Pygame Collide Tutorial – Complete Guide

Step into the world of Python game development with Pygame’s powerful collision detection function – “pygame collide”. With Python’s simple syntax and Pygame’s robust library, creating engaging games and animations has never been easier.

What is Pygame Collide?

The Pygame Collide function is one of the various methods provided by Pygame, a cross-platform set of Python modules designed for creating video games. pygame collide” – aptly named – handles collision detection, a critical aspect of any video game development. It checks if two game elements, often referred to as sprites, have collided or overlapped in the game space. It’s worth noting that Pygame offers multiple collision detection methods that cater to different needs and levels of precision.

What is it for?

Collision detection is paramount in video game design. Whether it’s for detecting hits in a shooter game, collisions in a racing game, or interactions between characters and their environment, collision detection brings realism and interactivity to a game. In short, collision detection brings your game world to life, making it more dynamic and engaging.

Why Should I Learn It?

Mastering collision detection is not just about understanding the syntax of “pygame collide”. It’s about grasping a universal game mechanic that is relevant across different engines and languages. Therefore, understanding this core concept will empower you to build more interactive games, no matter what coding environment you’re using. So, ready to get started?

CTA Small Image

Getting Started with Pygame and Collision Detection

Before we delve into the trenches of collision detection, it’s essential to install Pygame, initialize it, and understand how to draw shapes or sprites, which will be our game elements.

First and foremost, install Pygame with pip:

pip install pygame

Once installed, import Pygame and initialize it using:

import pygame

Drawing Sprites

Drawing shapes in Pygame involves first setting up a screen or game window, then using Pygame’s functions to draw specific shapes. As an illustration, let’s create a 500×500 game window and draw a simple rectangle (our sprite):

screen = pygame.display.set_mode((500, 500)) 

# here we are setting up a display screen of 500x500

pygame.draw.rect(screen, (255,0,0), pygame.Rect(10, 10, 50, 50))

# here we are drawing a rectangle on our screen at (10,10) position with 50 width and 50 height. The color of the rectangle is red (255,0,0).

Introducing Pygame Collide

Now that we’ve got our sprites, let’s make them collide. To start with, consider two rectangles – let’s call them rect1 and rect2:

rect1 = pygame.Rect(50, 50, 50, 50)
rect2 = pygame.Rect(70, 70, 50, 50)

Here, we’re using Pygame’s Rect class to create our sprite rectangles. The supplied arguments represent the position and size of each rectangle.

Now let’s check if these rectangles collide:

if rect1.colliderect(rect2):
    print("rect1 collides with rect2")

The `colliderect()` method checks if ‘rect2’ has collided with ‘rect1’. In this case, it would print out our message as they overlap.

Using Pygame Collide in a Game Loop

In a realistic game setting, sprites don’t just sit around – they move! Hence, collision checks should happen in a loop, continuously. Consider a simple game loop:

running = True
while running:
    for event in pygame.event.get():
        if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
            running = False
    pygame.draw.rect(screen, (255,0,0), rect1)
    pygame.draw.rect(screen, (0,255,0), rect2)
    if rect1.colliderect(rect2):
        print("rect1 collides with rect2")

We’re continuously redrawing our rectangles and checking for collisions. As soon as we stop the game or the sprites collide, the print message will display, indicating a successful collision.

Manipulating Sprite Position

Static sprites are not particularly exciting. Let’s make our sprites move. We can adjust the position of a sprite by manipulating the ‘x’ and ‘y’ attributes of its Rect object:

rect1.x += 5  # moves rect1 to the right by 5 pixels
rect1.y += 5  # moves rect1 downwards by 5 pixels

By modifying these attributes inside our game loop, we can make our sprites move around the screen continuously:

while running:
    for event in pygame.event.get():
        if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
            running = False
    rect1.x += 5
    rect1.y += 5
    pygame.draw.rect(screen, (255,0,0), rect1)
    pygame.draw.rect(screen, (0,255,0), rect2)
    if rect1.colliderect(rect2):
        print("rect1 collides with rect2")

However, this would quickly drive our rectangle ‘rect1’ off-screen. To prevent that, we can add some bounds checking:

if rect1.right > 500:  # if rect1 hits the right edge of the screen
    rect1.x = 0         # reset it to the left

this keeps ‘rect1’ inside the screen boundaries by resetting its position once it hits the right edge of the screen.

User Input and Collision

Next, let’s control one of our sprites with user input using Pygame’s built-in event system. Here, ‘rect2’ will be controlled by the user:

for event in pygame.event.get():
    if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
        running = False
    elif event.type == pygame.KEYDOWN:
        if event.key == pygame.K_UP:
            rect2.y -= 5
        elif event.key == pygame.K_DOWN:
            rect2.y += 5
        elif event.key == pygame.K_LEFT:
            rect2.x -= 5
        elif event.key == pygame.K_RIGHT:
            rect2.x += 5

We’re now using Pygame’s KEYDOWN event to move ‘rect2’ around the screen according to user input. Combine this with our previous collision checks, to detect collisions as the user-controlled sprite moves around.

Advanced Collision Detection

Once you understand the basics, Pygame offers more advanced collision functionality, such as pixel-perfect collision, which checks collisions down to the pixel level. For more advanced topics, we recommend checking out the official Pygame documentation and tutorials.

From this tutorial, you should now have a fundamental understanding of Pygame and its collision detection capabilities. By mastering these essential game development skills, you’re now equipped to build more interactive and dynamic games. So why wait? Start designing today and let your imagination run wild!

Using Group Collisions in Pygame

Pygame also provides comprehensive support for handling collisions between groups of sprites, not just between two individual sprites. This is particularly useful in more complex games where multiple sprites may be involved in collisions.

For example, consider a situation where you’ve got a bunch of enemy sprites and you want to check if any of them have collided with your player sprite. Pygame offers a convenient method for this, `spritecollide()`, which checks for collisions between a sprite and a group of sprites.

Creating a group of sprites

enemies = pygame.sprite.Group()

for i in range(5):
    enemy = pygame.sprite.Sprite()
    enemy.rect = pygame.Rect(i*100, i*100, 50, 50)  # setting position of each enemy

We first create a Group using `pygame.sprite.Group()`. Then we add enemy sprites to this group. Each enemy sprite is represented by a Rect object with its own unique position.

Let’s add a player sprite and check for collision:

player = pygame.sprite.Sprite()
player.rect = pygame.Rect(50, 50, 50, 50)

# check for collisions
collided_enemies = pygame.sprite.spritecollide(player, enemies, False)

for enemy in collided_enemies:
    print("player collided with enemy!")

In the above code snippet, the `spritecollide()` method checks for collisions between the ‘player’ sprite and all sprites in the ‘enemies’ group. If any collisions occur, those sprites are returned in a list, and we print a message for each enemy the player collided with.

Handling Collision Response

Collision detection is just the first step. Once a collision is detected, your game needs to respond in some way—this is known as collision response.

For example, in a shooter game, if your bullet sprite hits an enemy sprite, the enemy might lose health or even be destroyed. Let’s simulate a simple collision response where a collided enemy is removed:

collided_enemies = pygame.sprite.spritecollide(player, enemies, True)  # True means sprites will be removed from the group when a collision occurs

for enemy in collided_enemies:
    print("player destroyed enemy!")

Now, when a collision is detected between the player and an enemy, the enemy sprite is removed from the ‘enemies’ group.

Using Collision Callbacks

Pygame also supports the use of collision callbacks, a function invoked when a collision occurs. This can provide more control over how collisions are detected and processed in your game. Let’s create a simple callback function that prints a message when a collision is detected:

def collision_callback(sprite1, sprite2):
    print(f"Collision detected between {} and {}!")

collided_enemies = pygame.sprite.spritecollide(player, enemies, False, collision_callback)

This collision_callback function will be called each time a collision occurs between the player and an enemy, printing out a message to inform us of the collision.

With these extended capabilities, you can better control collisions and make your game more dynamic and interactive. The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating immersive experiences with Pygame!

Where to Go Next

Python and Pygame have merely granted you a glimpse of the exciting world of programming and game development. However, this is just the beginning – there’s plenty more to unveil. At Zenva, we focus on providing extensive learning materials that range from beginner to professional level, covering various domains like game development, AI, and general programming.

We recommend checking out our Python Mini-Degree where we provide a comprehensive collection of Python programming courses. This Mini-Degree is designed to expedite your Python learning journey, covering fundamentals to advanced topics like algorithms, object-oriented programming, game and app development. Each course incorporates step-by-step projects to encourage learners to apply their knowledge and build real-world applications. Additionally, our curriculum gets regularly updated to sync with the latest industry developments.

If you want to explore more Python-related content, do make sure to visit our Python courses to dive into a broader collection. Remember, learning is a journey, not a destination – every step you take is bringing you closer to the pinnacle of your programming career. Take this journey with Zenva and go from beginner to professional, at your own pace.


If you’ve stepped into Python and Pygame for the first time through this blog or if you’re revisiting to solidify your understanding, we hope this guide brought clarity to Python’s game development and collision detection methodologies. Remember, these are foundational concepts that are as universal as they are crucial in game development, irrespective of the coding environment. Expand your game development repertoire with Pygame and explore the vast Python universe.

Learn, experiment, and create with the optimal blend of theoretical and practical knowledge provided in our Python Mini-Degree. Let’s not merely play games. Let’s build them together with Zenva, your educator and your guide to the world of coding, game development, and beyond.

Did you come across any errors in this tutorial? Please let us know by completing this form and we’ll look into it!

Python Blog Image

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