PhysicsDirectBodyState3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to this comprehensive tutorial on the PhysicsDirectBodyState3D class in Godot 4. If you’re looking to spice up your 3D game with realistic physical behaviors, then understanding and utilizing this class is pivotal. With PhysicsDirectBodyState3D, you have the power to create dynamic interactions that will breathe life into your virtual worlds. Whether you’re a burgeoning game developer or a seasoned programmer, mastering this aspect of Godot can amp up the quality of your gameplay, making it more immersive and engaging for players. So, shall we dive into the world of Godot’s physics engine and discover the capabilities of PhysicsDirectBodyState3D?

What is PhysicsDirectBodyState3D?

PhysicsDirectBodyState3D is a class that provides direct access to a physics body’s state within Godot’s PhysicsServer3D. Essentially, it’s a gateway to alter and influence the physical properties of objects in real-time during the physics processing step. This class is often used in conjunction with RigidBody3D nodes to adjust forces, velocities, and other physical attributes.

What is it used for?

This direct access is incredibly useful for implementing custom force integration logic, allowing developers to apply intricate physical manipulations that standard physics engines might not support out of the box. For example, one might use it to simulate complex interactions like magnetism, or even controlling a character’s balance in a physics-based platformer.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding PhysicsDirectBodyState3D empowers you as a game developer to take control of the physics interactions in your game. Instead of being limited to preset behaviors, you can customize how objects move and react to forces, collisions, and other in-game events. It’s an indispensable tool in your Godot arsenal that can set your games apart by creating a unique and responsive gaming experience that players will remember.

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Accessing PhysicsDirectBodyState3D

Before diving into specific examples, let’s start by understanding how to access the PhysicsDirectBodyState3D instance. This is typically done in the `_integrate_forces(state)` method of a RigidBody3D script.

extends RigidBody3D

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    # Your physics code here

Within the `_integrate_forces(state)` function, you can access and modify the physics body properties through the `state` parameter.

Modifying Linear Velocity

One of the most common operations is adjusting an object’s linear velocity. This can dictate the speed and direction of a RigidBody3D.

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    var velocity = state.linear_velocity
    velocity.x += 10 # Increase velocity along the X axis
    state.linear_velocity = velocity

In this snippet, we increase the RigidBody3D’s velocity along the X-axis on every physics frame, effectively pushing it to the right.

Applying Central Forces

To move objects using Newtonian physics, we apply forces to them. Below is an example of how to apply a central force, which is a force applied to the center of mass of a RigidBody3D:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    var force = Vector3(0, -9.8, 0) # Represents gravity

This will apply a constant downward force to the RigidBody3D, similar to gravity. Note that Godot does have a built-in gravity setting, but this method could be used to override it or to simulate other forces acting similarly to gravity.

Applying Torque

Applying torque to an object will cause it to rotate. The following example shows how to add torque around the Y-axis:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    state.apply_torque_impulse(Vector3(0, 10, 0))

This code applies a rotational force or a torque impulse that will make the RigidBody3D spin around its Y-axis.

Adjusting Angular Velocity

Angular velocity can be used to directly set the rotational speed of an object. Here’s how you might set an arbitrary angular velocity:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    state.angular_velocity = Vector3(0, 1, 0) # Rotate around Y-axis

This snippet sets the RigidBody3D to consistently rotate around the Y-axis without gradual acceleration.

Interacting with Collisions

Finally, PhysicsDirectBodyState3D also allows you to inspect and interact with collisions. The following example demonstrates how to print information about collisions:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    for i in range(state.get_contact_count()):
        var collider = state.get_contact_collider(i)
        var collision_point = state.get_contact_local_position(i)
        var collision_normal = state.get_contact_local_normal(i)
        print("Collided with: ", collider)
        print("Collision Point: ", collision_point)
        print("Collision Normal: ", collision_normal)

This loop will go through all of the current frame’s collisions, giving you access to the collider object and the collision point and normal vectors, essential information for complex collision handling logic.Continuing from where we left off, PhysicsDirectBodyState3D provides us with a wealth of information and control, especially during collisions. Let’s explore more applications of this class with practical examples:

Manipulating the Transform

Sometimes you may want to directly modify the object’s position or orientation. You can do this by adjusting its `transform` property:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    # Shift the object up by 1 unit without affecting its orientation
    var new_transform = state.transform
    new_transform.origin.y += 1
    state.transform = new_transform

This simple operation moves the RigidBody3D up by one unit on the Y-axis without changing the rotation, illustrating direct control over the object’s world-space positioning.

Custom Gravity

Implementing a custom gravity direction or magnitude per-object can lead to interesting effects, such as localized gravitational fields:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    var custom_gravity = Vector3(0, -20, 0) # Doubled gravity
    state.total_gravity = custom_gravity
    state.total_gravity_vector = custom_gravity.normalized()

This snippet applies a custom gravity that’s twice the normal strength, affecting only this RigidBody3D. We also directly set the total gravity vector, which is useful if the gravity in your game world is not uniform.

Slowing Down with Damping

Damping is used to gradually reduce velocity due to forces like friction or air resistance. Here’s how you might increase damping on-the-fly:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    # Increase linear and angular damping
    state.linear_damp = 5.0 
    state.angular_damp = 5.0

The above code increases both the linear and angular damping factors, which will cause the RigidBody3D to slow down its motion and rotation more quickly than before.

Control Additive Forces

Instead of applying a force to the center of mass, you might want to apply it at a specific point to create a directed push or pull:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    var point = Vector3(1, 0, 0)
    var force = Vector3(500, 0, 0)
    state.add_force(force, point)

This applies a force of magnitude `500` along the X-axis, acting at the point `(1, 0, 0)` relative to the RigidBody3D’s position, potentially causing both translation and rotation.

Reading the Total Force

If you ever need to know the total force currently affecting a body, you can:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    var total_force = state.total_force
    print("Current total force: ", total_force)

This gives you an idea of the sum of forces acting on the body at a given instant, which can be useful when debugging or implementing features that respond to intensity of interactions.

Dealing with Sleep State

You might also want to manipulate when a body goes to sleep (stops being simulated by the physics engine) to optimize performance:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    if state.linear_velocity.length() < 0.01:
        state.sleeping = true

This code snippet puts the RigidBody3D to sleep when it’s barely moving, thus saving computational resources when the object is effectively at rest.

PhysicsDirectBodyState3D offers wide-ranging control, and just as importantly, the breadth of data about the physical world dynamics as they apply to a single body. Harnessing this can lead to enriched gameplay elements that resonate with the realities of motion and force, elevating the immersive experience of your Godot game.Continuing with our exploration of PhysicsDirectBodyState3D, let’s delve into how we can further use this powerful class to create unique and engaging mechanics in your Godot games.

Sometimes we may want to not just apply forces, but also check for specific conditions in order to trigger events or behaviors. The following example shows how to check the speed of an object and apply an action if a certain speed is exceeded:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    if state.linear_velocity.length() > 10:
        # Maybe trigger a breakage or a sound effect due to high speed
        print("High-speed impact!")

Another example can be related to controlling a RigidBody3D based on user input. For instance, this code applies forces to move a RigidBody3D left or right when the player presses the corresponding keys:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    if Input.is_action_pressed("ui_right"):
        state.add_force(Vector3(500, 0, 0), Vector3.ZERO)
    elif Input.is_action_pressed("ui_left"):
        state.add_force(Vector3(-500, 0, 0), Vector3.ZERO)

You might also want to stabilize a character or object that tends to tip over too easily. By applying counter-torque based on the object’s angular velocity, you can help maintain its upright orientation:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    var angular_velocity = state.angular_velocity
    var counter_torque = -angular_velocity * 10
    # Apply the counter-torque to stabilize the object

In a space-themed game, you could simulate zero-gravity environments and the need for astronauts to push off surfaces to move. Here’s how you might allow a player-controlled character to interact with the environment:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    if Input.is_action_just_pressed("ui_action"):
        var impulse_vector = Vector3(0, 0, -1000) 
        state.apply_impulse(Vector3.ZERO, impulse_vector)

In this example, when the player presses the action button, an impulse is applied that would push the character backward relative to the camera’s forward direction, simulating a push-off in zero-G.

Moreover, real-world physics often involve rotational limitations, or constraints. To emulate this, we can clamp the angular velocity of a RigidBody3D:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    state.angular_velocity = state.angular_velocity.clamped(2.0)

With this code, the angular velocity will never exceed a magnitude of `2.0`, which mimics a mechanical limitation or damping effect found in actual physical systems.

Lastly, interacting with the environment can also mean detecting when an object leaves a certain area. For this, you could check the position and take actions if it’s outside boundaries:

func _integrate_forces(state: PhysicsDirectBodyState3D) -> void:
    var position = state.transform.origin
    if position.y < -10:
        # Object has fallen too far, maybe reset it or trigger game over
        print("Object fell out of the game area!")

These examples serve to illustrate the versatility and depth of control that PhysicsDirectBodyState3D provides in Godot. By becoming proficient with this class, we open up a realm of interactivity and realism in our games that will captivate players and distinguish our creations. As we continue to push the bounds of what’s possible in Godot, mastering such tools is a significant step towards crafting truly immersive and dynamic game experiences.

Continue Your Game Development Journey

Congratulations on taking this step into the detailed world of Godot’s PhysicsDirectBodyState3D! There’s always more to learn and ways to refine your game development skills. If you’re eager to delve deeper and broaden your knowledge, we invite you to explore our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive collection of courses is tailored to guide both beginners and advanced developers through the art of game creation using the powerful Godot 4 engine.

With our Mini-Degree, you will learn about crafting both 2D and 3D games, how to handle assets, control game flow, and implement engaging gameplay mechanics across various genres. The self-paced approach ensures that you can learn effectively on your own terms and schedule, using any device. Each course is packed with hands-on lessons and quizzes to cement your understanding and sharpen your skills.

For those who seek an even wider array of knowledge, our full array of Godot courses at Zenva Academy are here to satisfy your curiosity. Whether your interest lies in furthering your programming capabilities, designing intricate game worlds, or expanding on the concepts you’ve learned here, Zenva is your reliable partner on this journey to becoming a professional game developer. Join us, and set your game development dreams into motion!


There you have it! By embracing the complexities and capabilities of PhysicsDirectBodyState3D in Godot 4, you’ve equipped yourself with the knowledge to add nuanced physical interactions to your games. This is just the beginning—there’s a universe of possibilities waiting to be discovered and mastered. Remember that with each new skill, you edge closer to translating your most creative visions into engaging gaming experiences.

We at Zenva encourage you to continue pushing the boundaries of game development. Embrace the challenge, keep learning, and level up your skills with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. Let’s forge the future of gaming together—one line of code, one physics simulation, one game at a time!

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