PhysicsMaterial in Godot – Complete Guide

Getting a handle on the PhysicsMaterial class in Godot 4 can revolutionize the way your games feel and respond to physical interactions. By understanding and implementing physical properties like roughness and bounciness, you can take your game’s realism and gameplay to the next level. Whether you’re new to Godot or an experienced developer, mastering PhysicsMaterial is a step towards creating more immersive and interactive worlds.

What is PhysicsMaterial?

PhysicsMaterial is a resource within Godot Engine 4 that encapsulates properties related to the physics behavior of surfaces. These properties influence how in-game objects interact with each other upon contact. Knowing how to use PhysicsMaterial can significantly impact the feel of movements, collisions, and interactions in your game.

What is it for?

The PhysicsMaterial class is utilized to adjust how objects in your game world respond when they collide. By tinkering with attributes like ‘bounce’ and ‘friction,’ you can simulate a wide range of material behaviors – from icy slips to sticky collisions.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding PhysicsMaterial opens up a playground of possibilities for game mechanics. With it, you can customize the physical properties of any object, adding depth and variation to gameplay. Learning how to use PhysicsMaterial can set your games apart, enabling you to craft experiences that feel as good as they look.

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Creating a PhysicsMaterial

First, let’s see how we can create a new PhysicsMaterial in Godot 4. You’ll typically manage this in the Godot Editor, but it’s also possible to do it via code.

var new_physics_material =

You can then assign this to a CollisionShape or CollisionPolygon by selecting the shape in question and setting the ‘material’ property.

# Assuming you have a reference to your shape
collision_shape.material = new_physics_material

Setting Bounciness and Friction

Bounciness (or restitution) is a property that determines how much an object will bounce back when it hits something. Friction dictates how much objects slide against each other. Adjusting these values is pivotal for making your game feel right.

# Setting the bounciness to 0.8, letting the object bounce quite a bit
new_physics_material.bounce = 0.8

# Setting the friction to 1 for high friction, which means objects won't slide much
new_physics_material.friction = 1

Using Presets and Custom Properties

While Godot offers default properties, you often need more control over your PhysicsMaterial. You can enable custom properties to fine-tune how your materials behave.

# Enabling custom bounciness and friction
new_physics_material.bounce_enabled = true
new_physics_material.friction_enabled = true

Now, with custom properties enabled, any changes to ‘bounce’ or ‘friction’ will reflect on your objects’ physics interactions.

Combining PhysicsMaterials

You might find yourself in situations where you have multiple object interactions, each with its own PhysicsMaterial. Godot handles the interaction between two materials by combining their properties.

For instance, if you have a ball (with high bounciness) falling onto a trampoline (also with high bounciness):

# Assuming ball and trampoline are CollisionShape references with their own PhysicsMaterial
var ball_bounce = ball.material.bounce # Let's say this is 0.9
var trampoline_bounce = trampoline.material.bounce # This might be 1.1

# The effective bounce when they interact would be a combination
# Godot provides a built-in way to calculate this, but this is just to illustrate
var effective_bounce = (ball_bounce + trampoline_bounce) / 2

Keep in mind, the actual combination algorithm may vary and is often more complex, ensuring realistic interactions based on both materials involved.

Adjusting Properties at Runtime

You’re not just limited to setting PhysicsMaterial properties in the editor. You can also modify them on-the-fly during gameplay to create dynamic interactions.

# Let's say you want to increase the bounciness as the game progresses
func _on_game_progressed(level):
    new_physics_material.bounce = min(new_physics_material.bounce + 0.1, 1.0)

# Or maybe reduce the overall friction for a slippery level effect
func _on_ice_level_started():
    new_physics_material.friction_enabled = true
    new_physics_material.friction = 0.1

Experimenting with changing properties at runtime allows for creative mechanics like power-ups that affect the environment or changing world conditions.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore practical examples of implementing and using PhysicsMaterial in Godot 4. These examples have laid the foundation, and we’ll build upon this knowledge in the next part of our tutorial series.

PhysicsMaterial in Practice

Let’s delve deeper into the practical application of PhysicsMaterial in Godot 4 to enhance your game’s physics interactions. Remember, the key to mastering PhysicsMaterial is experimentation and seeing the results in action.

Manipulating Gravity Scale

Within a PhysicsMaterial, you may want to adjust how gravity affects a particular object. For instance, you might want lighter objects to float down, while heavier ones sink faster.

# Suppose 'light_object' and 'heavy_object' are RigidBody references
light_object.gravity_scale = 0.5  # This object is affected by half the usual gravity
heavy_object.gravity_scale = 2.0  # This object is affected by twice the usual gravity

Changing Physics Properties on Collision

When two objects collide, you might want one object to change the other’s PhysicsMaterial properties. This can mimic effects like an object getting sticky after touching a glue-like surface or starting to bounce after hitting a trampoline.

func _on_Object_body_entered(body):
    if "Glue" in body.get_groups():
        physics_material_override.friction = max(physics_material_override.friction, 1.0)
    elif "Trampoline" in body.get_groups():
        physics_material_override.bounce = max(physics_material_override.bounce, 0.9)

In this snippet, we’re checking the group a body belongs to and adjusting the friction and bounce properties of our current object’s PhysicsMaterial accordingly.

Layered Materials for Complex Surfaces

Sometimes you’ll want to simulate surfaces that have multiple layers, like a road covered in snow. Here, you might layer a slippery PhysicsMaterial over a rougher one.

# 'road_material' and 'snow_material' are preset PhysicsMaterials for road and snow
var layered_surface =
layered_surface.friction = (road_material.friction + snow_material.friction) / 2
layered_surface.bounce = (road_material.bounce + snow_material.bounce) / 2

By combining properties of two materials, we create a new, complex behavior for our surface that accurately represents the layered effect.

Dynamic Adjustments for Weather Conditions

In open-world games, weather can impact environmental physics. For example, rain could reduce friction, making surfaces slippery. A script to dynamically adjust PhysicsMaterial properties based on weather conditions would look like this:

func adjust_for_weather(weather):
    match weather:
            physics_material_override.friction *= 0.7
            physics_material_override.friction *= 0.5
            physics_material_override.bounce += 0.1
            physics_material_override.friction = default_friction

Here, weather conditions trigger adjustments to the friction and bounce properties of the game objects.

Visual Feedback for Different PhysicsMaterials

Providing visual cues can enhance player experience by giving immediate feedback on the PhysicsMaterial properties of surfaces they’re interacting with.

# Say we have a 'surface_indicator' sprite node as a child of our object
func update_visual_indicator():
    if physics_material_override.friction  default_bounce:
        # Adjust Sprite for high bounce (like trampoline)
        surface_indicator.texture = load("res://textures/trampoline_surface.png")

Upon interaction, the Sprite node updates, allowing players to anticipate how their character or objects will behave on different surfaces.

By using these examples, you’re now equipped to start implementing custom and dynamic physics behaviors in your Godot 4 projects. Experiment with these snippets, adjust the values, test different scenarios, and observe how they influence your game. The power of PhysicsMaterial is in your hands, and it’s time to create some truly engaging and realistic gameplay experiences!When working with PhysicsMaterial, the key to a seamless gaming experience lies in the details. Let’s expand on practical scenarios where modifying PhysicsMaterial properties in code becomes invaluable.

Going beyond static property changes, consider making your game objects feel more dynamic. For instance, you can simulate damage by tweaking the bounciness of a character’s armor upon impact, or adjust friction on-the-fly to represent force fields or magical terrains interacting with the player.

Simulating Damage with PhysicsMaterial

Pre-damage, a knight’s armor might be sturdy and non-bouncy. Upon taking damage from certain weapons or environments, you might want the armor to lose its rigidity.

# Assuming 'armor' is a RigidBody with certain PhysicsMaterial properties set
func apply_damage_to_armor(damage_amount):
    var current_bounce = armor.physics_material_override.bounce
    armor.physics_material_override.bounce = min(current_bounce + 0.05 * damage_amount, 1.0)

As the armor gets damaged, the modification in the bounce value will make the impacts on the knight look and feel different, adding depth to the gameplay.

Force Fields and Magic Terrains

In games featuring magic or advanced technologies, players might cross force fields or magical terrains that temporarily alter their physical properties.

# Example force field encounter
func _on_ForceField_body_entered(body):
    if body.is_in_group("Player"):
        body.physics_material_override.friction = 0.0  # Zero friction, like ice

# Example magical terrain encounter
func _on_MagicTerrain_body_entered(body):
    if body.is_in_group("Player"):
        body.physics_material_override.bounce = 2.0  # Super bounce effect

These effects can be reversed upon exiting the field or terrain to return the player to normal physics.

# Reverting physics properties after leaving force field
func _on_ForceField_body_exited(body):
    if body.is_in_group("Player"):
        body.physics_material_override.friction = default_friction  # Restore default friction

# Reverting physics properties after leaving magical terrain
func _on_MagicTerrain_body_exited(body):
    if body.is_in_group("Player"):
        body.physics_material_override.bounce = default_bounce  # Restore default bounce

Collision-Based Property Changes

Collisions are not only about detecting contacts; they can be the trigger for changing physical behaviors. Here’s how you can create a slippery effect when an object collides with an ice surface:

# Assuming 'character' is the player character RigidBody
func _on_Character_body_entered(body):
    if "Ice" in body.get_groups():
        character.physics_material_override.friction = 0  # Override to slippery ice surface

# And then revert back when the collision ends
func _on_Character_body_exited(body):
    if "Ice" in body.get_groups():
        character.physics_material_override.friction = default_friction

The above examples showcase how we can use Godot’s PhysicsMaterial to not only make static materials but also to adapt the physical properties dynamically based on the in-game interactions. Creative use of this system can lead to more engaging gameplay, where the environment directly affects the mechanics around the player.

Remember, while we’ve provided specific use-case examples, the real power comes from how you integrate and expand upon these ideas. The PhysicsMaterial can become a tool to tell stories, create puzzles, and craft unique experiences in your games. With Godot 4, you have full control over the physical aspects of your game world, enabling you to design truly interactive and responsive environments.

Further Your Game Development Journey with Godot

Embarking on the path to mastering game development is an exciting adventure, and there’s always more to learn! If you’ve enjoyed delving into the PhysicsMaterial class and want to continue expanding your skills, we’ve got just the thing to keep you moving forward.

Our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is a comprehensive collection of courses designed to take you from a beginner to a confident game developer. You’ll learn to build your own games using the powerful Godot 4 engine, with a curriculum spanning everything from foundational 2D and 3D game creation to advanced gameplay mechanics. With flexible and accessible courses that fit around your schedule, start your game development career with us!

And if you’re looking to broaden your horizons with more Godot-related content, we have an extensive selection of courses tailored to various aspects of game development. Check out our full range of Godot courses and continue your journey in creating incredible games with the skills that will set you apart in the industry. Learn at your own pace, create portfolio-worthy projects, and earn certificates with Zenva.


Stepping into Godot 4’s gameplay canvas with the knowledge of PhysicsMaterial is like having the final piece of the puzzle that makes your game world come alive. Through the techniques and principles we’ve explored, you now possess the power to inject realism and personality into every interaction. But the journey doesn’t end here; there’s a universe of possibilities waiting for you to discover them!

Whether you’re experimenting with PhysicsMaterial or crafting your next indie hit, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next step in your game development adventure. Seize the opportunity to create, innovate, and inspire with the games you build. With Zenva’s guidance, you’re not just learning; you’re becoming a part of the future of game development.

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