World3D in Godot – Complete Guide

As we dive into the intricate world of game development, it’s exhilarating to explore the components that bring a game to life. Amongst these, the World3D class in Godot 4 is a cornerstone for building immersive 3D environments. Imagine crafting a universe that reacts and evolves with every interaction, where the laws of physics and light can be manipulated with ease. The World3D class is the magician’s hat from which these wonders are pulled, making it an essential topic for developers stepping into the 3D realm of Godot.

Understanding the full capabilities of World3D opens up a treasure trove of possibilities for game creation. Whether you’re a novice developer taking your first steps, or an experienced coder looking to expand your toolkit, this class is a gateway to crafting compelling 3D worlds that captivate players. Ready to unlock the secrets of the World3D class? Let’s embark on this journey together and bring your virtual worlds to life.

What is World3D?

World3D in Godot 4 is a high-level concept that encompasses all the necessary elements for a functioning 3D environment. It’s like the framework of a house, holding together crucial structures such as physics for movement and collisions, visuals for rendering scenes, and sound for auditory feedback. This class is what you interact with when you want to define how objects behave and appear in your game’s universe.

What is World3D Used For?

The World3D class is used to create and manage the ecosystem where your 3D game’s phenomena occur. It’s where you set up:

  • Physics space: Defines how objects move and interact, allowing for realistic or fantastical simulations.
  • Visual scenario: Renders the aesthetic components, lights, and shaders that make up your game’s appearance.
  • Sound space: Controls how sound is used and heard within the game world, adding another layer of immersion.

It’s the central hub for implementing the underlying mechanics that make your game feel alive.

Why Learn About World3D?

Grasping the functionality of the World3D class is pivotal for any Godot developer aiming to create dynamic 3D games. Learning how to utilize its features means you’ll be able to:

  • Implement complex physics interactions and reactions.
  • Craft stunning environments with optimized rendering.
  • Design an engaging and realistic auditory experience.

Mastering World3D equips you with the knowledge to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in Godot, ensuring your games stand out with professional-level depth and polish.

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Creating and Accessing a World3D Instance

To begin experimenting with World3D, you first need to understand how to create and access an instance in Godot. When you start a new 3D scene in Godot, it automatically creates a World3D for you, but you can also create and manage your own. Let’s start simple:

var custom_world =

Now, suppose we want to assign this custom world to a viewport so that it renders this world instead of the default one:

var viewport = get_node("Viewport")
viewport.world_3d = custom_world

Remember to assign the World3D instance to the viewport you wish to control. This allows for complex scenarios where multiple worlds exist within the same game, each with its unique properties and environment.

Configuring Visual Environment Settings

Within a World3D, visual settings are key to defining the look and feel of the space. Below is how you would begin setting up the environment’s background:

var environment =
environment.background_mode = Environment.BG_SKY
custom_world.environment = environment

What if you wanted to tweak the ambient light or set the sky itself? Here’s the way to do it:

environment.ambient_light_energy = 1.5
environment.ambient_light_sky_contribution = 0.5

var sky =
var sky_texture =
sky.panorama = sky_texture = sky

By assigning an image texture to the sky and tweaking its contribution to ambient light, we can start to breathe life into the world we’re creating, setting the tone and atmosphere.

Controlling Physics Properties

Now let’s look at the physics aspect. To control the gravity of your world, for example, you’d do the following:

custom_world.direct_space_state.gravity_vector = Vector3(0, -9.81, 0)

However, gravity is but one piece of the puzzle. We may also want to override the physics properties of an entire layer within our custom world. Here’s how:

var physics_world = custom_world.physics
physics_world.set_layer_collision_mask(1, 0b1111111111111111)
physics_world.set_layer_collision_mask(2, 0b0000000000000011)

The first line sets the collision mask for layer 1 to collide with all layers, whereas the second line configures layer 2 only to collide with layers 1 and 2.

Setting Up Lighting and GIProbes

Lighting is crucial for realism and atmosphere in a 3D scene. Creating lights and affecting how they behave in your World3D is done as follows:

var light =
light.direction = Vector3(-1, -1, -1)
light.color = Color(1, 0.98, 0.91)

To further enhance realism within our world, we can utilize a GIProbe (Global Illumination Probe) to provide real-time global illumination:

var gi_probe =
custom_world.environment.gi_probe_data = gi_probe.get_probe_data()

This snippet first creates a new GIProbe instance, assigns its data to our environment, and finally adds it to our custom world, allowing for the lighting to react and adapt more naturally to the surroundings.

These basics establish the fundamental abilities of World3D, paving the way for a more detailed and nuanced understanding of the class’s potential. By mastering these elements, you’ll be well-equipped to harness the full capabilities of Godot’s 3D environment in your games.In World3D, managing sound plays a pivotal role in creating an immersive atmosphere. Let’s delve into setting up an audio environment:

var audio_environment =
audio_environment.reverb_bus_enabled = true
audio_environment.reverb_uniformity = 0.5
custom_world.audio_environment = audio_environment

With an `AudioEnvironment`, you have control over how sound reverberates, creating a soundscape that complements the visual environment dynamically.

Moving further, managing reflections and lighting with ReflectionProbes can greatly enhance realism:

var reflection_probe =
reflection_probe.extents = Vector3(10, 10, 10)

ReflectionProbes simulate accurate reflective surfaces, making metallic and glossy materials interact convincingly with the world’s lighting.

World3D also allows you to script complex behaviors with the physics system. For instance, querying the physics space for objects within a certain area can be done with a simple script:

var space_state = custom_world.direct_space_state
var intersected_bodies = space_state.intersect_ray(origin, end_point)

This performs a ray cast from `origin` to `end_point`, which can be used for line-of-sight checks, shooting mechanics, or simply detecting objects in a path.

To add dynamics to your physics objects, consider applying forces dynamically:

var body =
body.apply_impulse(Vector3(0, 0, 0), Vector3(10, 0, 0))

Applying an impulse to a `RigidBody`, in this case along the x-axis, can simulate explosions, jumps, or any sudden force effect.

Furthermore, tweaking properties of the `WorldEnvironment` can adjust how reflections and lighting behave globally throughout the game world:

var world_environment =
var environment = world_environment.environment
environment.adjustment_enabled = true
environment.adjustment_contrast = 1.2
environment.adjustment_brightness = 1.1

With the `adjustment` properties, you refine the visual tonality of the entire world—akin to post-processing filters in photography.

You may also iterate through all the objects within the World3D, perhaps for serialization, debugging, or bulk operations:

for node in custom_world.get_children():

This loop will print the names of all nodes that are direct children of the `custom_world` instance, allowing you insight into the current state of your world’s object hierarchy.

With these examples and your growing understanding of the World3D class, the power to shape and control your game environment is limited only by your creativity. As you experiment with these tools, remember that success in game development often comes from an iterative process—starting with the basics, learning from each step, and continuously refining your world to enchant your players.Continuing our journey through the capabilities of World3D in Godot, let’s inspect how to manipulate sky and weather effects to reflect the changing conditions in a game’s narrative or environment. Dynamic adjustments to the sky can drastically shift the mood of a scene:

var procedural_sky =
procedural_sky.sky_top_color = Color(0.0, 0.3, 0.7)
procedural_sky.sky_horizon_color = Color(0.1, 0.5, 1.0) = procedural_sky

Here, `ProceduralSky` is used to create a customized sky without the need for textures, giving you control over the colors of the sky.

If the requirement is for more dynamic weather changes, you can animate these properties over time. For instance, lerp between clear and overcast sky colors:

var clear_sky_horizon_color = Color(0.1, 0.5, 1.0)
var overcast_sky_horizon_color = Color(0.4, 0.4, 0.5)
procedural_sky.sky_horizon_color = clear_sky_horizon_color.linear_interpolate(overcast_sky_horizon_color, time)

The `linear_interpolate` method smoothly transitions the horizon color from clear to overcast based on a `time` value, which could be tied to in-game time of day or weather systems.

Furthermore, creating a day-night cycle by modifying the direction and color of the sun (a `DirectionalLight` node in your scene) simulates the passage of time:

var sun = custom_world.find_node("Sun", true, false) as DirectionalLight
sun.rotation_degrees.x = fmod(sun.rotation_degrees.x + delta * speed, 360)
sun.color = sun.color.interpolated(Color(1, 0.8, 0.6), time_of_day)

Incrementing the x rotation of the sun node simulates its movement across the sky, and interpolating its color can mimic the changing light as the day progresses.

For scenes requiring more customization, leveraging `ShaderMaterial` for visual effects opens endless possibilities. For example, customizing the ocean’s water shader to reflect storms:

var water_shader_material =
var water_shader_script = load("res://shaders/water_shader.gdshader")
water_shader_material.shader = water_shader_script

# Configure uniform variables here (e.g., wave intensity, reflectivity based on weather conditions)
water_shader_material.set_shader_param("wave_intensity", stormy_conditions ? 10 : 2)

var water_mesh = custom_world.find_node("WaterMesh", true, false)
water_mesh.material = water_shader_material

By dynamically setting shader parameters inside `ShaderMaterial`, you can vary the visual effects based on gameplay elements like weather.

One more powerful feature of the World3D class is its ability to create portals, which allow for non-euclidean space and optimization of rendering:

var portal =
portal.enabled = true

In this snippet, a `Room` node, which acts like a portal, is added to the world to cull areas of the scene not currently visible to the player, boosting performance.

And let’s not forget about how you can manage layer-based interactions for more complex gameplay mechanics:

options for managing layer-based interactions.
var player = $Player
player.add_to_group("players", true)
var collision_mask = custom_world.environment.collision_layer

if player.is_in_group("players"):
    collision_mask &= ~(1<<2) # Disable collisions with layer 2 (for example, enemies or obstacles)

In this example, you’re tweaking the player’s collision mask to selectively ignore certain layers, which comes in handy for gameplay elements such as stealth or power-ups that alter a player’s interaction with the environment.

Where to Go Next in Your Godot Journey

Embarking on a journey to master game development is both thrilling and challenging. Having explored the depths of the World3D class in Godot 4, you might be wondering about the next steps to elevate your skills and continue creating captivating games. Our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect companion for this adventure, whether you’re just starting or looking to solidify your expertise with a strong portfolio of real projects.

This comprehensive selection of courses covers the breadth of Godot 4, a powerhouse for both 2D and 3D game development. You’ll learn GDScript, the engine’s dedicated language, and delve into nuanced game development topics like player control, enemy mechanics, and more. It’s structured to guide beginners into becoming confident developers, embracing self-paced learning to accommodate your unique schedule.

For those keen to explore a wider variety of courses within this engine, our array of Godot courses offers targeted lessons to fit any skill level or interest area. Remember, the only way to sharpen your skills is through practice and continued learning. So, leap into action, harness the power of Godot 4, and let your creativity take flight as you build your own games and carve a path in the world of game development with Zenva.


As we wrap up our exploration of the World3D class in Godot 4, it’s important to recognize that this is merely the beginning of your game development saga. With every line of code, every environment sculpted, and every challenge overcome, you become more adept at translating your visions into virtual realities. Embrace this journey with eagerness, knowing that each step takes you closer to becoming the game developer you aspire to be.

Keep in mind that your pursuit for knowledge need not be a solitary quest. Join us at Zenva as we continue to offer you the tools, resources, and support through our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. Let’s shape your dreams into playable adventures together, one fascinating tutorial at a time. Remember, in the realm of code and creativity, you’re only ever one “run” button away from bringing something extraordinary to life.

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