PhysicalBone2D in Godot – Complete Guide

Embarking on the journey of game development leads us to explore various tools and techniques that bring our digital worlds to life. Among these, we have the Godot Engine’s PhysicalBone2D—a powerful class designed to add realistic physics behavior to skeletal animations. In Godot 4, this feature takes on an even more seamless integration, allowing developers to create more immersive 2D environments. Whether you’re starting out or refining your skills, learning how PhysicalBone2D operates opens a plethora of possibilities for your game’s animations.

What is PhysicalBone2D?

The PhysicalBone2D class in Godot 4 acts as a bridge between the skeletal animation system and the 2D physics engine. It’s a specialized node extending from RigidBody2D, meant for making your Bone2Ds interact with forces, mass, and joinery in a physics-based environment. When combined with Skeleton2D, PhysicalBone2D nodes enable animations to react to the physics world, allowing for dynamic movements that could be the difference between a good game and a great one.

What is it for?

PhysicalBone2D is used to provide a realistic physical response to skeletal animations. In traditional animation, bones move according to keyframes set by the animator. However, with PhysicalBone2D, bones can collide, fall under gravity, or break apart. It’s crucial for games that aim to have a more dynamic feel, such as characters with floppy hats or creatures with wobbly appendages.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding PhysicalBone2D is essential for creating 2D games that require physics-based animations. Learning how to implement this tool will allow you to:

– Infuse realism into your characters and scenes.
– Enhance the interactivity and believability of your game world.
– Differentiate your work with sophisticated animation techniques.
– Gain a deeper understanding of Godot’s robust animation and physics systems.

With PhysicalBone2D, your animations are not just moving pictures; they are integral parts of the game world that respond and interact with other elements dynamically. Now, let’s dive into the coding aspects and see this feature in action.

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Setting Up a PhysicalBone2D in Godot 4

To get started with a PhysicalBone2D, you first need to have a Skeleton2D and Bone2D setup. Here’s how you initialize a Skeleton2D with one Bone2D child:

var skeleton =
var bone =

With our skeleton in place, we can now add a PhysicalBone2D to correspond with our Bone2D:

var physical_bone =
physical_bone.set_bone_name("Bone2DName") # Name of the corresponding Bone2D

Note that the bone name in set_bone_name() must match exactly with the name of the Bone2D you want to associate with.

Configuring the Physical Properties

Now that our PhysicalBone2D is associated with a bone, we must adjust its physical properties to achieve the desired behavior:

# Adjust mass for how heavy the bone should behave
physical_bone.mass = 2.0

# Set the weight's friction
physical_bone.friction = 1.0

# Define restitution for bounce effects
physical_bone.restitution = 0.3

Remember, these values can be tweaked according to the specific needs of your game and the behavior you wish to simulate with your animations.

Adding Collision Shapes

To ensure our PhysicalBone2D can collide with other physics objects, we need to add a CollisionShape2D as a child:

var collision_shape =
var shape =
shape.radius = 10
collision_shape.shape = shape


This code block creates a circular collision shape for our physical bone, but the shape can be changed to any that suits the contours of your skeleton.

Creating Physics Constraints

In some cases, you may want to restrict or define the way PhysicalBone2D behaves. For instance, let’s add a PinJoint2D to constrain our physical bone to a specific point:

var joint =
joint.softness = 0.5

joint.position = Vector2.ZERO # This will pin the joint at the bone's position

This joint will allow the bone to rotate around the pinned position but retain its place in the skeleton.

With these basics covered, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to start experimenting with PhysicalBone2D in your own projects. Remember to always play with different properties and constraints to understand their impact on the animation and physics behavior.Integrating a PhysicalBone2D system into your project is not only about creating bones that react to physics but also about how they influence each other. For a more complex skeleton, multiple PhysicalBone2D nodes will interact, and managing these interactions often involves joints and forces. To illustrate, let’s look into more advanced configurations.

Adding Forces to PhysicalBone2D

Beyond just setting static properties, you might want to apply forces or impulses to your bones. This could simulate a character being hit or pushed by an explosion. Here’s a code snippet showing how to apply a force:

physical_bone.apply_central_force(Vector2(500, 0)) # Applies a force to the right

Or an impulse, which is like an instant force:

physical_bone.apply_central_impulse(Vector2(250, 0)) # Applies an instantaneous impulse to the right

Customizing Bone Joint Connections

Sometimes you might need to connect PhysicalBone2D nodes together in a way that isn’t simply parent to child. This is where joints come into play. For a chain-like connection, you might use a HingeJoint2D:

var joint =
joint.node_a = physical_bone.get_path()
joint.node_b = another_physical_bone.get_path()

# Set the joint parameters
joint.limit_enabled = true
joint.limit_lower = -30
joint.limit_upper = 30


This snippet attaches two PhysicalBone2D nodes with a hinge, allowing them to rotate around the joint within a specified angle limit range.

Simulating Springy Bones

If we want our bones to behave like springs, we can implement a DampedSpringJoint2D between them:

var spring_joint =
spring_joint.node_a = physical_bone.get_path()
spring_joint.node_b = another_physical_bone.get_path()

# Configure the spring characteristics
spring_joint.length = 20
spring_joint.damping = 1.0
spring_joint.stiffness = 40


This will give the bones a bouncy and elastic connection, great for tails, tentacles, or other flexible appendages.

Incorporating Script-Based Control

Scripting can also help control PhysicalBone2D nodes dynamically during runtime. If you want to change the behavior based on game events, you can modify properties through scripts:

# Example script attached to a PhysicalBone2D node
func _on_damage_received():
    mass = 1.5 # Make the bone lighter when damaged
    apply_central_impulse(Vector2.UP * 1000) # Knock the bone upwards

The above script would be a simple response to a damage event, lightening the bone and applying an upward impulse.

By now, you should have a well-rounded understanding of the potential that PhysicalBone2D nodes bring to 2D animation in Godot 4. Armed with this knowledge, you’re all set to create more vivid and dynamic animations, adding that extra layer of polish to your game’s gameplay and visual appeal. As with any toolset, the key is to experiment and find the perfect balance for your specific project needs. Enjoy the creative process!Taking PhysicalBone2D a step further, let’s delve into conditional physics adjustments, responding to in-game events and environment changes. This aspect of using PhysicalBone2D can greatly enhance the interaction of your character or objects within the game world.

For instance, imagine a scenario where a character enters water, and we want the bones to behave as if they’re in a fluid:

# Detect when the character enters water
func _on_body_entered_water(body):
    if body.get_name() == "Player":
        # Increase the bone's damping to simulate water resistance
        for physical_bone in body.get_children():
            if physical_bone is PhysicalBone2D:
                physical_bone.linear_damp = 10.0

The script increases the linear damping of each PhysicalBone2D, giving the impression that the bones are moving through a more resistive medium, like water.

On the flip side, when the character leaves the water, we want to restore the original bone physics:

# Detect when the character leaves water
func _on_body_exited_water(body):
    if body.get_name() == "Player":
        # Reset the bone's damping to normal
        for physical_bone in body.get_children():
            if physical_bone is PhysicalBone2D:
                physical_bone.linear_damp = 0.5

But what if certain events in your game require the bones to lock in place or become immovable? You might want to set them to static to avoid any physical influence temporarily:

# Code to lock a bone in place
physical_bone.mode = RigidBody2D.MODE_STATIC

Conversely, to later allow the bones to move again, simply reset the mode to RigidBody2D.MODE_RIGID:

# Code to unlock the bone
physical_bone.mode = RigidBody2D.MODE_RIGID

For additional control over the joint connections in response to gameplay, let’s say we want to dynamically adjust the stiffness of a DampedSpringJoint2D when our character picks up an object, making the connection more rigid:

# Adjust joint properties dynamically
func _on_object_picked_up():
    spring_joint.stiffness = 80.0

Real-time adjustments like this can make your game feel more reactive and provide a satisfying gameplay experience.

Lastly, sometimes you might want to remove a physical bone from the simulation temporarily, like if a character ‘disarms’ an enemy in-game:

# Code to remove a bone from physics simulation
func _on_disarm():

Using set_physics_process(false) pauses the physics calculations for the bone, effectively making it disappear or stop all movement.

To enable the physics process again, you’d do the reverse:

# Code to re-enable bone physics simulation
func _on_rearm():

Adding such interactive elements to your PhysicalBone2D instances ensures that your game remains not only visually interesting but also engaging in terms of gameplay mechanics. Keep experimenting with these features to see how they can best serve the story and experience you want to craft for your players.

Continue Your Game Development Journey

Embarking on learning game development with Godot can be an exhilarating experience, and mastering physical bones within Godot 4 is just the beginning. To further propel your skills and expand your toolkit, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree offers a comprehensive path towards building cross-platform games with this potent engine. Whether you are new to the field or looking to deepen your existing expertise, our array of courses caters to all skill levels.

Delve into the realm of 2D and 3D game creation, refine your knowledge of GDScript, and design intricate game mechanics across various genres, all while working on projects that will stand out in your professional portfolio. With our flexible learning options, you can learn at your own pace and emerge with in-demand skills paving the way for a career in the game development industry.

For those keen to explore an even broader range of topics and tools Godot has to offer, our catalog of Godot courses is just a click away. From animations to artificial intelligence, we’re here to support your growth every step of the way. Join us at Zenva, and let’s shape the future of gaming together!


Your foray into the world of game development is an adventure filled with infinite creative potential. Godot 4’s PhysicalBone2D offers just a glimpse into how you can breathe life into your creations, making them more dynamic and interactive. Remember, every game developer starts somewhere, and with each new skill mastered, you edge closer to bringing your unique visions to life. Dive deeper into the universe of game crafting with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, and join a vibrant community of creators passionate about games.

At Zenva, we believe in empowering you with the knowledge and skills to build captivating games that resonate with players worldwide. So take this step, embrace the journey, and let’s transform the gaming landscape together—one line of code, one animation, one game at a time.

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