Pygame 3D Tutorial – Complete Guide

Want to dive into 3D programming in Python using Pygame? You’re at the right spot. This tutorial series is all about unpacking Pygame’s potential for creating simple but impressive 3D games.

What is Pygame 3D?

Pygame is a set of Python modules designed for video game development. It includes computer graphics and sound libraries that you can leverage to make interactive applications and games. While Pygame is not specifically designed for 3D, there are ways to create 3D environments with it.

Why Use Pygame for 3D?

We’re often asked, “should I learn Pygame 3D?” Here’s why the answer is yes:

  • It provides a simple and straightforward way to delve into the constructs of 3D game development.
  • It lets you work in Python, one of the most learner-friendly languages out there.
  • The plug and play aspect of Pygame eases the learning curve for beginners.

Hence, if you’re eager to start your journey in 3D game development while sticking to Python, Pygame is your way to go.

What Can You Achieve with Pygame 3D?

While Pygame is not a 3D-focused engine like Unity or Unreal, you can perform some pretty cool 3D operations using its built-in modules. These include drawing shapes in 3D, moving objects in a 3D space, and manipulating a camera in 3D. This opens up a world of possibilities for exciting, immersive game creation right at your fingertips.

CTA Small Image




Setting Up Pygame

The first step in our journey to create a 3D game using Pygame in Python it to set up the library.

pip install pygame

You can verify that Pygame is properly installed with:

import pygame

Creating a Pygame Window

A Pygame window is the foundation of any Pygame program. Here’s how we can create a Pygame window:

import pygame

# Initialize Pygame

# Create a screen object
size = [700, 500]
screen = pygame.display.set_mode(size)

# Set the title of the window
pygame.display.set_caption("My first Pygame window")

# Run the game until the user closes the window
running = True
while running:
 for event in pygame.event.get():
   if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
       running = False


Drawing a 3D Cube

To make a 3D cube in Pygame, we use Pygame functions to draw a square, then transform the square in 3D space.

import pygame
import pygame.draw

window = pygame.display.set_mode((600, 600))

# Define the color of the cube
color = (204, 204, 204)

while True:
    # Draw the cube
    pygame.draw.rect(window, color, pygame.Rect(150, 150, 50, 50))

Now that we have a cube, you’d typically want to add movement or increase the depth of the figures, but that gets more complex, so let’s move on to learn some other basics.

Adding a Camera

To simulate a 3D environment, we should add a camera to the Pygame window. The camera will allow us to change the perspective and simulate motion in our 3D world.

# Add a camera to the Pygame window
camera ="/dev/video0", (640, 480))

# Start the camera

# Get an image from the camera
image = camera.get_image()
screen.blit(image, (0,0))

With these basic code examples, you’re well on your way to creating 3D games in Pygame. In the next part of this tutorial series, we will explore adding textures to 3D objects, managing lighting in the 3D environment, and controlling the movement of 3D objects. Stay tuned!

Applying Textures to 3D Objects

In order to make your 3D objects look more realistic and visually appealing, you can apply textures to them. Though Pygame doesn’t directly support 3D textures, you could use Python’s PyOpenGL library along with Pygame to achieve this.

Firstly, let’s install PyOpenGL via pip:

pip install PyOpenGL

Then, import the library with Pygame:

from pygame.locals import *
from OpenGL.GL import *
from OpenGL.GLUT import *
from OpenGL.GLU import *

Now, you can define your 3D cube with vertices and edges:

cuboidVertices=((1, -1, -1),(1, 1, -1),(-1, 1, -1),(-1, -1, -1),(1, -1, 1),(1, 1, 1),(-1, -1, 1),(-1, 1, 1))
cuboidEdges =((0, 1),(0, 3),(0, 4),(2, 1),(2, 3),(2, 7),(6, 3),(6, 4),(6, 7),(5, 1),(5, 4),(5, 7))

Then, draw the cube:

def DrawCuboid():
    for edge in cuboidEdges:
        for vertex in edge:

Introducing Lighting

Lighting is a crucial factor to simulate depth and make the 3D world more believable. Here’s an example of adding light to your scene:

from pygame.locals import *
from OpenGL.GL import *
from OpenGL.GLUT import *
from OpenGL.GLU import *


glColorMaterial(GL_FRONT_AND_BACK, colorMaterial)

glLightfv(GL_LIGHT0, GL_POSITION,  (-40, 200, 100, 0.0))
glLightfv(GL_LIGHT0, GL_AMBIENT, (0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 1.0))
glLightfv(GL_LIGHT0, GL_DIFFUSE, (0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 1.0))

The Light0 we’re enabling here is a standard OpenGL light.

Animating 3D Objects

You can use Pygame’s Time module to control the timing and speed of your game, making it possible to animate 3D objects. Here’s an example of how you can create a rotating cube:

import pygame
from pygame.locals import *
from OpenGL.GL import *
from OpenGL.GLU import *

clock = pygame.time.Clock()

# same cube vertices and edges definition as before

def cube(speed = 2):
    glRotatef(1, speed, speed, speed)
    # same cube drawing function as before

while True:
    for event in pygame.event.get():
        if event.type == pygame.QUIT:


This code will create a cube that rotates around all axes. The speed of the rotation can be altered by changing the “speed” value in the cube function. The “clock.tick(50)” command regulates the speed of the game, maintaining a steady 50 frames per second.

With the foundational knowledge you now possess, you’re ready to further explore the world of 3D game development with Pygame. Keep experimenting, keep learning, and most importantly, have fun. Remember, 3D game creation is not only a highly useful skill but also an amazing hobby!

Handling Keyboard Input

The ability to handle user input is a fundamental aspect of interactive applications, including games. Pygame makes processing keyboard input straightforward with its event handling system.

for event in pygame.event.get():
    if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
    if event.type == pygame.KEYDOWN:
        if event.key == pygame.K_LEFT:
            print("Left key pressed")
        elif event.key == pygame.K_RIGHT:
            print("Right key pressed")

The above code block will print a message to the console when the user presses either the left or right arrow key.

Handling Mouse Input

Mouse input can be handled similarly:

for event in pygame.event.get():
    if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
    elif event.type == pygame.MOUSEBUTTONDOWN:
        print("Mouse clicked")

In this instance, a message is printed when the mouse is clicked anywhere inside the Pygame window.

Adding Multiple 3D Objects

Adding multiple 3D objects in Pygame requires a list of objects:

cubes = [
    {"x": 1, "y": 2, "z": 0},
    {"x": -1, "y": -2, "z": 0},
    {"x": 2, "y": -3, "z": 0}

The above code defines a list of cube objects, each having x, y and z coordinates.

You can then loop through this list and draw each cube:

for cube in cubes:

Collision Detection

Pygame provides a Rect class for 2D games, which has a colliderect method for detecting collisions. However, for 3D collision, we need to write our own method. Here’s a simple example:

def detect_collision(cube1, cube2):
    return (abs(cube1['x'] - cube2['x']) < 2) and (abs(cube1['y'] - cube2['y']) < 2) and (abs(cube1['z'] - cube2['z']) < 2)

The function takes two cubes as input and checks whether they collide based on their x, y, and z coordinates.

Game Over Condition

A game over condition can be added once we have collision detection in 3D:

while running:
    for event in pygame.event.get():
        if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
           running = False

    for cube in cubes:
       for other_cube in cubes:
           if cube != other_cube and detect_collision(cube, other_cube):
               print("Game Over")
               running = False

In the above code, the game ends when any two cubes collide.

All these snippets add more layers of interaction and complexity to your game, making for a better user experience. Play around with the code, try new things and most importantly, enjoy creating your own 3D game world!

Where to Go Next?

Your journey into the world of 3D game development with Pygame doesn’t have to stop here. Take everything you’ve learned so far and always keep experimenting! There is a wealth of knowledge and fun waiting for you out there in game development. Every line of code you write only leads you closer to creating your own awesome 3D Pygame.

To further harness Python and its capabilities, we recommend exploring our Python Mini-Degree. This comprehensive collection of courses will guide you through various aspects of Python programming. Whether you’re a beginner or already familiar with Python, this Mini-Degree brings valuable content. It has projects ranging from writing algorithms to developing real-world applications. It also covers diverse libraries like Pygame, Tkinter, and Kivy. By the end of it, you’ll have not only increased your Python skills greatly but also added some fantastic projects to your portfolio.

For those wishing for a deep dive into all things Python, make sure to check out our wide range of Python courses. These will help you build a solid understanding of the language and its usage in various fields, such as game development, data science, and robotics.

At Zenva, we constantly strive to offer all levels of learners the best resources to develop their coding skills, create amazing games, and strive in the world of tech. We look forward to being part of your learning journey!


We hope this tutorial series has sparked an interest and given you a solid starting ground in 3D game development with Pygame. This powerful library, as you’ve seen, can quickly turn your Python coding skills into striking gaming worlds. There’s certainly something rewarding in being able to create interactive 3D environments from just lines of code!

At Zenva, we believe in the power of continuous learning. Becoming proficient in any skill requires constant practice, experimentation, and curiosity. If you’re craving for more Python learning, consider trying our Python Mini-Degree. It’s a comprehensive plunge into Python designed to enhance your skills and open doors to exciting opportunities. As you delve deeper into the art of coding and game development, remember – each step is a milestone. Happy coding!


Python Blog Image

FINAL DAYS: Unlock coding courses in Unity, Unreal, Python, Godot and more.