SkeletonModification2D in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our deep dive into the world of 2D bone manipulation using Godot 4’s SkeletonModification2D class! Whether you are just beginning your journey in game development or looking to enhance your coding toolkit, understanding how to effectively utilize SkeletonModification2D can add a layer of polish and complexity to your character animations and mechanics. With Godot’s intuitive system, bringing your characters to life is more accessible and engaging than ever. So, let’s unfold the potential of SkeletonModification2D and see how it can elevate your projects!

What Is SkeletonModification2D?

The SkeletonModification2D class in Godot 4 is a base class designed for resources that interact with Bone2D nodes within a Skeleton2D. Essentially, this class provides a framework to operate on bones, allowing for a wide range of manipulations. This can range from simple transformations to advanced techniques such as inverse kinematics.

What Is It For?

At its core, SkeletonModification2D is built to create complex interactions within a Skeleton2D. Think of it as a toolkit to make your skeletons smarter, giving them the ability to automatically adjust limbs and joints in response to game events or environmental interactions. It’s a cornerstone for features like procedural animation and dynamic character movement.

Why Should I Learn It?

Diving into SkeletonModification2D presents several advantages:

– **Enhanced Animation Control**: Gain a higher level of precision and control over character movements without the need for numerous hand-crafted animations.
– **Adaptive Gameplay Mechanics**: Create characters that react dynamically to gameplay, such as looking at moving objects or adjusting their posture on uneven terrain.
– **Flexibility and Power**: Utilize Godot’s powerful inverse kinematics solution to solve complex animation challenges.

Understanding how to use SkeletonModification2D opens up a new dimension in your game development skills, allowing your creative ideas to come to life with fluid, responsive, and natural-looking character animations.

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Setting Up the Skeleton2D

Before we dive into manipulating our Skeleton2D with the SkeletonModification2D class, we need to set up our skeleton. This step is crucial for understanding how bone manipulation works.

// First, create a Skeleton2D node in your scene
var skeleton =

// Next, create and add bones to the skeleton
var bone1 =

var bone2 =

// Don't forget to call this function to update the skeleton's bone hierarchy

It’s important to name your bones properly since you’ll reference these names when using the SkeletonModification2D class.

Applying Basic Transformations

With your Skeleton2D ready, let’s apply some simple transformations. We’ll start by rotating a bone, which is a common requirement for animations.

// Assuming you have a bone named "Bone1" in your skeleton
var bone_idx = skeleton.find_bone("Bone1")
skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, Transform2D().rotated(radians(45.0)), 1.0, true)

This example rotates “Bone1” by 45 degrees. The global pose override allows you to temporarily modify a bone’s pose without changing the original animation.

// To scale a bone, you can use the following code
skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, Transform2D(1.0, Vector2(1.5, 1.5)), 1.0, true)

The above code scales “Bone1” by a factor of 1.5 along both the X and Y axes.

Working With Inverse Kinematics (IK)

Inverse Kinematics is a powerful feature for animating limbs. Here, we will set up a simple IK manipulation for a two-bone limb.

// Assuming "Bone1" is the parent bone and "Bone2" is the child bone
var ik_node =

// And then add the IK node to your skeleton modification stack

The code above tells “Bone2” to look at a target node. Make sure to adjust “../TargetNodePath” to point to your target node’s path.

Custom Modification Resource

In some cases, you may want to create a custom modification resource that isn’t provided out of the box by Godot.

// Create a new script inheriting from SkeletonModification2D and
// save it as ""
extends SkeletonModification2D

func _execute(modification_stack):
    var bone_idx = modification_stack.skeleton.find_bone("Bone1")
    var new_transform = Transform2D().translated(Vector2(20, 0))
    modification_stack.skeleton.set_bone_local_pose_override(bone_idx, new_transform, 1.0, true)

This ‘CustomModification’ resource will translate “Bone1” by 20 pixels on the X-axis during every frame it’s active.

// To use your custom modification resource, you can add it like this:
var custom_mod = load("res://").new()

Just make sure to replace “res://” with the path to your custom script.

By working through these examples, you’ll get a solid understanding of the basics of bone manipulation using SkeletonModification2D in Godot 4. These fundamentals set the stage for more complex and dynamic character movement in your games.Let’s delve deeper into the power of Godot 4’s SkeletonModification2D with more code examples.

Manipulating bones directly opens up a multitude of possibilities. The following code snippets reveal more of what you can achieve with this class.

Adjusting Bone Position

Next, to move a bone to a specific position, we can set its local pose directly:

// Move "Bone1" to position (x: 100, y: 50)
var bone_local_position = Vector2(100, 50)
skeleton.set_bone_local_pose_override(bone_idx, Transform2D(0, bone_local_position), 1.0, true)

This will override “Bone1″‘s current local pose position to the new coordinates.

Resetting Bone Modifications

At times, you might want to reset all modifications made to a bone. Here’s how you do that:

// Reset "Bone1" modifications

This code effectively clears any pose overrides that you’ve applied to “Bone1” and returns it to its base animation pose.

Modifying Bone Length

Adjusting bone length is useful for stretching effects. Take a look at how to do it:

// Increase the length of "Bone1" by 20%
var bone_length = skeleton.get_bone_length(bone_idx)
skeleton.set_bone_length(bone_idx, bone_length * 1.2)

This example augments the length of “Bone1” without affecting the rest of the skeleton.

Real-Time Bone Manipulation

To manipulate a bone in real-time, say in response to user input or procedural events, you would do it within the `_process` function of the script attached to your animated character.

func _process(delta):
    // Example: Rotate "Bone1" based on user input
    if Input.is_action_just_pressed("ui_right"):
        var bone_rotation_increment = 5.0
        var current_bone_global_pose = skeleton.get_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx)
        skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, current_bone_global_pose.rotated(deg2rad(bone_rotation_increment)), 1.0, true)

In this code, every time the user presses the “right” key, “Bone1” will rotate by 5 degrees.

Combining Multiple Modifications

To achieve more complex animations, you can combine different transformations on a single bone. You can do this by chaining transformations together.

// Rotate and translate "Bone1"
var new_rotation = Transform2D().rotated(deg2rad(30.0))
var new_translation = Transform2D().translated(Vector2(50, 0))
skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, new_rotation * new_translation, 1.0, true)

Here, “Bone1” is being rotated by 30 degrees and then translated 50 pixels on the X-axis.

Applying Forces to Bones

Sometimes, you might want to simulate physics on your bones, like applying a force or a torque. Below is an illustrative example:

var applied_force = Vector2(10, 0)
func _physics_process(delta):
    // Apply a force to "Bone1" that might represent wind or an explosion
    var current_position = skeleton.get_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx).get_origin()
    skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, Transform2D(0, current_position + (applied_force * delta)), 1.0, true)

In this snippet, a continuous force is being applied to “Bone1”, simulating a push to the right.

Animating Bones Over Time

For smooth transitions and animations, you may want to animate bones over a period of time, interpolating between two states.

// Animate "Bone1" from its current rotation to a target rotation over 2 seconds
var start_rotation = skeleton.get_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx).get_rotation()
var end_rotation = deg2rad(90.0) // Target rotation
var lerp_time = 2.0 // Seconds
var elapsed_time = 0.0

func _process(delta):
    if elapsed_time < lerp_time:
        elapsed_time += delta
        var new_rotation = lerp(start_rotation, end_rotation, min(elapsed_time / lerp_time, 1.0))
        skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, Transform2D(new_rotation), 1.0, true)

This code gradually rotates “Bone1” to 90 degrees over a span of 2 seconds.

Through these examples, you have seen how the SkeletonModification2D class in Godot 4 provides robust options for bone manipulation, transforming your 2D animations and gameplay mechanics with precision and flexibility. By harnessing these techniques, you are now equipped to bring dynamic and intricate movement to your 2D game characters, enhancing the overall player experience.In Godot 4, you can go even further with bone manipulation by taking advantage of conditional logic and in-game events. Let’s explore some practical examples of these advanced techniques.

Using Conditionals with Bone Manipulation

You can adjust bone behavior based on various game states or conditions. For example, you might want the character to slump when low on health:

// Slump character when health is low
if character_health <= low_health_threshold:
    var slump_rotation = deg2rad(25.0)
    skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, Transform2D().rotated(slump_rotation), 1.0, true)

In this case, when the character’s health drops below a certain threshold, the bone is rotated to give a visual cue of the character’s weakened state.

Listening to In-Game Events

Reacting to in-game events can make your animations more responsive. Here’s how to animate bones in response to an event:

// React to an in-game event, such as a character taking damage
func on_character_hit(damage):
    var knockback_rotation = deg2rad(-10.0)
    skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(bone_idx, Transform2D().rotated(knockback_rotation), 1.0, true)
    # Reset the pose after a delay to simulate recovery
    yield(get_tree().create_timer(0.5), "timeout")

In the snippet above, when a character is hit, one of the bones rotates to simulate a knockback effect and then resets after a short delay, mimicking a recovery animation.

Animating Based on Player Input

You can add an extra level of interactivity by tying bone manipulation directly to player input, such as making a character look towards the direction of movement:

// Change where the character is looking based on movement direction
func _process(delta):
    if Input.is_action_pressed("ui_right"):
        skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(head_bone_idx, Transform2D().rotated(deg2rad(45.0)), 1.0, true)
    elif Input.is_action_pressed("ui_left"):
        skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(head_bone_idx, Transform2D().rotated(deg2rad(-45.0)), 1.0, true)

This example makes the character’s head turn in the direction of movement by rotating the head bone when the player presses the left or right movement keys.

Looping Animations with Bones

Sometimes you want to create animations that loop over time, such as a tail wagging. This can be done using sine waves for smooth cyclic movements:

// Tail wagging animation using sine wave for natural movement
var start_time = OS.get_ticks_msec()
func _process(delta):
    var elapsed_time = (OS.get_ticks_msec() - start_time) / 1000.0
    var wag_angle = sin(elapsed_time * 2) # 2 is the speed of the wag
    skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(tail_bone_idx, Transform2D().rotated(wag_angle), 1.0, true)

This code snippet utilizes a sine wave to create a wagging tail animation that smoothly oscillates back and forth.

Sequential Bone Animations

For more complex animations that require a sequence of movements, you can chain transformations:

// Perform a dance sequence by changing bone poses over time
var dance_moves = [deg2rad(10), deg2rad(-10), rad2deg(5)]
var current_move = 0
func _process(delta):
    if elapsed_time >= move_duration:
        current_move = (current_move + 1) % dance_moves.size()
        skeleton.set_bone_global_pose_override(leg_bone_idx, Transform2D().rotated(dance_moves[current_move]), 1.0, true)
        elapsed_time = 0.0
    elapsed_time += delta

In this example, we cycle through an array of rotation values, creating a dance-like animation by changing the leg bone’s rotation in a loop.

Using these advanced examples, you have seen how diverse the applications of the SkeletonModification2D class can be in your game development. By incorporating these techniques, developers can significantly enhance the interactivity and dynamism of 2D character animations in Godot, providing an enriched gaming experience that feels alive and responsive to the environment and player actions.

Continuing Your Godot Journey

The world of Godot game development is vast and full of possibilities. If you’ve enjoyed learning about SkeletonModification2D and the power of programmable animation in Godot 4, you’ll be thrilled to discover how much further you can take your skills. We encourage you to continue your learning journey, and a great next step is our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive program is designed to solidify your foundation and elevate your game development prowess, covering everything from the essentials to more advanced techniques across various game genres.

At Zenva, we strive to provide you with an array of resources that fit into your unique learning pathway. Whether you’re just starting out or seeking to hone your expertise with the Godot 4 engine, our courses are tailored to empower you with practical skills. For those eager to explore further topics in Godot and game development, be sure to check out our broader selection of detailed Godot courses. Embark on this exciting path, build a professional portfolio, and make your game creation dream a reality with Zenva.


As you’ve seen, mastering SkeletonModification2D in Godot 4 is just the beginning of what you can achieve in the realm of game development. The skills you’ve learned here will serve as a springboard for creating more intricate and reactive animations that can truly bring your game characters to life. Remember, practice is key – so continue experimenting, exploring, and most importantly, enjoying the creative process of game development.

Don’t stop here, though. Let your journey take you even further with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be unlocked. This is your chance to transform your aspirations into achievement and make an indelible mark in the gaming industry. Dive in with Zenva and emerge as a game development virtuoso ready to craft the next big hit!

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