.UP)

Remember to keep experimenting with the values in these examples to fine-tune movement for your specific game’s needs and physics settings. Every game is unique, and learning to tweak the CharacterBody3D’s parameters is integral to achieving the perfect feel for your character’s movement. Let’s move on to the additional fun functionalities that CharacterBody3D offers.

Advanced Movement Features

Once you’ve gotten the hang of basic movement and gravity, you’ll likely want to explore more advanced movement features for your character. Let’s take a look at incorporating sprinting, dodging, and aerial control into your character’s repertoire.

Sprinting can give players a burst of speed for quicker traversal or escaping danger. You can modify the character’s movement speed when the sprint key is held down:

var sprint_multiplier = 2.0

func _physics_process(delta):
    var direction = get_input() # Assuming you have a function that returns the input vector
    if Input.is_action_pressed('sprint'):
        direction *= sprint_multiplier
    velocity = direction * move_speed
    character.move_and_slide(velocity)

Dodging allows a character to quickly move out of harm’s way. Implementing a dodge mechanic often involves a sudden, temporary increase in speed and possibly some invulnerability:

var dodge_speed = 20.0
var dodge_duration = 0.2
var dodging = false

func _start_dodge(direction):
    if direction.length() > 0 and not dodging:
        dodging = true
        velocity += direction.normalized() * dodge_speed
        yield(get_tree().create_timer(dodge_duration), "timeout")
        dodging = false

func _physics_process(delta):
    # Get input and apply gravity, jumping, and regular movement here
    if Input.is_action_just_pressed('dodge'):
        _start_dodge(get_input())
    character.move_and_slide(velocity)

For aerial control, you might want to allow your character to slightly influence their movement while in the air. This could be done by applying a smaller force than on the ground:

var air_control_strength = 0.2

func _physics_process(delta):
    var direction = get_input() # Assuming you have a function that returns the input vector
    if not character.is_on_floor():
        direction *= air_control_strength
    velocity.xz += direction.xz * move_speed
    character.move_and_slide(velocity)

Lastly, a camera-relative movement allows for more intuitive control when playing with a third-person camera. This means the character moves based on the camera’s orientation:

func get_input():
    var direction = Vector3.ZERO
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_forward'):
        direction -= camera.global_transform.basis.z
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_backward'):
        direction += camera.global_transform.basis.z
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_left'):
        direction -= camera.global_transform.basis.x
    if Input.is_action_pressed('move_right'):
        direction += camera.global_transform.basis.x
    return direction.normalized()

func _physics_process(delta):
    var direction = get_input()
    velocity.xz = direction.xz * move_speed
    character.move_and_slide(velocity)

These code snippets show various ways you can extend the capabilities of your character, providing more depth and excitement to the gameplay. Remember, the best part about coding is often experimentation, so don’t be afraid to modify these examples or combine them in new and interesting ways to create unique gameplay mechanics. With these tools in hand, the virtual world is truly your oyster.Continuing with further enrichment of our 3D character’s abilities, we delve into more nuanced aspects such as handling collisions, implementing a health system, creating a simple attack mechanism, and adding animations to your CharacterBody3D.

Handling Collisions is vital for interaction with the game world. Here’s how you might handle a simple collision response:

func _physics_process(delta):
    var collision_info = character.move_and_collide(velocity * delta)
    if collision_info:
        if collision_info.collider.has_method("apply_damage"):
            # Call the apply_damage method on the collider
            collision_info.collider.apply_damage(10)

Next, a Health System could be implemented as a component of the main character script or as a separate script altogether. Below is a basic structure for a health system, which decrements health on damage and checks for character death:

var health = 100

func apply_damage(damage_amount):
    health -= damage_amount
    if health <= 0:
        die()

func die():
    queue_free() # Remove the character from the scene

Creating a Simple Attack mechanism is essential for games with combat. You might use an Area3D to detect when an attack hits another character:

func attack():
    var attack_area = Area3D.new()
    var attack_shape = CollisionShape3D.new()
    attack_shape.shape = SphereShape3D.new() # Choose the shape and size for the attack
    attack_area.add_child(attack_shape)
    add_child(attack_area)
    yield(get_tree().create_timer(0.1), "timeout") # The attack lasts for a short time
    attack_area.queue_free()

To detect and handle the attack collision, you can connect to the area_entered signal of the Area3D node and reduce the health of the character being attacked:

func _on_AttackArea_area_entered(area):
    if area.get_parent().has_method("apply_damage"):
        area.get_parent().apply_damage(attack_damage)

Introducing Animations for movement, jumping, and attacking can greatly enhance your character. You can use the AnimationPlayer node for this purpose:

var animation_player = AnimationPlayer.new()
character.add_child(animation_player)

func play_animation(anim_name):
    if animation_player.has_animation(anim_name):
        animation_player.play(anim_name)

And you would call play_animation when performing various actions, like so:

func _physics_process(delta):
    # Movement and jumping code here...
    
    if Input.is_action_just_pressed('attack'):
        attack()
        play_animation('Attack')

    if is_on_floor():
        if direction.length() > 0:
            play_animation('Run')
        else:
            play_animation('Idle')
    else:
        play_animation('Jump')

    # Make sure to adjust velocity and animation playbacks as per your mechanics

With each line of code, we refine the character’s capabilities and edge closer to a fully-fledged, interactive character. Interlace these mechanisms and you’ll see your 3D character spring to life with every keystroke.

We encourage you to mix and match these examples creatively—code is an art form after all. Feel the thrill of creation as your character maneuvers through the world, battles foes, and participates in the vivid narrative you construct. Your imagination is the limit, and with Godot Engine and CharacterBody3D, we’re here to turn that imagination into virtual reality.

Continue Your Game Development Journey with Zenva

Expanding your knowledge and skills in game development is a continuous journey, one that we at Zenva are excited to help you with. If you’ve enjoyed diving into CharacterBody3D and want to learn more about creating rich and immersive games in Godot 4, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next step. It’s a collection designed to deepen your understanding of game development, offering a variety of topics from scripting in GDScript to mastering 2D and 3D game mechanics. You’ll build an impressive portfolio of projects that will showcase your talent to the world, all while learning at your pace.

For those looking to expand their capabilities even further, our extensive range of comprehensive Godot courses is suitable for all levels. Whether you’re just starting out or are sharpening existing skills, there’s content here that can support your growth as a game developer. With Zenva, you’re not just learning; you’re crafting the future of your game development career. Let’s shape that future together, one line of code at a time.

Conclusion

As we wrap up our spotlight on Godot’s CharacterBody3D, remember that every command and function you’ve learned is a stepping stone towards building the games of your dreams. You now possess the base to orchestrate dynamic movement within your virtual worlds, a skill that is the heartbeat of interactive game experiences. Your journey into game development doesn’t end here, though; it’s a thrilling, creative adventure that’s just beginning.

Fuel your passion and continue to grow your expertise with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. Each lesson is a new door to opportunities, ready to be unlocked with your newfound knowledge and enthusiasm. We at Zenva are excited to see the incredible games you’re going to create. Turn your imagination into reality, one project at a time, and let us be a part of your success story. Happy coding!

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