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Physics introduction

In game development, you often need to know when two objects in the game intersect or come into contact. This is known as collision detection. When a collision is detected, you typically want something to happen. This is known as collision response.

Godot offers a number of collision objects in 2D and 3D to provide both collision detection and response. Trying to decide which one to use for your project can be confusing. You can avoid problems and simplify development if you understand how each works and what their pros and cons are.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • Godot's four collision object types

  • How each collision object works

  • When and why to choose one type over another


This document's examples will use 2D objects. Every 2D physics object and collision shape has a direct equivalent in 3D and in most cases they work in much the same way.

Collision objects

Godot offers four kinds of collision objects which all extend CollisionObject2D. The last three listed below are physics bodies and additionally extend PhysicsBody2D.

  • Area2D

    Area2D nodes provide detection and influence. They can detect when objects overlap and can emit signals when bodies enter or exit. An Area2D can also be used to override physics properties, such as gravity or damping, in a defined area.

  • StaticBody2D

    A static body is one that is not moved by the physics engine. It participates in collision detection, but does not move in response to the collision. They are most often used for objects that are part of the environment or that do not need to have any dynamic behavior.

  • RigidBody2D

    This is the node that implements simulated 2D physics. You do not control a RigidBody2D directly, but instead you apply forces to it (gravity, impulses, etc.) and the physics engine calculates the resulting movement. Read more about using rigid bodies.

  • CharacterBody2D

    A body that provides collision detection, but no physics. All movement and collision response must be implemented in code.

Physics material

Static bodies and rigid bodies can be configured to use a PhysicsMaterial. This allows adjusting the friction and bounce of an object, and set if it's absorbent and/or rough.

Collision shapes

A physics body can hold any number of Shape2D objects as children. These shapes are used to define the object's collision bounds and to detect contact with other objects.


In order to detect collisions, at least one Shape2D must be assigned to the object.

The most common way to assign a shape is by adding a CollisionShape2D or CollisionPolygon2D as a child of the object. These nodes allow you to draw the shape directly in the editor workspace.


Be careful to never scale your collision shapes in the editor. The "Scale" property in the Inspector should remain (1, 1). When changing the size of the collision shape, you should always use the size handles, not the Node2D scale handles. Scaling a shape can result in unexpected collision behavior.


Physics process callback