NavigationObstacle3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Navigating through a 3D virtual world can be as tricky as maneuvering through a crowded city. In game development, ensuring that characters move around smoothly and avoid obstacles is pivotal to creating an immersive experience. In Godot 4, a powerful and user-friendly game engine, achieving robust navigation has never been easier with the use of the NavigationObstacle3D class.

What is NavigationObstacle3D?

NavigationObstacle3D is a class that is part of Godot 4’s engine, designed to introduce dynamic obstacles into a game’s navigation system. These obstacles interact with the navigation algorithm to impact how non-player controlled characters, or agents, move around the scene, ensuring they avoid specific areas or objects.

What is it for?

Imagine creating a game with a maze of walls or a bustling city street filled with moving cars; the NavigationObstacle3D class is used to mark these elements as areas to be avoided by characters navigating autonomously. Whether for crowd simulation or dynamic environment interaction, NavigationObstacle3D provides the framework for a more realistic navigation experience.

Why should I learn it?

While the NavigationObstacle3D may appear daunting at first, understanding how to implement it provides several benefits:

– Enhances game realism through better crowd and character movement.
– Reduces developer workload with automated navigation handling.
– Allows dynamic scene changes without compromising navigation quality.

This tool can truly elevate the quality of your game’s navigation system, making it a vital skill for aspiring game developers to master. Now, let’s dig into the coding and see how NavigationObstacle3D works in action!

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Setting Up Your Environment

Before we delve into examples, ensure you have the latest version of Godot 4.0 installed and set up a basic 3D scene. This scene should contain a Navigation3D node as the root, with a simple terrain mesh where your characters will move.

extends Navigation3D

func _ready():
    var terrain =
    terrain.mesh = load("res://path_to_your_terrain_mesh.tres")

    var navmesh =
    navmesh.navmesh = load("res://path_to_your_navmesh.tres")

Now we’ll go through how to create and add dynamic obstacles to your scene using the NavigationObstacle3D class.

Creating a NavigationObstacle3D Instance

To start off, let’s create our obstacle. It could be anything from a rock to a moving vehicle. First, instantiate your obstacle as a separate instance and add it to your scene.

extends MeshInstance

func _ready():
    var obstacle_shape =
    obstacle_shape.extents = Vector3(2,1,2)
    var obstacle_body =
    obstacle_body.shape = obstacle_shape
    var obstacle =

Configuring the NavigationObstacle3D

Once the obstacle is in place, it’s important to set up its behaviors correctly. The NavigationObstacle3D includes the enabled property which you’ll want to adjust dynamically, based on whether the obstacle should currently affect navigation.

# Enable the obstacle, so it starts affecting the navigation system
obstacle.enabled = true

# To disable the obstacle from affecting the navigation, for example when it is no longer in the scene
obstacle.enabled = false

As your game evolves, obstacles may need to move or be updated dynamically.

# Assume 'obstacle' is an instance of NavigationObstacle3D
func move_obstacle(to_position: Vector3):
    obstacle.global_transform.origin = to_position

# Update the navigation system to account for the obstacle's new position
func update_navigation():

Integrating NavigationObstacle3D with Agents

The real power of NavigationObstacle3D is observed when used in conjunction with autonomous agents. Let’s set up a simple NavigationAgent3D which attempts to move across your scene.

# Assume this is part of an entity with a NavigationAgent3D component called 'agent'

func move_to_target(target_position: Vector3):    
    agent.navigation = get_parent() # Assuming the parent is the Navigation3D

We’ll want our agents to navigate around these obstacles.

# This is called whenever the navigation needs to be recomputed, e.g., if obstacles move
func _process(delta):
    agent.update_navigation() # Calling this ensures the agent takes into account moving obstacles

By mastering the use of NavigationObstacle3D along with NavigationAgent3D, you are equipping yourself with the skills to orchestrate complex scenes with dynamic obstacles and lifelike agents that move intelligently through your worlds. Remember, practice is key—experiment with settings and observe how they affect the navigation in your game.Let’s expand our understanding of NavigationObstacle3D and how it behaves in a dynamic game environment by looking at more practical examples.

Suppose we have an obstacle that should start affecting navigation only when it’s activated by a player’s action. For instance, when a player pushes a button, a wall springs up, becoming a new obstacle.

# Player has triggered the obstacle to become active
func _on_player_triggered_obstacle():
    var obstacle = $Obstacle
    obstacle.enabled = true
    # Immediately update the navigation mesh to consider the new obstacle

Now let’s delve into scenarios where we might want to move an obstacle and have agents react in real-time to such changes.

# Move the obstacle by a certain offset
func _move_obstacle_by_offset(obstacle, offset: Vector3):
    obstacle.global_transform.origin += offset
    # Each time the obstacle moves, it should be updated

To ensure that the navigation mesh is updated correctly after moving the obstacle, it’s best to also inform the Navigation3D node of the changes.

# Call this function after moving the obstacle to update the entire navigation mesh
func _update_navigation_mesh():
    var navigation_mesh_instance = $Navigation3D/NavigationMeshInstance
    # Assuming you have a single NavigationMeshInstance as a child of Navigation3D

But what if you have a temporary obstacle, like a fallen tree, that only blocks a path for a short duration before being removed?

# Set the obstacle to be temporarily enabled
func _enable_obstacle_temporarily(obstacle, duration_seconds):
    obstacle.enabled = true
    # Call a method after duration_seconds to disable it
    yield(get_tree().create_timer(duration_seconds), "timeout")
    obstacle.enabled = false
    # As always, update after enabling/disabling the obstacle

Dealing with an obstacle’s visibility can also be essential. Sometimes, you may want to notify the player visually that an obstacle has become an active part of the navigation system.

# Toggle obstacle visibility when enabling or disabling
func _toggle_obstacle_visibility(obstacle, visible: bool):
    var obstacle_mesh_instance = obstacle.get_node("MeshInstance")
    obstacle_mesh_instance.visible = visible

Finally, complex scenes may have multiple dynamic obstacles that need to be managed simultaneously. To handle this, we can have a controller script to keep track of all NavigationObstacle3D instances and manage them effectively.

# Controller script that handles multiple obstacles
var obstacles = [] # An array to hold all the obstacle references

func _register_obstacle(obstacle):

func _unregister_obstacle(obstacle):

# Use this method to disable all obstacles at once
func _disable_all_obstacles():
    for obstacle in obstacles:
        obstacle.enabled = false

Remember, integrating NavigationObstacle3D into your games means considering the gameplay experience and how elements like dynamic obstacles will contribute to it. It’s all about finding the right balance between challenge and enjoyment, the hallmark of a well-designed game environment.

By following the examples provided and experimenting with different configurations, you can now build more engaging and interactive game worlds. Don’t hesitate to test, iterate, and refine your navigation meshes and obstacles to enhance your players’ immersion in the 3D spaces you create. We at Zenva are excited to see the innovative ways you’ll leverage these Godot 4 features in your game development adventures!Continuing our exploration of NavigationObstacle3D, we might want to think about how we can make our obstacle interact with other gameplay elements. For example, we could have a scenario where the obstacle reacts to in-game events, such as a door that closes when an alarm is triggered.

# Close a door (obstacle) when an alarm is triggered
func _on_alarm_triggered():
    var door_obstacle = $Obstacle
    door_obstacle.enabled = true

Or consider a situation where an obstacle could damage the player if they get too close. We would need to detect this and respond accordingly in our game script.

func _process(delta):
    var player_position = $Player.global_transform.origin
    var obstacle_position = $Obstacle.global_transform.origin
    if player_position.distance_to(obstacle_position) < MIN_SAFE_DISTANCE:
        # Damage the player

Perhaps we might want to have obstacles added or removed at runtime based on player actions or other in-game conditions—like destructible walls that, once destroyed, are no longer considered obstacles by the navigation system.

# Remove an obstacle after destruction
func _on_obstacle_destroyed(obstacle):

Alternatively, we could create a system where obstacles move along a predefined path, perhaps as part of a level’s mechanics. This would require us to update not only the obstacle’s position but also the navigation mesh regularly.

# Move the obstacle along a path and update the navigation mesh
func _on_move_obstacle_along_path(obstacle, path, delta):
    # Assume path is an array of Vector3 points
    for point in path:
        obstacle.global_transform.origin = point
        # Allow some time for the player to react
        yield(get_tree().create_timer(INTERVAL_BETWEEN_MOVES), "timeout")

Moreover, we might want to animate an obstacle — for example, a spinning laser or a swinging trap. While the physical position is animated via an AnimationPlayer, the obstacle’s effect on navigation must be kept in sync.

# Example of synchronizing navigation with an animated obstacle
var obstacle_animation_player = $Obstacle/AnimationPlayer

func _process(delta):
    if obstacle_animation_player.is_playing():

Lastly, when dealing with a larger scene with multiple dynamic obstacles, their collective impact on performance should be considered. In such cases, updating the navigation mesh incrementally might be necessary only when pertinent changes occur.

# Update the navigation mesh incrementally for performance purposes
func _process(delta):
    if _has_relevant_obstacle_changed():

Managing dynamic obstacles closely can provide players with a fresh and engaging challenge, constantly changing the landscape they must navigate. Whether your obstacles are large and menacing or small and subtle, each can play a significant role in shaping the player’s experience.

In creating your game, use these dynamic elements not only to create realism but also to invigorate your storytelling, level design, and gameplay mechanics. As you expand your proficiency in using Godot 4’s NavigationObstacle3D, remember that innovation and fun are at the core of game development. We encourage you to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within your virtual worlds, providing players with memorable experiences that stand the test of time!

Where to Go Next

Congratulations on taking the first steps towards mastering dynamic navigation with Godot 4! But the journey doesn’t stop here — there is a whole world of game development techniques and best practices waiting for you.

If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of Godot and game development, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree offers a comprehensive learning path. With a blend of theory and practical projects, it’s designed to take you from the basics to more complex game systems, regardless of your current skill level.

For a broader range of topics and to explore what more the Godot engine has to offer, check out our Godot courses. Each course is carefully crafted to provide you with the skills needed to excel in game development. Start building your dream games today and join a growing community of developers!


As we wrap up our foray into the dynamic world of NavigationObstacle3D in Godot 4, remember that the true essence of game development lies in the power to breathe life into the worlds we imagine. With each obstacle you master and each agent you guide, your virtual realms grow more vibrant and reactive, providing players with enthralling experiences that keep them coming back for more.

Ready to leap further into game creation? Our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree awaits with its wealth of knowledge and practical applications. Make your mark in the world of interactive entertainment, and let’s build the future of gaming together—one line of code at a time. Join us now, and let your development journey forge onwards and upwards with Zenva!

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