# Godot 3D Vector/Physics Cheat-Sheet:

**177**Member

This is supposed to be a reference for use with 3D Vector/Transform/Physics operations.

It won't contain much explanations but some examples. And it is supposed to never be complete.

There is already some information about 3D Vectors and Transforms:

https://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/tutorials/3d/using_transforms.html

http://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/learning/features/math/vector_math.html

http://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/learning/features/math/matrices_and_transforms.html

http://kidscancode.org/godot_recipes/math/transforms/

I also did two little godot demo projects which should be attached to this post:

# Just some Basics:

## Units:

Godot has values but no units. If you work with physics you might want some units sooner or later to have a scale or for output purposes.

I assume that the value 1 in Godots coordinate space is one metre. The phyics engine also seems to implicitly use 1 second as time scale.

I also assume that the mass value of 1 equals 1kg. Weight (better ignore it) depends on the gravity and is 1N(ewton) at 1g = 9.81m/sec².

So a velocity of 1 is 1 m/sec = 3.6 km/h.

So a gravity value 9.8 equals 9.8m/sec².

A force of 1 probably is 1N*m (Newton metre or 1 Joule)

## Transform:

http://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/classes/class_transform.html?highlight=Transform

contains 2 members:

### origin:

Just a `Vector3`

with the 3 coordinates of the position. So `transform.origin`

equals the property `translation`

.

### basis:

A matrix of 3 x `Vector3`

. It contains the normalized direction vectors of X/Y/Z-Axis.

B.t.w.: "normalized" means a vector is scaled to length 1

`transform.basis.z`

therefore is a `Vector3`

that contains the direction of the Z-Axis

This basically defines the rotation of a `Transform`

. A single component (i.e. `transform.basis.x`

) will give you the direction but not the orientation (where's the upside of the object/transform?).

### global/local:

For each `Spatial`

you can either use the property `transform`

or `global_transform`

### local?

A local `transform`

specifies the local rotation and position of a Spatial inside its parent.

So:

`transform.basis.x|y|z`

will return the axis-vectors rotated by the local rotation.

`transform.origin`

will return the local offset of a Spatial inside its parent.

### global?

Rotation/position in the games 3D-Space.

Example:

A turret on a tank. The `transform`

of the turret won't change when the tank moves and turns. But the `global_transform`

will.

If the turret turns, the values of the turrets `transform.basis`

will change to represet its rotation relative to the tank.

### looking_at / look_at / look_at_from_position

These methods basically all do the same:

`Spatial`

(and descendants) offers `void look_at ( Vector3 target, Vector3 up )`

and `void look_at_from_position ( Vector3 position, Vector3 target, Vector3 up )`

http://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/classes/class_spatial.html?highlight=look_at#class-spatial-look-at

`Transform`

offers `Transform looking_at ( Vector3 target, Vector3 up )`

http://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/classes/class_transform.html?highlight=transform#class-transform-looking-at

This methods calculates the `transform.basis`

(rotation) matrix which is needed to let the forward vector (Vector3(0,0,-1)) point from Transform.origin to the target coordinates. The "up" Vector defines the orientation of the resulting Transform.basis.

Example:

You have a node with a "head" mesh. When you let that head "look_at" another node and you pass a down-vector (Vector3(0,-1,0)) then the hair will be below the head. If you pass an up-vector (Vector3(0,1,0)) then the hair will be on the upside of the head. In any way the head will always point in the right direction, only the orientation is different.

Limiting the look_at to a plane:

You might often want to limit the rotation of your "head" to one axis. This can be achieved by setting the coord outside the plane to the same value. For example: If you want to limit the rotation to the y-axis (x/z-plane) then use the same y-coordinate for source and target.

`head.look_at_from_pos(Vector3(get_translation().x,target.get_translation().y,get_translation().z), \ target.get_translation(),Vector3(0,1,0))`

# Angles:

Avoid whereever possible. Try to reduce coords to 2D when working with angles or you might enter the "gimbal lock" hell.

That is: Angles tend to "suddenly" switch "upside down" at one point in rotation which can mess up angle based calculation.

## Course/Heading angle:

Spatials heading in X/Z space should be something like this:

`Vector2(get_transform().basis.z.x,get_transform().basis.z.z).angle_to(Vector2(0,-1))`

Since godot 3.x (yes it changed from godot 2.x) the coordinate system turns counter clock-wise. So if you want a compass heading you'd need to calc a bit: `compass_heading = 360-rad2deg(angle)`

(untested)

## Rotating a local offset by Spatials rotation:

Another way to rotate a local offset:

var relOffset = (0,0,-1)

var relRotPos = transform.basis.xform(relOffset)

# Velocities: (and some 3D Vector math)

Usually a `Vector3`

of a Body (i.e. RigidBody)

`linear_velocity`

delivers always the global velocity.

If you want to know how to convert this to a local/rotated velocity, see below.

## Tangential velocity:

This should calculate the speed of a point on a rotating Body:

var relativePosition = Vector3(0,0,-1) #sample value, 1m to "front"

var tangVelo = angular_velocity.cross(relativePosition)

How much km/h are this?

`var kph = tangVelo.length() * 3.6`

Note: this velocity is relative to the parent and the objects velocity.

The absolute/global speed of the rotating point should be `angular_velocity.cross(relativePosition)+linear_velocity`

## "Forward" velocity:

Which (local) "forward" speed has a Body?

Rotate global velocity by rotation basis in Bodies `global_transform`

and use only the z-component of the relative velocity.

`var kph = global_transform.basis.xform_inv(linear_velocity).z*-3.6`

Note: `global_transform`

is used because the `linear_velocity`

is also global.

## Absolute velocity of a child node which is on a rotating and moving parent body:

### #1: Get the position of a person on a rotating platform (in parent coords):

The person is at relative coordinate x=-2, z=-3 on that platform. (before rotation)

Now rotate this:

`var relRotPos = transform.basis.x * -2 + transform.basis.z*-3`

(see also "rotating a local offset" above)

### #2: Now calculate the tangential velocity (rotation speed) and add it to the current velocity (moving speed):

`var absVelocity=angular_velocity.cross(relRotPos)+linear_velocity`

# Downloads:

There are file attachments with the demo projects:

3d_vectors_demo_v3.zip: Is for use with Godot 3.x (tested in Godot 3.1 beta 3)

3d_vectors_demo.zip: Is for use with Godot 2.x (!)

(As download link because of technical difficulties in forum)

spaceship.zip: Simple space game about forces, rigidbodies with a following camera.

## Comments

235MemberGreat !

You led me to the right directions to find how coding movements and rotations for any object into a scene (including camera(s)). Without forgetting this excellent point about values and units into Godot.

It seems I have tons yet to read into the Godots docs … and all of this will be very usefull, many thanks.

177Member..continued

## Physics and forces:

## apply_impulse(position,force):

You'll probably need this a lot when working with 3D Phyics and i.e. RigidBodies.

The catch is that "position" is relative and global at the same time.

It is "relative" because the offset is relative to the Bodies

`global_transform.origin`

. (position)It is "a bit global" because it is in global coordinate space, (so a local offset has to be rotated to the Bodies direction if you want to use it)

So "position" is a relative rotated coordinate. Just check above for geting a local offset rotated to global space.

Or: Just an offset in global coordinate space.

The force vector is actually global, similar to the linear_velocity.

## Inertia:

The (angular) inertia of Bodies is implicitly calculated in the physics engine by using the collision shapes of a Body.

This process ignores the scale of the collision shapes. So don't scale your collision shapes but edit the extents!

Collision shapes based on custom shapes/meshes are probably ignored. I don't know if this changed in 3.x.

## apply_impulse or apply_force, where's the difference?

Applying an impulse is relatively straight forward to understand. It is like kicking a football. Applying a force could be understood as applying a force in a more permanent manner over a some period of time (=work).

In the case of

`apply_force`

it is important to understand that the applied force is automatically reset after each physics frame. So you don't have to reset a once applied force but you have to apply it again and again for each physics frame if you want it to be applied permanently.The difference between a force and an impulse should become more visible when the physics frame rate is lower than the screen frame rate. If you regularly apply an impulse each physics frame then (if the physics frame rate is low enough) the object should move more irregular compared to appying a force.

177MemberI added a demo_project to the initial post. Probably much easier to try this out in Godot. :-)

578UnconfirmedThis should be pinned.

It has so much information about Godot 3D.

177MemberI updated the initial post regarding Godot 3.x. If you want to download the demo project for Godot 3.x be sure to use file 3d_vectors_demo_v3.zip

177Member(moved to another post further up)

3,788AdminYou could separate the OP into multiple replies in the thread and link to them from the OP.

edit: It's also worth a mention that this is something you should consider contributing to the documentation project.

177MemberHi Megalomaniak. I split up & linked the post .

I have doubts though to add this to the documentation project. There are other pages on the godot doc site which cover similar topics. I.e. this (IMHO very good) post:

https://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/tutorials/3d/using_transforms.html

3,788AdminI mean if you find anything that isn't covered in docs yet but there is an article the info could fit with then you can probably open an issue on the tracker if you are not confident about making a pull request in there.

177MemberI added another demo project. It is a simplistic spaceship game which demonstrates the use of "forces" and rigidbodies. See the first post in this thread for a little preview gif. There's a download link at the bottom of the post.

I sometimes read posts/questions of people who are struggling with the use of rigidbodies. They try to directly rotate and move rigidbodies like they are used to do with kinetic bodies. Perhaps the demo project helps a bit. Be the "forces" with you.

2MemberThank you so much for this . The official docs were completely opaque to me. Now I'm starting to actually understand 3D in Godot

1,657ModeratorYeah, nice job!

83MemberHere's another great vector math (dot product) tutorial: https://www.allenchou.net/2020/01/dot-product-projection-reflection/

1,389A little more about inertia that I discovered. From what I can tell, Godot determines inertia by looking at the collision shape and the extents. If you use a sphere for example, then godot uses the formula for a hollow sphere of the same radius as the extents. If you use a cylinder it uses the formula for a hollow cylinder. If you use a box, however, it uses the formula for a solid cuboid with the extents. This is nice because you can use the extents to precisely control the moments of inertia about each of the body axes, but doing so requires solving a system of 3 quadratic equations for the extents. Note that offsetting the collision shape from the center of mass has no effect on the moment of inertia, as far as I can tell.