PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler in Godot – Complete Guide

Understanding the interaction between physical simulations and rendering is crucial when developing games or simulations that represent realistic environments. Godot Engine has emerged as a significant player in the game development arena, and with its comprehensive suite of tools for creating interactive content, developers have the power to bring their visions to life in intricate detail. One such tool that bridges the gap between physics and graphics in Godot 4 is the intriguingly named `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler`.

What is the PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler?

The `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler` is a Godot 4 class designed to handle the synchronization between the physics engine and the rendering server for soft bodies. A soft body is a type of object that can deform and bend in a realistic manner, much like cloth, jelly, or other malleable materials. The handler ensures that these deformations are accurately represented visually.

What is it for?

By utilizing this handler, developers are able to manage the way soft bodies interact with the game world and how they are displayed. This not only enhances the visual fidelity of the game but also ensures the physical interactions follow the rules set by the game’s physics engine.

Why should I learn it?

Delving into the `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler` provides several benefits:

– **Enhanced Realism:** Learning to use this class can significantly elevate the realism in your games or simulations through accurate representation of soft body physics.
– **Fine Control:** It offers precise control over soft body’s vertices and normals, allowing for a level of customization that can be vital for specific scenarios within a game.
– **Deep Understanding:** Gaining proficiency in using this intermediate-level feature will deepen your understanding of Godot’s 3D engine capabilities, setting you up for more advanced game development tasks.

Equipped with this knowledge, let’s step right into the coding side of things and see how `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler` can be used in practice.

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Setting Up Our Basic Soft Body

Before delving into the `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler`, let’s set up a basic soft body in Godot 4. This will provide the foundation which we will later enhance with our handler.

var soft_body =
var mesh_instance =
var mesh = New SphereMesh

mesh_instance.mesh = mesh

By adding the code above, we effectively create a new soft body, which in this case, is spherical. We then add a `MeshInstance` as its visual representation and finally add our soft body to the scene.

Initializing the PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler

Let’s initialize the `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler`. First, you need to retrieve the RIDs (Resource IDs) of the soft body and the mesh you are going to be working with.

var soft_body_rid = soft_body.get_rid()
var mesh_rid = mesh_instance.get_rid()

PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler.init(soft_body_rid, mesh_rid)

This code snippet assumes that `soft_body` is a reference to your `SoftBody` node and `mesh_instance` is a reference to your `MeshInstance` node. We then use the `init` method to start up the handler with the appropriate RIDs.

Updating Soft Body Visualization

After initializing, the handler needs to update the visual representation of the soft body as the scene plays out. The standard method to do this is within the `_process` function.

func _process(delta):

This code ensures that the rendering information for our soft body is updated every frame.

Applying Forces and Observing Deformations

To see the effect of our `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler`, let us apply a simple force to our soft body and observe the deformation.

func _input(event):
    if event is InputEventMouseButton and event.pressed and event.button_index == BUTTON_LEFT:
        var camera = get_node("Camera")
        var force = camera.global_transform.basis.z * -10

Whenever the left mouse button is pressed, an impulse is applied directly to the center of the soft body. Because we have set up our handler, you’ll see the soft body deform in response to this force. This is a simple interaction, but it demonstrates the capabilities of soft body physics combined with visual updates through the server handler.

Remember, since these interactions are happening in a 3D space, make sure to set up your camera and input mapping accordingly to properly detect and handle mouse input within the scene.

By the end of this section, you should have a functional soft body that visually deforms as you apply forces to it, providing a solid basis upon which we can build more complex examples and interactions in our next tutorial segments. Stay tuned as we continue to explore the potential of the `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler` in Godot 4.Let’s delve deeper into the mechanics of the `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler` and how we can control various aspects of the soft body through code examples. These will include adjusting physical properties, handling collisions, and adding constraints.

Adjusting Soft Body Physical Properties

To manipulate the physical properties of a soft body, such as stiffness or dampening, we can use the appropriate functions provided by Godot. Here, we adjust the stiffness of the soft body:

soft_body.physics_material_override =
soft_body.physics_material_override.stiffness = 0.9

The softer the material, the more it will bend and stretch, and vice versa. Remember to create a new `PhysicsMaterial` if you haven’t defined one already for your soft body.

Reacting to Collisions

Soft bodies can react to collisions with other objects in the scene. Let’s set up a collision signal to detect when our soft body collides with another object:

soft_body.connect("body_entered", self, "_on_SoftBody_body_entered")

func _on_SoftBody_body_entered(body):
    print("Soft body has collided with: ",

This code connects a signal `body_entered` to a custom function that will print the name of any body that collides with our soft body.

Working with Area-based Effects

Sometimes, you may want your soft body to interact with areas that have special properties, like areas of low gravity or high drag. We set up an area and modify the soft body’s physical properties when it is inside this area:

var area =

var area_material =
area_material.dampening = 2.0
area.physics_material_override = area_material

area.connect("body_entered", self, "_on_Area_body_entered")
area.connect("body_exited", self, "_on_Area_body_exited")

func _on_Area_body_entered(body):
    if body == soft_body:
        soft_body.physics_material_override.dampening = 2.0

func _on_Area_body_exited(body):
    if body == soft_body:
        soft_body.physics_material_override.dampening = 0.9

Here, we’ve set up an `Area` node and used it to change the damping of the soft body when it enters or exits the specific area. This showcases the potential for dynamic physical interactions within your game world.

Adding Soft Body Constraints

Sometimes you may wish to constrain parts of your soft body to prevent excessive movement or stretching. Let’s look at how to pin points of a soft body to hold it in place:

var pinned_point = Vector3(0, 1, 0) # Point at the top of the sphere in local coordinates
var pin_constraint = PhysicsServer3D.body_create()
PhysicsServer3D.body_set_mode(pin_constraint, PhysicsServer3D.BODY_MODE_STATIC)

PhysicsServer3D.pin_joint_create_soft_vs_rigid(pinned_point, soft_body_rid, pin_constraint)

This example creates a static body (a point in space, effectively) and then creates a pin joint that attaches a point on our soft body to this static point.

By working through these code examples, you’ll gradually develop a more comprehensive understanding of how `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler` aids in the integration of physics and rendering for soft bodies within Godot 4. Experimenting with these examples will give you the knowledge and hands-on experience you need to create rich, interactive soft body physics in your games. Stay with us as we continue to explore and learn the powers of Godot’s 3D engine together at Zenva.In this section, we’ll advance our understanding of soft body dynamics in Godot 4 by adding external forces, enabling self collisions, customizing the rendering with shaders, and more.

Applying External Forces

For more dynamic behavior, we can apply external forces such as wind or an explosion effect. To do this, let’s simulate a wind effect:

func _process(delta):
    var wind_direction = Vector3(1, 0, 0)
    var wind_strength = 10
    soft_body.add_force(wind_direction * wind_strength, Vector3.ZERO)

Here, we’ve defined a wind direction and strength which we apply to our soft body every frame during `_process`. This will cause the soft body to sway as if affected by a constant wind.

Enabling Self Collisions

Self collisions are necessary for a soft body that should respond to its own segments colliding, such as cloth folding over itself. Here’s how to enable self collision:

soft_body.self_collision = true

It’s as simple as that! This line ensures that the soft body will react to collisions with itself.

Customizing Rendering with Shaders

Shaders can personalize the visual characteristics of a soft body. Here’s a fundamental shader that modifies the color based on vertex height:

shader_type spatial;

void vertex() {
    VERTEX.y += sin(TIME + VERTEX.x) * 0.1;

void fragment() {
    ALBEDO = mix(vec3(0.0, 0.0, 1.0), vec3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0), VERTEX.y);

Setting up this shader on the material of the `MeshInstance` will create the effect of the colors shifting between blue and red based on the vertex height of the soft body.

Controlling Soft Body Pinning in Detail

To gain more control over which points of the soft body are pinned, we can specify the indices of the mesh vertices we want to pin. This snippet pins the top vertices of the soft body sphere:

for i in range(mesh.get_vertex_count()):
    var vertex = mesh.get_vertex(i)
    if vertex.y > 0.5:
        soft_body.set_point_pinned(i, true)

This loop goes through each vertex of the mesh, checks if its `y` coordinate is greater than `0.5`, and then uses the `set_point_pinned` method to pin it.

Handling Drag and Lift Forces

Flight simulation with soft bodies requires handling lift and drag forces realistically. Here’s an example of how to implement such forces:

func calculate_lift_and_drag():
    var drag_coefficient = 0.47 # Sphere's coefficient
    var lift_coefficient = 1.0 # This will vary
    var fluid_density = 1.225 # Density of air (kg/m^3)
    var area = PI * (soft_body.radius ** 2)
    var relative_velocity = global_transform.basis.z.normalized() * current_speed
    var drag_force = -0.5 * drag_coefficient * fluid_density * (relative_velocity * relative_velocity) * area
    var lift_force = 0.5 * lift_coefficient * fluid_density * (relative_velocity * relative_velocity) * area
    soft_body.add_force(lift_force, Vector3.UP)

This function calculates drag and lift forces based on the speed and orientation of the soft body and applies them accordingly. Adjusting coefficients and density can simulate different environmental conditions.

By integrating these code examples into your Godot 4 projects, you will gain the ability to craft intricate soft body interactions that take your games to a new level of detail and realism. These examples are a testament to the power and flexibility of Godot’s 3D physics engine, and mastering them will greatly enhance the quality of your game environments and the interactions within them. Keep experimenting, and watch as your game worlds come to life with rich, physically-based behaviors that impress and engage players.

Continue Your Game Development Journey with Godot

As you venture further into game development, continual learning will be the keystone of your journey. Whether you’ve just dipped your toes into the realm of game physics and rendering, or you’ve mastered the nuances of the `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler` in Godot 4, there’s always a new horizon to explore and new challenges to conquer.

To keep growing your skills and expanding your development repertoire, we wholeheartedly encourage you to check out our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This compilation of courses is meticulously designed to take you from beginner basics to advanced mastery within the Godot Engine. You’ll not only learn to wield the tools and scripting language that make Godot so powerful but also complete practical projects that will shine in your portfolio.

If you’re seeking a broader range of topics or wish to specialize your expertise further, our extensive collection of Godot courses is at your fingertips. With Zenva, you can indeed go from beginner to professional, augmenting your skills with the latest game development practices, honed through interactive lessons, coding challenges, and comprehensive quizzes. Remember, the hallmark of a skilled developer is continuous learning, so keep iterating, keep creating, and let your passion for game development be the drive behind your success!


Throughout this exploration of soft body physics and rendering in Godot 4 with the `PhysicsServer3DRenderingServerHandler`, you’ve garnered not just knowledge but also practical experience. This journey through code snippets and detailed explanations has unveiled the immense potential within the Godot Engine, setting you on a path to create games and simulations with stunning realism and engaging dynamics.

Embrace the tools and techniques you’ve learned here and continue to enhance your skills through our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, where every lesson is another step in crafting your future as a game developer. Your adventure doesn’t end—it evolves with each line of code you write and each project you complete. So go forth, innovate, and build the extraordinary, with Zenva by your side to guide, teach, and inspire your game development dreams.

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