TextMesh in Godot – Complete Guide

In the world of game development, the ability to dynamically create text within your game can enhance player interaction and contribute to better overall user experiences. Whether it’s through in-game notifications, dynamic dialogue, or scoreboards, the way you display text matters. One tool at the forefront of this within the Godot 4 engine is the TextMesh class. It allows developers to generate three-dimensional text as a mesh, making in-game text integrate smoothly with the 3D environment.

TextMesh in Godot 4 is quite the powerful feature. It not only adds depth to your text, literally, but also offers a variety of properties to customize how your text appears within the game world. This flexibility is crucial in creating a visually appealing and readable UI for players. Whether you are new to Godot or an experienced coder looking to expand your skillset, understanding how to use TextMesh can be incredibly valuable.

What is TextMesh?

TextMesh is a class in the new Godot 4 engine that generates a PrimitiveMesh from text. It’s designed to work with dynamic fonts and create text that’s not just visually appealing but also three-dimensional, adding literal depth to your game’s UI. With TextMesh, you can transform any string of text into its own mesh object, complete with customizable depth and alignment properties.

The Benefits of Using TextMesh

Using TextMesh in your Godot 4 projects offers a range of advantages. It elevates the quality of your game’s text rendering, allowing you to create text that feels integrated into the game world. The control you have over properties like font size, alignment, and spacing helps ensure that your text is not only clear and legible but also visually harmonious with the aesthetics of your game’s environment.

Why Learn About TextMesh?

Learning about TextMesh is critical because it allows you to incorporate text in your games that isn’t limited by the flatness of the screen. Instead, you create meshes that exist in 3D space, enhancing interactivity and immersion. Additionally, understanding TextMesh and its properties opens up avenues for creative expression in your UI design, allowing you to create interfaces that are both functional and compelling.

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Creating Your First TextMesh

Let’s dive into how to create our very first TextMesh in Godot 4. To get started, you’ll need to have a Godot 4 project open. Once you’re ready, follow these steps to create a simple TextMesh.

First, add a new TextMesh instance to your scene:

var text_mesh = TextMesh.new()
add_child(text_mesh)

Next, you need to set the text you want to display:

text_mesh.text = "Hello, Zenva!"

Now let’s set the font for our text. We’ll use a dynamic font for this example:

var font = DynamicFont.new()
font.font_data = load("res://path_to_your_font.tres")
text_mesh.font = font

Finally, adjust the TextMesh’s transform to position it correctly within your scene:

text_mesh.transform = Transform(Basis(), Vector3(0, 0, 0))

With these simple steps, you’ve now created a 3D text object within your game.

Customizing Text Appearance

Customizing your TextMesh’s appearance allows you to align the text with your game’s visual style. Let’s explore various properties that can be modified.

To set the font size, which determines how big your text appears:

font.size = 64
text_mesh.font = font

To change the text color, we’ll modify the material of the TextMesh:

var material = SpatialMaterial.new()
material.albedo_color = Color(1, 1, 0)  # Yellow color
text_mesh.set_surface_material(0, material)

To adjust the depth of the text, which will add the 3D effect to it:

text_mesh.depth = 0.5

To align your text you can use the following property:

text_mesh.alignment = TextMesh.ALIGN_CENTER

These adjustments will ensure your text not only fits within your game’s environment but also looks good.

Animating Your TextMesh

Animating your TextMesh can bring your text to life. Let’s create a simple scale animation to make our text grow and shrink.

First, attach an AnimationPlayer to your TextMesh.

var animation_player = AnimationPlayer.new()
text_mesh.add_child(animation_player)

Create a new animation within the AnimationPlayer for scaling:

var animation = animation_player.create_animation("ScaleAnimation")
animation.length = 2  # The animation will be 2 seconds long
animation.loop = true

Add keys to the animation for scaling up and down:

animation.track_insert_key(0, 0, 1.0)  # Start scale
animation.track_insert_key(0, 1, 1.5)  # Scale up at 1 second
animation.track_insert_key(0, 2, 1.0)  # Return to normal scale at 2 seconds

Finally, set the track path for the scale property and play the animation:

animation_player.get_animation("ScaleAnimation").track_set_path(0, "scale")
animation_player.play("ScaleAnimation")

The TextMesh will now scale up and down in a continuous loop, adding a dynamic touch to your text.

Interacting with TextMesh

Interactivity with TextMesh is crucial when considering gameplay elements like score updates or in-game notifications.

To change the text in response to an event, you can simply assign a new string to the `text` property:

text_mesh.text = "Score: " + str(player_score)

For toggling visibility when events occur, you can show or hide the TextMesh:

# Show the TextMesh
text_mesh.show()

# Hide the TextMesh
text_mesh.hide()

By harnessing these snippets and concepts, you can begin to create more complex interactive text setups, which are invaluable for engaging and dynamic game design.Responsive text is a vital feature in games. Let’s see how we can adjust the TextMesh visibility based on the player’s proximity in Godot 4:

Assume we have a function that is called whenever a player gets close to an object:

func _on_Player_proximity_change(is_close: bool):
    if is_close:
        text_mesh.show()
    else:
        text_mesh.hide()

Another example is modifying the text based on game events like item pickups:

func _on_Item_pickup(item_name: String):
    text_mesh.text = "You picked up a " + item_name
    # Optionally, reset the text after a delay
    yield(get_tree().create_timer(2.0), "timeout")
    text_mesh.text = "Explore the world!"

Additionally, for immersion, we might want the text to face the player at all times. Here is how we can orient the TextMesh towards the player’s position:

func _process(delta):
    var player_pos = player.global_transform.origin
    var text_direction = (text_mesh.global_transform.origin - player_pos).normalized()
    text_mesh.look_at(text_mesh.global_transform.origin - text_direction, Vector3.UP)

Creating a typewriter effect where text appears letter by letter can be quite engaging for players:

func _on_Start_typewriter_effect():
    var full_text = "This is an example of a typewriter effect"
    var displayed_text = ""
    var char_index = 0
    text_mesh.text = displayed_text

    var timer = Timer.new()
    timer.wait_time = 0.1 # Time between letters
    timer.connect("timeout", self, "_on_Timer_timeout", [full_text, displayed_text, char_index, timer])
    add_child(timer)
    timer.start()

func _on_Timer_timeout(full_text, displayed_text, char_index, timer):
    if char_index < full_text.length():
        displayed_text += full_text[char_index]
        text_mesh.text = displayed_text
        char_index += 1
    else:
        timer.stop()
        remove_child(timer)
        timer.queue_free() # Clean up

These are just a few examples of how you can interact with TextMesh in your Godot 4 game to create a dynamic and engaging interface. As always, we encourage you to play around with these features, experiment with the properties, and see how they can enhance your game’s user experience. With TextMesh, the potential for innovative text-related interactions is vast, so seize the opportunity to make your game stand out!TextMesh can also be animated to follow a path, adding significant visual appeal to your game’s text elements. Let’s say you want to make your text follow a curved line when a special event occurs, like a level completion or an achievement:

func _on_SpecialEvent():
    var path = Curve3D.new()
    path.add_point(Vector3(0, 0, 0))
    path.add_point(Vector3(1, 2, -1))
    path.add_point(Vector3(2, 0, 0))

    var path_follow = PathFollow3D.new()
    path_follow.curve = path
    add_child(path_follow)

    text_mesh.set_path_follow(path_follow)
    animate_text_along_path(path_follow)

func animate_text_along_path(path_follow):
    var animation = Animation.new()
    var track_index = animation.add_track(Animation.TYPE_VALUE)
    animation.track_set_path(track_index, ":offset")
    animation.track_insert_key(track_index, 0, 0)
    animation.track_insert_key(track_index, 5, 1) # Assume it takes 5 seconds to follow the path

    var animation_player = AnimationPlayer.new()
    text_mesh.add_child(animation_player)
    animation_player.add_animation("move_text", animation)
    animation_player.play("move_text")

Another exciting interaction is making TextMesh react to in-game lighting. For that, let’s create a simple setup to make our text reflect light from a torch or similar light source:

func _ready():
    var light = OmniLight.new()
    light.global_transform.origin = Vector3(2, 0, 0) # Position the light right to the text
    add_child(light)

    var material = SpatialMaterial.new()
    material.albedo_color = Color(1, 0.8, 0.6)  # Warm light color
    text_mesh.set_surface_material(0, material)

Responding to user input can be just as easy. Let’s create a scenario where pressing a key (‘Space’) changes the text’s content and color:

func _process(delta):
    if Input.is_action_just_pressed("ui_accept"): # Assuming 'ui_accept' is bound to 'Space'
        text_mesh.text = "You pressed Space!"
        # Update color to red
        var material = SpatialMaterial.new()
        material.albedo_color = Color(1, 0, 0)
        text_mesh.set_surface_material(0, material)

You might also want to give your text some physicality, for example, making it explode when the player scores. This can be done by parenting your TextMesh to a RigidBody and applying forces to it when a certain event occurs:

func _on_Player_score():
    var rigid_body = RigidBody.new()
    rigid_body.add_child(text_mesh)
    rigid_body.global_transform = text_mesh.global_transform # Set the RigidBody's transform to that of the TextMesh
    add_child(rigid_body)

    # Apply explosion force
    rigid_body.apply_impulse(Vector3(0, 0, 0), Vector3(rand_range(-10, 10), rand_range(5, 15), rand_range(-10, 10)))

Lastly, imagine a scenario where the game needs to display text at the location of an in-game event, such as an enemy being hit. We can position our TextMesh instance at that exact spot:

func _on_Enemy_hit(position):
    text_mesh.global_transform.origin = position
    # Show damage text
    text_mesh.text = "10 Damage!"
    # Fade out the text after the hit
    fade_out_text()

func fade_out_text():
    var tween = Tween.new()
    add_child(tween)
    tween.interpolate_property(text_mesh, "visible", true, false, 1.0, Tween.TRANS_LINEAR, Tween.EASE_IN_OUT)
    tween.start()
    # Optional: Queue deletion after fade out
    tween.connect("tween_completed", self, "_on_Tween_completed")

func _on_Tween_completed(object, key):
    text_mesh.queue_free()

In the above examples, we can see how TextMesh can react and adapt to a variety of stimuli and scenarios in the game world. From following paths to receiving in-game lighting as well as physics interactions and real-time input responses, TextMesh provides an impressive array of options for developers wanting to create text that is not only informative but also an integrated and active part of the gaming experience. At Zenva, we’re excited to see how you’ll implement these features to enrich your Godot 4 projects!

Continuing Your Journey in Game Development with Godot

Embarking on the adventure of game development is an exhilarating challenge that can open doors to a world of creativity and technological mastery. If you’ve enjoyed learning about the TextMesh class in Godot 4 and are eager to delve deeper into making your own games, we at Zenva are here to support your learning pathway. Our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is a treasure trove of knowledge designed to elevate your skills, from seamless beginner-level introductions to more complex game development concepts. This program touches upon crucial aspects of game creation such as GDScript, game mechanics, and how to use both 2D and 3D assets to bring your ideas to life.

Within our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, you’ll find a series of courses tailored to help you build a solid portfolio of real Godot projects. Godot 4’s free and open-source nature, combined with the in-depth curriculum we provide, equips you with both the know-how and the tools you need to jumpstart or advance your career in game development. Whether you are a budding developer or someone with experience, our courses are structured to provide flexible learning options, including hands-on coding lessons and quizzes that cater to your specific learning pace.

For a broader exploration of what you can achieve with Godot or to find specific courses that align with your current focus, take a look at our full suite of Godot courses. Keep learning, keep creating, and remember that with Zenva, you can go from beginner to professional at your own pace, one fun and engaging lesson at a time.

Conclusion

As you’ve learned, the TextMesh class in Godot 4 is a powerful asset in creating responsive and visually engaging text for your games. It bridges the gap between static UI elements and dynamic 3D environments, ensuring that your game’s text is not just informative, but a compelling part of the player experience. Whether you’re adding simple notifications or crafting an elaborate in-game dialogue system, mastery of tools like TextMesh can significantly impact the feel and professionalism of your game projects.

We at Zenva are thrilled to be part of your learning journey. Dive deeper into Godot’s capabilities with our comprehensive Godot Game Development Mini-Degree and join a community of learners who, just like you, are on their way to becoming game development experts. Your odyssey in game creation is just beginning, and we can’t wait to see the magnificent worlds you’ll build and the fascinating narratives you’ll weave within them.

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