TSCN file format

The TSCN (text scene) file format represents a single scene tree inside Godot. Unlike binary SCN files, TSCN files have the advantage of being mostly human-readable and easy for version control systems to manage.

The ESCN (exported scene) file format is identical to the TSCN file format, but is used to indicate to Godot that the file has been exported from another program and should not be edited by the user from within Godot. Unlike SCN and TSCN files, during import, ESCN files are compiled to binary SCN files stored inside the .godot/imported/ folder. This reduces the data size and speeds up loading, as binary formats are faster to load compared to text-based formats.

For those looking for a complete description, the parsing is handled in the file resource_format_text.cpp in the ResourceFormatLoaderText class.

File structure

There are five main sections inside the TSCN file:

  1. File Descriptor

  2. External resources

  3. Internal resources

  4. Nodes

  5. Connections

The file descriptor looks like [gd_scene load_steps=3 format=2] and should be the first entry in the file. The load_steps parameter is equal to the total amount of resources (internal and external) plus one (for the file itself). If the file has no resources, load_steps is omitted. The engine will still load the file correctly if load_steps is incorrect, but this will affect loading bars and any other piece of code relying on that value.

These sections should appear in order, but it can be hard to distinguish them. The only difference between them is the first element in the heading for all of the items in the section. For example, the heading of all external resources should start with [ext_resource .....].

A TSCN file may contain single-line comments starting with a semicolon (;). However, comments will be discarded when saving the file using the Godot editor.

Entries inside the file

A heading looks like [<resource_type> key=value key=value key=value ...] where resource_type is one of:

  • ext_resource

  • sub_resource

  • node

  • connection

Below every heading comes zero or more key = value pairs. The values can be complex datatypes such as Arrays, Transforms, Colors, and so on. For example, a Node3D looks like:

[node name="Cube" type="Node3D" parent="."]
transform=Transform( 1.0, 0.0, 0.0 ,0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0 )

The scene tree

The scene tree is made up of… nodes! The heading of each node consists of its name, parent and (most of the time) a type. For example [node type="Camera" name="PlayerCamera" parent="Player/Head"]

Other valid keywords include:

  • instance

  • instance_placeholder

  • owner

  • index (sets the order of appearance in the tree. If absent, inherited nodes will take precedence over plain ones)

  • groups

The first node in the file, which is also the scene root, must not have a parent=Path/To/Node entry in its heading. All scene files should have exactly one scene root. If it doesn't, Godot will fail to import the file. The parent path of other nodes should be absolute, but shouldn't contain the scene root's name. If the node is a direct child of the scene root, the path should be ".". Here is an example scene tree (but without any node content):

[node name="Player" type="Node3D"]             ; The scene root
[node name="Arm" parent="." type="Node3D"]     ; Parented to the scene root
[node name="Hand" parent="Arm" type="Node3D"]
[node name="Finger" parent="Arm/Hand" type="Node3D"]

Similar to the internal resource, the document for each node is currently incomplete. Fortunately, it is easy to find out because you can simply save a file with that node in it. Some example nodes are:

[node type="CollisionShape" name="SphereCollision" parent="SpherePhysics"]

shape = SubResource(8)
transform = Transform( 1.0 , 0.0 , -0.0 , 0.0 , -4.371138828673793e-08 , 1.0 , -0.0 , -1.0 , -4.371138828673793e-08 ,0.0 ,0.0 ,-0.0  )

[node type="MeshInstance3D" name="Sphere" parent="SpherePhysics"]

mesh = SubResource(9)
transform = Transform( 1.0 , 0.0 , -0.0 , 0.0 , 1.0 , -0.0 , -0.0 , -0.0 , 1.0 ,0.0 ,0.0 ,-0.0  )

[node type="OmniLight" name="Lamp" parent="."]

light_energy = 1.0
light_specular = 1.0
transform = Transform( -0.29086464643478394 , -0.7711008191108704 , 0.5663931369781494 , -0.05518905818462372 , 0.6045246720314026 , 0.7946722507476807 , -0.9551711678504944 , 0.199883371591568 , -0.21839118003845215 ,4.076245307922363 ,7.3235554695129395 ,-1.0054539442062378  )
omni_range = 30
shadow_enabled = true
light_negative = false
light_color = Color( 1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0 )

[node type="Camera" name="Camera" parent="."]

projection = 0
near = 0.10000000149011612
fov = 50
transform = Transform( 0.6859206557273865 , -0.32401350140571594 , 0.6515582203865051 , 0.0 , 0.8953956365585327 , 0.44527143239974976 , -0.7276763319969177 , -0.3054208755493164 , 0.6141703724861145 ,14.430776596069336 ,10.093015670776367 ,13.058500289916992  )
far = 100.0


A tree structure is not enough to represent the whole scene. Godot uses a NodePath(Path/To/Node) structure to refer to another node or attribute of the node anywhere in the scene tree. For instance, MeshInstance3D uses NodePath() to point to its skeleton. Likewise, Animation tracks use NodePath() to point to node properties to animate.

[node name="mesh" type="MeshInstance3D" parent="Armature001"]

mesh = SubResource(1)
skeleton = NodePath("..:")
[sub_resource id=3 type="Animation"]

tracks/0/type = "transform"
tracks/0/path = NodePath("Cube:")


The Skeleton node inherits the Node3D node, but also may have a list of bones described in key-value pairs in the format bones/Id/Attribute=Value. The bone attributes consist of:

  • name

  • parent

  • rest

  • pose

  • enabled

  • bound_children

  1. name must be the first attribute of each bone.

  2. parent is the index of parent bone in the bone list, with parent index, the bone list is built to a bone tree.

  3. rest is the transform matrix of bone in its "resting" position.

  4. pose is the pose matrix; use rest as the basis.

  5. bound_children is a list of NodePath() which point to BoneAttachments belonging to this bone.

Here's an example of a skeleton node with two bones:

[node name="Skeleton" type="Skeleton" parent="Armature001" index="0"]

bones/0/name = "Bone.001"
bones/0/parent = -1
bones/0/rest = Transform( 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, -1, 0, 1, 0, 0.038694, 0.252999, 0.0877164 )
bones/0/pose = Transform( 1.0, 0.0, -0.0, 0.0, 1.0, -0.0, -0.0, -0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, -0.0 )
bones/0/enabled = true
bones/0/bound_children = [  ]
bones/1/name = "Bone.002"
bones/1/parent = 0
bones/1/rest = Transform( 0.0349042, 0.99939, 0.000512929, -0.721447, 0.0248417, 0.692024, 0.691589, -0.0245245, 0.721874, 0, 5.96046e-08, -1.22688 )
bones/1/pose = Transform( 1.0, 0.0, -0.0, 0.0, 1.0, -0.0, -0.0, -0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, -0.0 )
bones/1/enabled = true
bones/1/bound_children = [  ]


BoneAttachment node is an intermediate node to describe some node being parented to a single bone in a Skeleton node. The BoneAttachment has a bone_name=NameOfBone attribute, and the corresponding bone being the parent has the BoneAttachment node in its bound_children list.

An example of one MeshInstance3D parented to a bone in Skeleton:

[node name="Armature" type="Skeleton" parent="."]

transform = Transform(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0, -0.0219986, 0.0125825, 0.0343127)
bones/0/name = "Bone"
bones/0/parent = -1
bones/0/rest = Transform(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, -1.0, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0)
bones/0/pose = Transform(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0)
bones/0/enabled = true
bones/0/bound_children = [NodePath("BoneAttachment:")]

[node name="BoneAttachment" type="BoneAttachment" parent="Armature"]

bone_name = "Bone"

[node name="Cylinder" type="MeshInstance3D" parent="Armature/BoneAttachment"]

mesh = SubResource(1)
transform = Transform(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.86265e-09, 1.0, 0.0, -1.0, 0.0, 0.0219986, -0.0343127, 2.25595)


AnimationPlayer works as an animation library. It stores animations listed in the format anim/Name=SubResource(ResourceId); each line refers to an Animation resource. All the animation resources use the root node of AnimationPlayer. The root node is stored as root_node=NodePath(Path/To/Node).

[node name="AnimationPlayer" type="AnimationPlayer" parent="." index="1"]

root_node = NodePath("..")
autoplay = ""
playback_process_mode = 1
playback_default_blend_time = 0.0
playback_speed = 1.0
anims/default = SubResource( 2 )
blend_times = [  ]


Resources are components that make up the nodes. For example, a MeshInstance3D node will have an accompanying ArrayMesh resource. The ArrayMesh resource may be either internal or external to the TSCN file.

References to the resources are handled by id numbers in the resource's heading. External resources and internal resources are referred to with ExtResource(id) and SubResource(id), respectively. Because there have different methods to refer to internal and external resources, you can have the same ID for both an internal and external resource.

For example, to refer to the resource [ext_resource id=3 type="PackedScene" path=....], you would use ExtResource(3).

External resources

External resources are links to resources not contained within the TSCN file itself. An external resource consists of a path, a type and an ID.

Godot always generates absolute paths relative to the resource directory and thus prefixed with res://, but paths relative to the TSCN file's location are also valid.

Some example external resources are:

[ext_resource path="res://characters/player.dae" type="PackedScene" id=1]
[ext_resource path="metal.tres" type="Material" id=2]

Like TSCN files, a TRES file may contain single-line comments starting with a semicolon (;). However, comments will be discarded when saving the resource using the Godot editor.

Internal resources

A TSCN file can contain meshes, materials and other data. These are contained in the internal resources section of the file. The heading for an internal resource looks similar to those of external resources, except that it doesn't have a path. Internal resources also have key=value pairs under each heading. For example, a capsule collision shape looks like:

[sub_resource type="CapsuleShape" id=2]

radius = 0.5
height = 3.0

Some internal resources contain links to other internal resources (such as a mesh having a material). In this case, the referring resource must appear before the reference to it. This means that order matters in the file's internal resources section.

Unfortunately, documentation on the formats for these subresources isn't complete. Some examples can be found by inspecting saved resource files, but others can only be