Label3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Creating text in a 3D environment opens up a myriad of possibilities for game developers, from immersive storytelling to interactive tutorials. In Godot 4, a powerful open-source game engine, achieving this is made simpler with the `Label3D` class. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced coder, learning to leverage `Label3D` will add another level of depth to your 3D games.

Understanding Label3D

The `Label3D` node is a class in Godot 4 that allows developers to display text within a 3D space. As a direct subclass of `GeometryInstance3D`, this powerful tool inherits properties and methods that enhance the visual appearance and functionality of 3D text.

Applications of 3D Text in Godot

3D text creates an engaging experience for players by allowing them to interact with the game on a more complex level. It can be used for numerous purposes, including but not limited to in-game signage, dynamic feedback for players, immersive dialogue with non-playable characters (NPCs), and even as part of your game’s UI if you want it to match the 3D aesthetic.

Why Learn to Use Label3D?

Understanding how to use `Label3D` is crucial for any game developer looking to create a complete and rich gaming experience. By mastering `Label3D`, you can:

– Enhance the visual storytelling of your game.
– Create dynamic and interactive tutorials that exist within the game world.
– Add an extra layer of polish with professional-looking, easily customizable text.

As you dive into the world of Godot 4 with us, you’ll discover just how straightforward and impactful adding 3D text to your game can be.

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Adding Label3D to Your Scene

Before diving into the examples, make sure you have an existing 3D scene in Godot 4 set up. To add a `Label3D` node to your scene, simply follow these steps:

1. In the scene editor, right-click the parent node (or press Ctrl+A) and choose “Add Child Node”.
2. Search for and select `Label3D`.

Remember, `Label3D` is a subclass of `GeometryInstance3D`, which means it must be a child of a visual instance node, such as a `Spatial` node, to appear in your scene.

var label_3d = Label3D.new()
add_child(label_3d)

Once the `Label3D` node is added to your scene, we can start customizing it.

Setting Text and Font

To display text, you need to set the `text` property. You can also set a custom font under the `custom_fonts/font` property to change the default font style.

label_3d.text = "Hello, 3D World!"

var dynamic_font = DynamicFont.new()
dynamic_font.font_data = load("res://path_to_your_font.ttf")
dynamic_font.size = 64

label_3d.add_font_override("font", dynamic_font)

It’s important to load a proper `.ttf` or `.otf` font file and specify the size to suit your game’s aesthetics.

Configuring Text Properties

You’ll likely need to adjust the appearance of your 3D text to fit your game’s visual design. Here are some properties and methods to manipulate the text:

– `align`: Align your text within the 3D space.
– `valign`: Set vertical alignment, useful for multiple lines of text.
– `autowrap`: Enable or disable text wrapping.
– You can also control the text color through the `modulate` property.

label_3d.align = Label3D.ALIGN_CENTER
label_3d.valign = Label3D.VALIGN_CENTER
label_3d.autowrap = true
label_3d.modulate = Color(1, 0, 0)  # Red text

These properties ensure that the text meshes well within the environment.

Positioning and Orienting Text

Being in 3D space means you must consider the position and orientation of your text. To move `Label3D` around the scene, use the `translation` property, and to rotate the text, adjust the `rotation_degrees` property.

label_3d.translation = Vector3(0, 10, 0)

label_3d.rotation_degrees = Vector3(0, 180, 0)

Rotating the text to face the player or a certain direction might be necessary to ensure readability.

Animating Label3D

To bring even more life to your 3D text, consider adding animations using the `AnimationPlayer` node:

1. Create an `AnimationPlayer` node as a sibling or parent of `Label3D`.
2. In the animation editor, create a new animation.
3. Add a track to the `Label3D`’s `modulate` property to change its color over time.

# Assuming your AnimationPlayer node is named "AnimPlayer"
$AnimPlayer.create_animation("ChangeColor")
$AnimPlayer.add_track(Animation.TYPE_VALUE, "Label3D:modulate")
$AnimPlayer.track_insert_key(0, 0, Color(1, 1, 1))  # White
$AnimPlayer.track_insert_key(0, 1, Color(1, 0, 0))  # Red

This example will animate the text color from white to red over the course of 1 second.

Each of these examples builds upon the basic setup of a `Label3D` node in Godot 4. By combining these snippets, you’re well on your way to creating a text that is not only visually integrated into your 3D world but also dynamic and responsive to the player’s actions.

Interacting with Label3D

Interactivity can be added to `Label3D` through scripts. For instance, you can set up the text to change when a player approaches or interacts with an object.

func _on_Player_proximity(body):
    if body.is_in_group("Player"):
        label_3d.text = "Press E to interact"

This script assumes you have a signal set up for a player’s proximity, updating the text accordingly.

Optimizing Label3D Performance

Performance optimization is also important. `Label3D` may be lightweight, but with many on-screen instances, it’s wise to manage their visibility. To optimize, consider implementing view frustum culling or distance-based LOD (Level of Detail).

func _process(delta):
    var distance_to_player = global_transform.origin.distance_to(player.global_transform.origin)
    visible = distance_to_player < MAX_VIEW_DISTANCE

The above script makes the `Label3D` visible only when the player is within `MAX_VIEW_DISTANCE`.

Creating a Billboarding Effect

Billboarding is a technique where the text always faces the player, ensuring legibility from various angles. Godot’s `look_at()` function is perfect for this:

func _process(delta):
    label_3d.look_at(player.global_transform.origin, Vector3.UP)

This example has the `Label3D` node continuously rotate to face the player’s position with ‘up’ being along the world’s Y-axis.

Integrating with Shaders

For a more advanced visual flair, integrate custom shaders into your `Label3D`. Godot’s shader language allows for dynamic visual effects that can react to gameplay or environment:

shader_type spatial;
render_mode unshaded;
uniform vec4 custom_color : hint_color;

void fragment() {
    ALBEDO = custom_color.rgb;
}

This simple shader example sets the `Label3D` text to have an unshaded custom color, which can be set from the Godot editor or via GDScript.

Localizing 3D Text

If you’re targeting a global audience, localizing your text is essential. Godot supports localization through CSV or PO files, allowing for flexible translation workflows:

func _ready():
    label_3d.text = tr("KEY_FOR_TEXT")

By using the `tr()` function, Godot will look for the translation associated with `”KEY_FOR_TEXT”` in the current language and set the `Label3D` text accordingly.

By mastering the `Label3D` node through these practical examples and our courses at Zenva, you’ll be equipped with the skills to make your 3D games in Godot more interactive and engaging. Our tutorials and courses are designed to provide you with comprehensive knowledge, whether you’re starting out or looking to sharpen your existing Godot skills. Join us on this learning journey and unleash the full potential of your game development aspirations!

Using Signals with Label3D

Signals are a robust feature in Godot for managing events and interactions. You can connect a `Label3D` node to various signals to react to events in the game world.

For example, you might want to update the text when an in-game day/night cycle changes:

func _on_DayNightCycle_changed(time_of_day):
    if time_of_day == "Night":
        label_3d.text = "It's dangerous to go alone at night."
    else:
        label_3d.text = "A new day dawns on the horizon."

Assuming a signal named `day_night_cycle_changed` that passes a `time_of_day` string when emitted, this script will update `Label3D` text accordingly.

Implementing Mouse-over Text Reveal

For a UI-style interaction where moving the mouse cursor over an object reveals text, you can leverage the `InputEventMouseMotion` event in 3D space:

func _input_event(viewport, event, shape_idx):
    if event is InputEventMouseMotion:
        # Show the label when hovering over the object
        label_3d.visible = true
    else:
        # Hide the label by default
        label_3d.visible = false

This method changes the visibility of the `Label3D` when an object receives mouse movement events, allowing for an interactive text reveal.

Adjusting Label3D Opacity Over Time

Animating label opacity over time can be a simple yet powerful effect, which can be accomplished by tweening the alpha value of the `modulate` property:

func fade_out_label():
    var tween = Tween.new()
    add_child(tween)
    tween.interpolate_property(label_3d, "modulate",
                               label_3d.modulate,
                               Color(label_3d.modulate.r, label_3d.modulate.g, label_3d.modulate.b, 0),
                               2.0, Tween.TRANS_LINEAR, Tween.EASE_IN_OUT)
    tween.start()

This function fades out the `Label3D` text’s opacity over two seconds using a `Tween` node.

Syncing Text with Audio Narration

Creating an immersive experience may also involve syncing text display with audio. This can be managed by timing the display of your text with audio playback progress:

func _on_AudioNarration_playback_position_changed(position):
    if position > 5.0:
        label_3d.text = "Part 2 of the narration..."
    elif position > 10.0:
        label_3d.text = "Part 3 of the narration..."

# Assume an AudioStreamPlayer node named AudioNarration with the signal connected

In this script, the `label_3d` text updates at specific timestamps within the audio narration, creating a synchronized audio-text storytelling.

Customizing Label3D Material Properties

For further customization, you can tweak `Label3D` material properties, such as specular and emissive colors, to create a stand-out effect, especially for titles or important in-game texts:

var material = SpatialMaterial.new()
material.albedo_color = Color(1, 1, 1)
material.emission_enabled = true
material.emission = Color(1, 0.5, 0) 
material.emission_energy = 2.0

label_3d.set_surface_material(0, material)

This code snippet creates a new `SpatialMaterial` with an emissive glow, making the text emit light and thereby stand out in darker 3D environments.

These examples serve to showcase the versatility of the `Label3D` node in Godot 4 and offer a glimpse of how you can use text to enhance player experience. From responding to game events to providing aesthetic polish, there are numerous possibilities to explore. As always, our team at Zenva encourages developers to experiment and push the boundaries of what’s possible, offering a wealth of resources and tutorials to help you every step of the way. Whether you’re creating your first 3D game or looking to add new features to an existing project, mastering these techniques will bring your game development skills to the next level.

Continue Your Game Development Journey

Mastering the art of adding and manipulating 3D text in Godot is just the beginning of your game development adventure. To delve deeper and broaden your game creation skills, we encourage you to explore further. Our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next step to advance your knowledge.

This Mini-Degree covers a wide range of essential topics, from utilizing 2D and 3D assets to mastering gameplay mechanics for various game types, such as RPGs, RTS, survival games, and platformers. Designed for both beginners and those with some experience, the curriculum offers an in-depth look at the powerful and user-friendly Godot 4 engine. You’ll learn at your pace with our structured, yet flexible courses.

If you’re seeking an even broader range of Godot tutorials, be sure to check out our comprehensive collection of Godot courses. Whatever your current level of expertise, Zenva can elevate your coding and game development acumen, paving the way for you to craft the captivating games you’ve always imagined.

Conclusion

Your journey through the world of game development is filled with endless opportunities to create, innovate, and engage players in ways you’ve never imagined. With the Godot 4 engine and the power of `Label3D`, your 3D games will transcend traditional storytelling, offering players a truly immersive experience. The skills you have acquired here are just a fraction of what you can learn with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, where you can take your talents to new heights and turn your creative visions into reality.

At Zenva, we’re committed to empowering you with the tools and knowledge necessary to stand out in the competitive world of game development. Continue your learning with us, and soon enough, you’ll be crafting the kind of games that not only captivate players but also showcase your unique creative abilities. Dive into our courses today, and let’s make something incredible together.

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