GLTFPhysicsShape in Godot – Complete Guide

Diving into the world of game development often comes with its fair share of challenges, but also an abundance of creative opportunities. One aspect that plays a critical role in creating immersive gaming experiences is developing solid and interactable objects within a game’s environment. This is where understanding and utilizing physics shapes becomes invaluable. Welcome to our tutorial on GLTFPhysicsShape in Godot 4 – a feature that bridges the gap between GLTF data and the Godot Engine, making your digital worlds come alive with realistic physics behavior.

What is GLTFPhysicsShape?

GLTFPhysicsShape is a Godot resource that represents a physics shape defined by the OMI_collider GLTF extension. This class functions as an intermediary, translating GLTF format physics data into something that Godot’s framework can understand and utilize. Whether you’re looking to define a simple box or a complex concave shape, GLTFPhysicsShape is the tool for translating those definitions into the Godot environment.

What is it for?

Physics shapes are essential components that define how objects interact with the game world. They can determine whether an object is solid, what form its collider takes, and whether it triggers interactions with other elements. The GLTFPhysicsShape is especially useful when importing 3D models with their physics already defined within the GLTF file, streamlining the process of setting up game physics.

Why Should I Learn It?

Aspiring and experienced game developers alike can benefit from understanding GLTFPhysicsShape. Knowing how to work with this class enables you to:

– Quickly integrate complex 3D model interactions into your game.
– Create accurate and optimized collision shapes that match your model’s geometry.
– Easily manage how objects in your game detect and react to physical contact.

Embracing GLTFPhysicsShape simplifies the incorporation of realistic physics in your Godot projects. Its abstraction promises future support for different GLTF physics extensions, which indicates a commitment to evolving alongside your game development needs. Let’s get ready to breathe life into your 3D models with Godot’s physics capabilities!

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Importing and Defining Physics Shapes

In this section, we’ll explore how to import 3D models with physics shapes from GLTF files and define them using the GLTFPhysicsShape resource in the Godot 4 editor.

Firstly, let’s learn how to import a GLTF file into Godot, which has defined physics shapes embedded within the file:

# Assuming you have already imported your GLTF 3D model file 'model.gltf'
# In the Godot Editor:

# 1. Navigate to the imported GLTF file in the 'FileSystem' tab.
# 2. Select the GLTF file to view its import settings.
# 3. Ensure that the 'Import With Colliders' checkbox is ticked.
# 4. Re-import the file if necessary by clicking 'Reimport'.

Once the file is imported, you can access the physics shapes:

# Select the desired MeshInstance in your Scene.
# Check the node's 'Inspector' tab.
# There should now be a 'CollisionShape' or 'CollisionPolygon' child attached.

Next, you’ll want to create a PhysicsBody that will interact with the environment. We’ll start with a StaticBody for objects that do not move:

# Add a StaticBody node to your scene as a parent of your MeshInstance.
# Assign the imported CollisionShape to your StaticBody.

For movable objects, you will use a RigidBody:

# Add a RigidBody node to your scene instead.
# As before, assign the CollisionShape to the RigidBody.

Customizing Physics Shapes

Sometimes, the imported physics shapes may not suit your needs perfectly. You might want to adjust the size of your physics shapes or switch from a simple primitive collider to a more complex shape.

To adjust an existing physics shape:

# Select the CollisionShape node.
# In the 'Inspector', find the 'Shape' property.
# Modify the properties of the collision shape to match your requirements.

To change to a different type of collision shape:

# Click on the 'Shape' property in the 'Inspector'.
# Select 'New Shape' and pick a different shape from the dropdown menu.

Finally, to directly view and edit the vertices of a CollisionPolygon:

# Select the CollisionPolygon node.
# In the viewport, click on the 'CollisionPolygon' to reveal its vertices.
# You can move these vertices to match the desired shape manually.

Remember that consistent testing is crucial. Continually test the interactions between your physics shapes and other objects in the game environment to ensure that they behave as expected. With these fundamental examples, you should be able to import and customize the physics shapes for your 3D models in Godot 4 and start crafting a more interactive and believable game world.Continuing with customization, let’s get into more specific examples, starting with adjusting a physics shape’s transform to correct its position relative to the parent MeshInstance node.

To change the physics shape’s position or rotation:

# With the CollisionShape node selected:
# In the 'Inspector', navigate to the 'Transform' property.
# There you can adjust the position, rotation, and scale.

Fine-tuning the transform can help fix any misalignments after import, ensuring your collisions match up perfectly with the visual geometry.

Switching from a simple to a complex shape, like using a ConvexPolygonShape for an irregular object, can be achieved through:

# With the CollisionShape node selected:
# In the 'Inspector', change the Shape resource to 'New ConvexPolygonShape'.
# Godot will try to generate a convex shape based on the parent mesh.

If you have a dynamic object that requires precise collision, you might need to use a TrimeshShape. Here’s how:

# Add a RigidBody node, if you haven't yet.
# Attach a new CollisionShape node to the RigidBody.
# Assign a 'New ConcavePolygonShape' as its shape. This will respect the mesh's triangles.

It’s important to note that while ConcavePolygonShape (TrimeshShape) is very accurate, it is also computationally expensive and best used sparingly for static geometry.

For optimizing performance, you might consider compound shapes. This technique involves combining multiple primitive shapes to approximate a complex object. Here’s an example of creating compound shapes:

# Add a StaticBody or RigidBody node to your scene.
# For each primitive shape, add a separate CollisionShape child node.
# Adjust each CollisionShape's transform and shape property to cover a different part of the object.

But what about animated models? You can update collision shapes to follow bone movements, essential for character collisions:

# Add a Skeleton node to your rigged character.
# Attach a PhysicalBone for each bone that requires collision.
# Assign a CollisionShape to the PhysicalBone nodes.
# Update the 'rest' property of the PhysicalBone to match the animation position.

Finally, if you are handling procedurally generated or changing geometry during runtime, you can update a collision shape programmatically:

# Assuming you have a CollisionShape named 'collider':
var new_shape =
new_shape.extents = Vector3(1, 1, 1) # Your desired extents
$collider.shape = new_shape

Adjusting collision shapes at runtime allows for dynamic environments that can reshape and respond to player actions.

These snippets illustrate that Godot provides a broad set of tools for handling collisions in both static and dynamic contexts. Whether you’re dealing with aesthetic fine-tuning or complex in-game physics, GLTFPhysicsShape resources, combined with Godot’s versatile nodes and properties, offer you the flexibility needed to create high-quality and interactive 3D worlds. While it might seem complex at first, practice and experimentation are key to mastering physics shapes in your game development journey with Godot 4.

Advanced Physics Shape Manipulation

Moving forward with more complex use cases, you might find yourself in need of not just static or dynamic physics, but also reactive or informed physics. This involves a physics shape that changes based on collisions or game logic. Here are some code snippets that demonstrate how you can achieve these advanced manipulations:

To react to collisions, you might want to change the shape size when a RigidBody is hit:

# Connect the 'body_entered' signal of the RigidBody to a function:
func _on_Body_entered(body):
    var new_shape =
    new_shape.radius = 2.0 # New radius after collision
    $CollisionShape.shape = new_shape

If you need to adjust a physics shape during the game based on an event, you can do so as follows:

# Say we want to flatten a shape when a player steps on it:
func flatten_shape():
    var new_shape =
    new_shape.extents = Vector3(extents.x, 0.1, extents.z) # Flattened along the Y axis
    $CollisionShape.shape = new_shape

You can even animate the transition between shapes to make the change less abrupt:

# Using a Tween to animate the change of a shape's extent:
func animate_shape_change():
    var tween =
    tween.interpolate_property($CollisionShape/shape, "extents", 
        $CollisionShape/shape.extents, Vector3(1,1,1), 1.0,
        Tween.TRANS_LINEAR, Tween.EASE_IN_OUT)

For a physics object that should change shape based on its velocity (like a deformable object squishing as it moves rapidly), consider something like this:

# In the process or physics_process function:
func _physics_process(delta):
    var velocity = $RigidBody.linear_velocity
    # Scale the shape based on velocity magnitude.
    var new_extents = Vector3(1, 1, 1) * velocity.length()
    var new_shape =
    new_shape.extents = new_extents 
    $CollisionShape.shape = new_shape

Physics shapes aren’t just for collisions. You can also use them as sensors with Area nodes to detect objects within a certain space:

# In an Area node, connect the 'area_entered' signal:
func _on_Area_area_entered(area):
    print("Another area has entered!")

Additionally, calculating an appropriate physics shape for procedurally generated geometry can be complex. Here is how you might approach generating a ConvexPolygonShape from a mesh at runtime:

# Assuming we have a mesh instance called mesh_instance:
var shape =
var surface_tool =
surface_tool.create_from(mesh_instance, 0) # The index of the mesh surface we are interested in.
var mesh_array = surface_tool.commit_to_arrays()
$CollisionShape.shape = shape

Lastly, remember that debugging physics interactions is essential. Visualising collision shapes during runtime can help diagnose issues:

# To toggle the visible collision shapes on and off:
func _input(event):
    if event is InputEventKey and event.pressed and event.scancode == KEY_V:
        VisualServer.set_debug_generate_wireframes(not VisualServer.is_debugging_generate_wireframes())

These examples should give you a good foundation to both understand and extend the capabilities of physics shapes in Godot 4. Advanced manipulations like these can empower you to craft unique gameplay mechanics and interactive environments that stand out. Experimentation with these techniques, adhering to best practices, and keeping performance considerations in mind, is the path to mastering physics in Godot and producing an engaging, polished game.

Next Steps in Your Game Development Journey

Your exploration into the world of game physics with Godot 4 is just the first step towards creating engaging and dynamic game experiences. There’s so much more to learn, from simple mechanics to complex game systems, and the journey forward is as exciting as it is boundless. To keep honing your skills and expanding your knowledge, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next destination.

In our Mini-Degree, you’ll dive into a comprehensive collection of courses tailored to teach you the ins and outs of Godot’s innovative engine. Through building various game genres, you’ll gain practical experience and a robust portfolio that showcases your new-found capabilities. Whether you are just starting out or looking to deepen your expertise, our curriculum is designed to guide you at your own pace, with the freedom to delve into topics that pique your interest.

For those who are eager to discover a broader array of Godot content, feel free to explore our Godot courses, where a plethora of learning resources awaits. As you continue on your developmental path with Zenva, remember that every tutorial, every course, and every project brings you one step closer to transforming your game development dreams into reality.


In the vast realm of game development, mastering the nuances of physics shapes in Godot 4 not only opens up a whole new dimension of gameplay possibilities but also catalyzes your growth as a game developer. We’ve just scratched the surface today, yet this knowledge lays down a foundation for building more sophisticated and responsive game worlds. Embrace these tools, experiment with the given examples, and watch as your virtual creations take on a life of their own, reacting and evolving with every interaction.

Remember, your journey doesn’t end here; it only gets more thrilling from this point onward. Strengthen your command over game development and rise to new challenges by diving into Zenva’s Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. Together, we’ll turn your passion into games that dazzle, engage, and inspire. Let’s make those game ideas a reality – one line of code, one node, and one collision shape at a time.

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