2D movement overview

Introduction

Every beginner has been there: “How do I move my character?” Depending on the style of game you’re making, you may have special requirements, but in general the movement in most 2D games is based on a small number of designs.

We’ll use KinematicBody2D for these examples, but the principles will apply to other node types (Area2D, RigidBody2D) as well.

Setup

Each example below uses the same scene setup. Start with a KinematicBody2D with two children: Sprite and CollisionShape2D. You can use the Godot icon (“icon.png”) for the Sprite’s texture or use any other 2D image you have.

Open Project -> Project Settings and select the “Input Map” tab. Add the following input actions (see InputEvent for details):

../../_images/movement_inputs.png

8-way movement

In this scenario, you want the user to press the four directional keys (up/left/down/right or W/A/S/D) and move in the selected direction. The name “8-way movement” comes from the fact that the player can move diagonally by pressing two keys at the same time.

../../_images/movement_8way.gif

Add a script to the kinematic body and add the following code:

extends KinematicBody2D

export (int) var speed = 200

var velocity = Vector2()

func get_input():
    velocity = Vector2()
    if Input.is_action_pressed('right'):
        velocity.x += 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('left'):
        velocity.x -= 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('down'):
        velocity.y += 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('up'):
        velocity.y -= 1
    velocity = velocity.normalized() * speed

func _physics_process(delta):
    get_input()
    move_and_slide(velocity)
using Godot;
using System;

public class Movement : KinematicBody2D
{
    [Export] public int Speed = 200;

    Vector2 velocity = new Vector2();

    public void GetInput()
    {
        velocity = new Vector2();
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("right"))
        {
            velocity.x += 1;
        }
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("left"))
        {
            velocity.x -= 1;
        }
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("down"))
        {
            velocity.y += 1;
        }
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("up"))
        {
            velocity.y -= 1;
        }
        velocity = velocity.Normalized() * Speed;
    }

    public override void _PhysicsProcess(float delta)
    {
        GetInput();
        MoveAndSlide(velocity);
    }
}

In the get_input() function we check for the four key events and sum them up to get the velocity vector. This has the benefit of making two opposite keys cancel each other out, but will also result in diagonal movement being faster due to the two directions being added together.

We can prevent that if we normalize the velocity, which means we set its length to 1, and multiply by the desired speed.

Tip

If you’ve never used vector math before, or need a refresher, you can see an explanation of vector usage in Godot at Vector math.

Rotation + movement

This type of movement is sometimes called “Asteroids-style” because it resembles how that classic arcade game worked. Pressing left/right rotates the character, while up/down moves it forward or backward in whatever direction it’s facing.

../../_images/movement_rotate1.gif
extends KinematicBody2D

export (int) var speed = 200
export (float) var rotation_speed = 1.5

var velocity = Vector2()
var rotation_dir = 0

func get_input():
    rotation_dir = 0
    velocity = Vector2()
    if Input.is_action_pressed('right'):
        rotation_dir += 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('left'):
        rotation_dir -= 1
    if Input.is_action_pressed('down'):
        velocity = Vector2(-speed, 0).rotated(rotation)
    if Input.is_action_pressed('up'):
        velocity = Vector2(speed, 0).rotated(rotation)

func _physics_process(delta):
    get_input()
    rotation += rotation_dir * rotation_speed * delta
    move_and_slide(velocity)
using Godot;
using System;

public class Movement : KinematicBody2D
{
    [Export] public int Speed = 200;
    [Export] public float RotationSpeed = 1.5f;

    Vector2 velocity = new Vector2();
    int rotationDir = 0;

    public void GetInput()
    {
        rotationDir = 0;
        velocity = new Vector2();
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("right"))
        {
            rotationDir += 1;
        }
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("left"))
        {
            rotationDir -= 1;
        }
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("down"))
        {
            velocity = new Vector2(-Speed, 0).Rotated(Rotation);
        }
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("up"))
        {
            velocity = new Vector2(Speed, 0).Rotated(Rotation);
        }
        velocity = velocity.Normalized() * Speed;
    }

    public override void _PhysicsProcess(float delta)
    {
        GetInput();
        Rotation += rotationDir * RotationSpeed * delta;
        MoveAndSlide(velocity);
    }
}

Here we’ve added two new variables to track our rotation direction and speed. Again, pressing both keys at once will cancel out and result in no rotation. The rotation is applied directly to the body’s rotation property.

To set the velocity, we use the Vector2.rotated() method so that it points in the same direction as the body. rotated() is a useful vector function that you can use in many circumstances where you would otherwise need to apply trigonometric functions.

Rotation + movement (mouse)

This style of movement is a variation of the previous one. This time, the direction is set by the mouse position instead of the keyboard. The character will always “look at” the mouse pointer. The forward/back inputs remain the same, however.

../../_images/movement_rotate2.gif
extends KinematicBody2D

export (int) var speed = 200

var velocity = Vector2()

func get_input():
    look_at(get_global_mouse_position())
    velocity = Vector2()
    if Input.is_action_pressed('down'):
        velocity = Vector2(-speed, 0).rotated(rotation)
    if Input.is_action_pressed('up'):
        velocity = Vector2(speed, 0).rotated(rotation)

func _physics_process(delta):
    get_input()
    move_and_slide(velocity)
using Godot;
using System;

public class Movement : KinematicBody2D
{
    [Export] public int Speed = 200;

    Vector2 velocity = new Vector2();

    public void GetInput()
    {
        LookAt(GetGlobalMousePosition());
        velocity = new Vector2();
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("down"))
        {
            velocity = new Vector2(-Speed, 0).Rotated(Rotation);
        }
        if (Input.IsActionPressed("up"))
        {
            velocity = new Vector2(Speed, 0).Rotated(Rotation);
        }
        velocity = velocity.Normalized() * Speed;
    }

    public override void _PhysicsProcess(float delta)
    {
        GetInput();
        MoveAndSlide(velocity);
    }
}

Here we’re using the Node2D look_at() method to point the player towards a given position. Without this function, you could get the same effect by setting the angle like this:

rotation = get_global_mouse_position().angle_to_point(position)
var rotation = GetGlobalMousePosition().AngleToPoint(Position);

Click-and-move

This last example uses only the mouse to control the character. Clicking on the screen will cause the player to move to the target location.

../../_images/movement_click.gif
extends KinematicBody2D

export (int) var speed = 200

var target = Vector2()
var velocity = Vector2()

func _input(event):
    if event.is_action_pressed('click'):
        target = get_global_mouse_position()

func _physics_process(delta):
    velocity = (target - position).normalized() * speed
    # rotation = velocity.angle()
    if (target - position).length() > 5:
        move_and_slide(velocity)
using Godot;
using System;

public class Movement : KinematicBody2D
{
    [Export] public int Speed = 200;

    Vector2 target = new Vector2();
    Vector2 velocity = new Vector2();

    public override void _Input(InputEvent @event)
    {
        if (@event.IsActionPressed("click"))
        {
            target = GetGlobalMousePosition();
        }
    }

    public override void _PhysicsProcess(float delta)
    {
        velocity = (target - Position).Normalized() * Speed;
        // Rotation = velocity.Angle();
        if ((target - Position).Length() > 5)
        {
            MoveAndSlide(velocity);
        }
    }
}

Note the length() check we make prior to movement. Without this test, the body would “jitter” upon reaching the target position, as it moves slightly past the position and tries to move back, only to move too far and repeat.

Uncommenting the rotation line will also turn the body to point in its direction of motion if you prefer.

Tip

This technique can also be used as the basis of a “following” character. The target position can be that of any object you want to move to.

Summary

You may find these code samples useful as starting points for your own projects. Feel free to use them and experiment with them to see what you can make.

You can download this sample project here: 2D_movement_demo.zip