OpenXRAction in Godot – Complete Guide

Unlocking Virtual Interactions with OpenXRAction in Godot 4

Virtual reality and augmented reality have changed the game in terms of immersive, interactive experiences. As developers, we not only want to create engaging experiences but also ensure that our creations are accessible and work seamlessly across different devices and platforms. That’s where OpenXR and, more specifically, the OpenXRAction class within Godot 4, come into play. By learning about this powerful feature, you’ll enhance the interactivity of your VR and AR projects, driving engagement and bringing your creativity to life.

What is OpenXRAction?

OpenXRAction is a class in the Godot 4 engine that serves as a vital resource for handling interactions within virtual environments. The OpenXR specification aims to standardize VR and AR development, making it easier for applications to run across various hardware. The OpenXRAction class plays a crucial role in this ecosystem by defining actions that can be inputs, like buttons or triggers, or outputs, such as haptic feedback.

Understanding Its Role in Development

A robust virtual reality experience hinges on the user’s ability to interact with the virtual world effectively. With OpenXRAction, these interactions are abstracted into actions, independent of the devices, allowing universal applications across a wide range of hardware. Essentially, this streamlines the development process and opens up a myriad of possibilities for VR game creation.

Why Should I Learn OpenXRAction?

Learning to effectively use OpenXRAction in Godot 4 can be the difference between creating an ordinary VR experience and a truly interactive, cross-platform masterpiece. By mastering this class, you empower your skillset with:

– The ability to define flexible, device-independent actions.
– Increased compatibility across different VR/AR hardware.
– Simpler, more efficient workflow for VR/AR interaction development.

Whether you’re starting your journey into game development or looking to expand your expertise, understanding OpenXRAction in Godot 4 is a valuable addition to your toolkit. Let’s dive into the world of virtual interactions and see how this powerful class can bring your immersive environments to life.

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Setting Up the OpenXRAction Class

To start utilizing the OpenXRAction class, we first need to set up our actions. In Godot 4, this involves creating an action set and defining individual actions within it. Let’s begin by setting up an action set.

var action_set =

The code snippet above creates a new instance of an OpenXRActionSet, assigns a name to it, and sets its priority. The action set is then added to the OpenXRServer. With our action set in place, we can move on to creating actions.

var grab_action =

Here, we’ve created a boolean input action named “grab_object” and added it to our action set. This action can be used to grab objects within the VR environment.

Binding Actions to User Inputs

With actions defined, we now need to bind them to specific user inputs from various devices. For instance, to bind our “grab_object” action to the trigger press on a hand controller, you can use the following code:


The paths provided in the `register_path` calls correspond to the input sources in the OpenXR runtime. After registering paths, calling `attach_action_sets` ensures that the action set is active and ready to use.

Handling Actions in Game Logic

Actions need to be checked in your game logic to respond appropriately. We typically place this within the `_process` function to continuously check if an action is performed.

func _process(delta):
    if grab_action.is_active() and grab_action.get_state():
        # Code to grab the object
        print("Object grabbed!")

The `is_active` method checks if the action is currently active, while `get_state` checks if the action has been performed (in this case, if the trigger is pressed).

Receiving and Using Action Data

Beyond just checking if an action was performed, we can also obtain data from the action, such as the analog value of a trigger squeeze. This can be used to determine the strength of the grab, for example.

func _process(delta):
    if grab_action.is_active():
        var grab_strength = grab_action.get_state_as_float()
        print("Grab strength: ", grab_strength)
        # Code to apply grip strength

Using `get_state_as_float` provides a float value corresponding to the analog input of the trigger. This value can be used for graded interactions, like simulating variable grip strength.

Creating Output Actions for Haptic Feedback

OpenXRAction isn’t restricted to inputs. We can also define output actions, such as providing haptic feedback to the user.

var haptic_action =

First, we define an action of type `ACTION_TYPE_VIBRATION_OUTPUT`. Once added to the action set, you can then trigger a haptic pulse with the following code:

func perform_haptic_pulse(duration, frequency, amplitude):
    haptic_action.apply_vibration("/user/hand/right/output/haptic", duration, frequency, amplitude)
    haptic_action.apply_vibration("/user/hand/left/output/haptic", duration, frequency, amplitude)

The `apply_vibration` method is used to trigger the haptic feedback on the specified device paths, with parameters to control the duration, frequency, and amplitude of the vibration.

In the next section, we will delve into more complex examples and explore how to combine these basic building blocks to create enriching and interactive VR experiences using the power of OpenXRAction in Godot 4. Stay tuned!

Advanced Interactions with OpenXRAction

The foundational understanding of OpenXRAction allows us to enhance our VR experiences. We can create complex interactions such as picking up objects with both hands, controlling the user interface, and navigating the virtual environment. Here are some ways to use OpenXRAction for more advanced functionalities.

Using Actions for Dual Hand Interactions

Dual hand interactions can significantly boost the user’s experience in VR. By setting up actions for both hands, you can create a more intuitive and realistic interaction system. Here’s how you can handle two-handed object manipulation:

var left_grip = false
var right_grip = false

func _process(delta):
    left_grip = grab_action_left.get_state()
    right_grip = grab_action_right.get_state()

    if left_grip and not right_grip:
        # Code to manipulate with left hand
    elif right_grip and not left_grip:
        # Code to manipulate with right hand
    elif left_grip and right_grip:
        # Code for two-handed manipulation

Here we gather the state of both the left and right hand grab actions. Depending on which buttons are pressed, we can have different sets of code execute, allowing for single or two-handed interactions.

Controlling a VR User Interface

Let’s create actions to interact with a virtual user interface, allowing users to select and activate UI elements:

var select_action =


func _process(delta):
    if select_action.is_active() and select_action.get_state():
        # Code to select UI element pointed at by the controller

Once we’ve set up the select action for our UI, we can track when it’s active and use it to determine when a UI element should be selected.

Navigating the Virtual Environment

Navigation in VR can be handled using actions tailored to movement input, such as thumbstick movement. Below is an example of how to set up an action for movement and use its state to perform navigation:

var move_action =


func _process(delta):
    if move_action.is_active():
        var movement_vector = move_action.get_state_as_vector2()
        # Code to move the player based on the thumbstick vector

Here, `get_state_as_vector2` gives us a Vector2 representing the direction and magnitude of the thumbstick’s movement. We can use this to move the player around the environment.

Complex Hand Gestures for Gameplay Mechanics

You can implement actions for recognizing complex hand gestures, which can be used to trigger special abilities or gameplay mechanics. Consider the following scenario where you make a grabbing motion without touching any objects to cast a spell:

var cast_spell_action =


func _process(delta):
    if cast_spell_action.is_active() and cast_spell_action.get_state() and not grasping_anything:
        # Code to cast the spell

In this example, we’re using the ‘squeeze’ input to detect when the user is making a fist. If they’re doing so without holding an object (‘not grasping_anything’), you could have the game cast a spell.

The OpenXRAction class opens a vast array of possibilities for interaction in Godot 4’s VR developments. By harnessing its capabilities, you can create deeply interactive and intuitive virtual worlds. Dive in, experiment, and bring your creative visions to life in ways that were once unimaginable!Complex hand gestures and interactions can add a substantial layer of depth to your virtual reality worlds, making them more dynamic and engaging. Below are examples of how you can use the OpenXRAction class in Godot 4 to further enhance player interactivity through gesture recognition, environmental interaction and haptic feedback.

Gesture Recognition

Designing a gesture recognition system with OpenXRAction allows players to perform specific motions to trigger in-game events or abilities.

var gesture_action =


var last_hand_position = Vector3()
var gesture_active = false

func _process(delta):
    if gesture_action.is_active():
        var hand_position = gesture_action.get_state_as_pose().transform.origin
        if (hand_position - last_hand_position).length() > 1.0:
            gesture_active = true

        last_hand_position = hand_position

    if gesture_active:
        # Code to activate the magic spell
        gesture_active = false

In the above example, we’re checking for significant movement from the tracked hand position to determine if a gesture has been made.

Environmental Interaction

Adding interactivity to your environment immerses players even deeper into the virtual world. Here’s how you can set up a grab and throw action:

var throw_action =


var object_grabbed = false
var grabbed_object = null
var grab_strength = 0.0

func _process(delta):
    var current_grab_strength = throw_action.get_state_as_float()
    if current_grab_strength > 0.5 and not object_grabbed:
        # Code to grab the nearest object
        object_grabbed = true
        grab_strength = current_grab_strength
    elif object_grabbed and current_grab_strength < grab_strength - 0.2: 
        # Code to release and throw the object, applying force proportional to grab strength
        object_grabbed = false

This code detects when the trigger is sufficiently pressed to pick up an object. The object is thrown when the grab strength is reduced.

Haptic Feedback During Interactions

Adding haptic feedback can make interactions feel more concrete and satisfying. Here is an example of integrating haptic responses in an action-set:

func apply_haptic_feedback(hand_path, intensity, duration):
    var haptic_action =
    haptic_action.set_name("haptic_feedback_" + hand_path)

    haptic_action.apply_vibration("/user/hand/" + hand_path + "/output/haptic", duration, intensity, intensity)

# Usage example when an object is grabbed
apply_haptic_feedback("right", 1.0, 0.1)

This function sends a vibration to either the left or right controller upon calling, simulating a tactile response when an object is grabbed.

Redirecting Player Movement in Virtual Spaces

For a more sophisticated interaction, such as redirecting a player’s movement based on in-game events or conditions, you can manipulate the motion action.

var move_action =

# Paths for physical controller movement input

func _process(delta):
    if move_action.is_active():
        var physical_movement = move_action.get_state_as_vector2()
        var redirected_movement = redirect_movement(physical_movement)
        # Code to move player using redirected movement

In the example above, `redirect_movement` is a hypothetical function that could alter the input vector based on gameplay logic, environmental factors, or to prevent motion sickness.

Incorporating these example implementations will elevate the player’s experience, making your VR game both richly interactive and highly intuitive. As users physically interact with the game world, they’re sure to appreciate the fine details and nuance that OpenXRAction facilitates. Learn, experiment, and integrate these examples into your VR projects with Godot 4 to set your experiences apart in the immersive realm of virtual reality.

Continue Your Game Development Journey with Zenva

Embarking on your game development journey with the Godot 4 engine opens up a world of creative possibilities. Whether you’ve just begun or you’re expanding your skills further, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is an excellent next step to deepen your understanding and expertise in game creation.

  • The courses are designed to take you from a fundamental grasp to a nuanced command of the Godot 4 engine.
  • You’ll tackle practical projects that build a rich portfolio, showing your proficiency in building both 2D and 3D games.
  • Our curriculum delivers in-demand skills that help mold you into a versatile and professional game developer.

Dive into the Godot Game Development Mini-Degree and take advantage of our structured, yet flexible learning environment. Also, discover a broader range of tutorials that cover more topics on Godot by visiting our Godot courses page. At Zenva, we provide a learning path that suits your pace and helps bridge the gap between beginner and professional. Continue crafting your future in game development with Zenva today!


Mastering OpenXRAction in Godot 4 can be a significant milestone in your journey as a game developer. By harnessing the potential of VR and AR through Godot’s powerful features, you are bound to create immersive and interactive experiences that captivate and inspire. This is not just an opportunity to amplify your skill set but also a chance to join the revolution of virtual game development.

We at Zenva are dedicated to empowering your learning journey every step of the way. Check out our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree to escalate your game creation to the next dimension. Continue to innovate, engage, and transform the gaming landscape. The world of game development awaits your unique vision. Let’s build it together with Zenva.

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