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Godot notifications

Every Object in Godot implements a _notification method. Its purpose is to allow the Object to respond to a variety of engine-level callbacks that may relate to it. For example, if the engine tells a CanvasItem to "draw", it will call _notification(NOTIFICATION_DRAW).

Some of these notifications, like draw, are useful to override in scripts. So much so that Godot exposes many of them with dedicated functions:


  • _enter_tree(): NOTIFICATION_ENTER_TREE

  • _exit_tree(): NOTIFICATION_EXIT_TREE

  • _process(delta): NOTIFICATION_PROCESS

  • _physics_process(delta): NOTIFICATION_PHYSICS_PROCESS


What users might not realize is that notifications exist for types other than Node alone, for example:

And many of the callbacks that do exist in Nodes don't have any dedicated methods, but are still quite useful.

One can access all these custom notifications from the universal _notification() method.


Methods in the documentation labeled as "virtual" are also intended to be overridden by scripts.

A classic example is the _init method in Object. While it has no NOTIFICATION_* equivalent, the engine still calls the method. Most languages (except C#) rely on it as a constructor.

So, in which situation should one use each of these notifications or virtual functions?

_process vs. _physics_process vs. *_input

Use _process() when one needs a framerate-dependent delta time between frames. If code that updates object data needs to update as often as possible, this is the right place. Recurring logic checks and data caching often execute here, but it comes down to the frequency at which one needs the evaluations to update. If they don't need to execute every frame, then implementing a Timer-timeout loop is another option.

# Allows for recurring operations that don't trigger script logic
# every frame (or