Hello World

This page shows you how to develop your own small extension library and load it from Godot. The tutorial is heavily inspired by Creating your first script from the official Godot documentation. It is recommended to follow that alongside this tutorial, in case you're interested how certain GDScript concepts map to Rust.

Table of contents

Directory setup

We assume the following file structure, with separate directories for the Godot and Rust parts:

project_dir
│
├── .git/
│
├── godot/
│   ├── .godot/
│   ├── HelloWorld.gdextension
│   └── project.godot
│
└── rust/
    ├── Cargo.toml
    ├── src/
    │   └── lib.rs
    └── target/
        └── debug/

Create a Godot project

We assume a Godot version of 4.1 or later. Feel free to download the latest stable one. You can download in-development ones, but we do not provide official support for those, so we recommend stable ones.

Open the Godot project manager and create a new Godot 4 project in the godot/ subfolder. Add a Sprite2D to the center of a new scene. We recommend that you follow the Official tutorial and stop at the point where it asks you to create a script.

Run your scene to make sure everything is working. Save the changes and consider versioning each step of the tutorial in Git.

Create a Rust crate

To make a new crate with cargo, open your terminal, navigate to your desired folder and then type:

cargo new "{YourCrate}" --lib

where {YourCrate} will be used as a placeholder for a crate name of your choice. To fit with the file structure, we choose rust as the crate name. --lib is used to create a library (not an executable), but there is some extra configuration that the crate requires.

Open Cargo.toml and modify it as follows:

[package]
name = "rust_project" # Appears in the filename of the compiled dynamic library.
version = "0.1.0"     # You can leave version and edition as-is for now.
edition = "2021"

[lib]
crate-type = ["cdylib"]  # Compile this crate to a dynamic C library.

[dependencies]
godot = { git = "https://github.com/godot-rust/gdext", branch = "master" }

The cdylib crate type is not very common in Rust. Instead of building an application (bin) or a library to be utilized by other Rust code (lib), we create a dynamic library, exposing an interface in the C programming language. This dynamic library is loaded by Godot at runtime, through the GDExtension interface.

Main crate

The main crate of gdext is called godot. At this point, it is still hosted on GitHub; in the future, it will be published to crates.io. To fetch the latest changes, you can regularly run a cargo update (possibly breaking). Keep your Cargo.lock file under version control, so that it's easy to revert updates.

To compile each iteration of the extension as you write code, you can use cargo as you normally do with any other Rust project:

cargo build

This should output to {YourCrate}/target/debug/ at least one variation of a compiled library depending on your setup. As an example, a Rust crate hello on Linux would be compiled to libhello.so:

$ cargo build
   Compiling godot4-prebuilt v0.0.0 
       (https://github.com/godot-rust/godot4-prebuilt?branch=4.1.1#fca6897d)
   Compiling proc-macro2 v1.0.69
   [...]
   Compiling godot v0.1.0 (https://github.com/godot-rust/gdext?branch=master#66df8f47)
   Compiling hello v0.1.0 (/path/to/hello)
    Finished dev [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 1m 46s

$ ls -l
╭───┬──────────────────────────┬──────╮
│ # │           name           │ type │
├───┼──────────────────────────┼──────┤
│ 0 │ target/debug/build       │ dir  │
│ 1 │ target/debug/deps        │ dir  │
│ 2 │ target/debug/examples    │ dir  │
│ 3 │ target/debug/incremental │ dir  │
│ 4 │ target/debug/libhello.d  │ file │
│ > │ target/debug/libhello.so │ file │
╰───┴──────────────────────────┴──────╯

Wire up Godot with Rust

.gdextension file

This file tells Godot how to load your compiled Rust extension. It contains the path to the dynamic library, as well as the entry point (function) to initialize it with.

First, add an empty .gdextension file anywhere in your godot subfolder. In case you're familiar with Godot 3, this is the equivalent of .gdnlib. In this case, we create res://HelloWorld.gdextension inside the godot subfolder and fill it as follows:

[configuration]
entry_symbol = "gdext_rust_init"
compatibility_minimum = 4.1
reloadable = true

[libraries]
linux.debug.x86_64 =     "res://../rust/target/debug/lib{YourCrate}.so"
linux.release.x86_64 =   "res://../rust/target/release/lib{YourCrate}.so"
windows.debug.x86_64 =   "res://../rust/target/debug/{YourCrate}.dll"
windows.release.x86_64 = "res://../rust/target/release/{YourCrate}.dll"
macos.debug =            "res://../rust/target/debug/lib{YourCrate}.dylib"
macos.release =          "res://../rust/target/release/lib{YourCrate}.dylib"
macos.debug.arm64 =      "res://../rust/target/debug/lib{YourCrate}.dylib"
macos.release.arm64 =    "res://../rust/target/release/lib{YourCrate}.dylib"

The [configuration] section should be copied as-is.

  • Key entry_symbol refers to the entry point function that gdext exposes. We choose "gdext_rust_init", which is gdext's default (but can be configured if needed).
  • Key compatibility_minimum specifies the minimum version of Godot required by your extension to work. Opening the project with a version of Godot lower than this will prevent your extension from running.
    • If you build a plugin to be used by others, set this as low as possible for maximum ecosystem compatibility. This might however limit the features you can use.
  • Key reloadable specifies that the editor should reload the extension when the editor window loses and regains focus. See Godot issue #80284 for more details.
    • If Godot is crashing, you may want to try turning off or removing this setting.

The [libraries] section should be updated to match the paths of your dynamic Rust libraries.

  • The keys on the left are the build targets of the Godot project.
  • The values on the right are the file paths to your dynamic library.
    • The res:// prefix represents the path to files relative to your Godot directory, regardless of where your HelloWorld.gdextension file is. You can learn more about Godot's resource paths here.
    • If you remember the file structure, the godot and rust directories are siblings, so we need to go up one level to reach rust.
  • You can add configurations for as many platforms as you like, if you plan to export your project to those later. At the very least, you need to have your current OS in debug mode.

Tip

You can also employ the use of symbolic links and git submodules and then treat those as regular folders and files. Godot reads those just fine too!

Export paths

When exporting your project, you need to use paths inside res://.
Outside paths like .. are not supported.

Custom Rust targets

If you specify your cargo compilation target via the --target flag or a .cargo/config.toml file, the rust library will be placed in a path name that includes target architecture, and the .gdextension library paths will need to match. For example, for M1 Macs (macos.debug.arm64 and macos.release.arm64), the path would be "res://../rust/target/aarch64-apple-darwin/debug/lib{YourCrate}.dylib".

extension_list.cfg

A second file res://.godot/extension_list.cfg should be generated once you open the Godot editor for the first time. This file lists all extension registered within your project. If the file does not exist, you can also manually create it, simply containing the Godot path to your .gdextension file:

res://HelloWorld.gdextension

Your first Rust extension

.gdignore

If you do not follow the recommended gdext project directory setup of having separate rust/ and godot/ directories and instead place your rust source directly within your Godot project, then please consider adding a .gdignore file at the root folder of your Rust code. This avoids cases where the Rust Compiler may produce a file in your rust folder with an ambiguous extension such as .obj, which the Godot Editor may inappropriately attempt to import, resulting in an error and preventing you from building your project.

Rust entry point

As mentioned earlier, our compiled C library needs to expose an entry point to Godot: a C function that can be called through the GDExtension. Setting this up requires quite some low-level FFI code, which gdext abstracts for you.

In your lib.rs, replace the template with the following:

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use godot::prelude::*;

struct MyExtension;

#[gdextension]
unsafe impl ExtensionLibrary for MyExtension {}
}

There are multiple things going on here:

  1. Place the prelude module from the godot crate into scope. This module contains the most common symbols in the gdext API.
  2. Define a struct called MyExtension. This is just a type tag without data or methods, you can name it however you like.
  3. Implement the ExtensionLibrary trait for our type, and mark it with the #[gdextension] attribute.

The last point declares the actual GDExtension entry point, and the proc-macro attribute takes care of the low-level details.

Creating a Rust class

Now, let's write Rust code to define a class that can be used in Godot.

Every class inherits an existing Godot-provided class (its base class or just base). Rust does not natively support inheritance, but the gdext API emulates it to a certain extent.

Class declaration

In this example, we declare a class called Player, which inherits Sprite2D (a node type):

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use godot::prelude::*;
use godot::engine::Sprite2D;

#[derive(GodotClass)]
#[class(base=Sprite2D)]
struct Player {
    speed: f64,
    angular_speed: f64,

    base: Base<Sprite2D>
}
}

Let's break this down.

  1. The gdext prelude contains the most common symbols. Less frequent classes are located in the engine module.

  2. The #[derive] attribute registers Player as a class in the Godot engine. See API docs for details about #[derive(GodotClass)].

  3. The optional #[class] attribute configures how the class is registered. In this case, we specify that Player inherits Godot's Sprite2D class. If you don't specify the base key, the base class will implicitly be RefCounted, just as if you omitted the extends keyword in GDScript.

  4. We define two fields speed and angular_speed for the logic. These are regular Rust fields, no magic involved. More about their use later.

  5. The Base<T> type is used for the base field, which allows self to access the base instance (via composition, as Rust does not have native inheritance). This enables two methods that can be accessed as self.base() and self.base_mut() on your type (through an extension trait).

    • T must match the declared base class. For example, #[class(base=Sprite2D)] implies Base<Sprite2D>.
    • The name can be freely chosen, but base is a common convention.
    • You do not have to declare this field. If it is absent, you cannot access the base object from within self. This is often not a problem, e.g. in data bundles inheriting RefCounted.

Correct node type

When adding an instance of your Player class to the scene, make sure to select node type Player and not its base Sprite2D. Otherwise, your Rust logic will not run. We will guide you to make that change to your scene later, when you're ready to test it.

If Godot fails to load a Rust class (e.g. due to an error in your extension), it may silently replace it with its base class. Use version control (git) to check for unwanted changes in .tscn files.

Method declaration

Now let's add some logic. We start with overriding the init method, also known as the constructor. This corresponds to GDScript's _init() function.

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use godot::engine::ISprite2D;

#[godot_api]
impl ISprite2D for Player {
    fn init(base: Base<Sprite2D>) -> Self {
        godot_print!("Hello, world!"); // Prints to the Godot console
        
        Self {
            speed: 400.0,
            angular_speed: std::f64::consts::PI,
            base,
        }
    }
}
}

Again, those are multiple pieces working together, let's go through them one by one.

  1. #[godot_api] - this lets gdext know that the following impl block is part of the Rust API to expose to Godot. This attribute is required here; accidentally forgetting it will cause a compile error.

  2. impl ISprite2D - each of the engine classes has a I{ClassName} trait, which comes with virtual functions for that specific class, as well as general-purpose functionality such as init (the constructor) or to_string (String conversion). The trait has no required methods.

  3. The init constructor is an associated function ("static method" in other languages) that takes the base instance as argument and returns a constructed instance of Self. While the base is usually just forwarded, the constructor is the place to initialize all your other fields. In this example, we assign initial values 400.0 and PI.

Now that initialization is sorted out, we can move on to actual logic. We would like to continuously rotate the sprite, and thus override the process() method. This corresponds to GDScript's _process(). If you need a fixed framerate, use physics_process() instead.

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use godot::engine::ISprite2D;

#[godot_api]
impl ISprite2D for Player {
    fn init(base: Base<Sprite2D>) -> Self { /* as before */ }

    fn physics_process(&mut self, delta: f64) {
        // In GDScript, this would be: 
        // rotation += angular_speed * delta
        
        let radians = (self.angular_speed * delta) as f32;
        self.base_mut().rotate(radians);
        // The 'rotate' method requires a f32, 
        // therefore we convert 'self.angular_speed * delta' which is a f64 to a f32
    }
}
}

GDScript uses property syntax here; Rust requires explicit method calls instead. Also, access to base class methods -- such as rotate() in this example -- is done via base() and base_mut() methods.

Direct field access

Do not use the self.base field directly. Use self.base() or self.base_mut() instead, otherwise you won't be able to access and call the base class methods.

This is a point where you can see the result. Compile your code and launch the Godot editor. Right click on your Sprite2D in the scene tree, and choose "Change Type..." Find and choose the Player node type, which will be a child of Sprite2D in the Change Type dialog that appears.

Now, save your changes, and run the scene. The sprite should rotate at a constant speed.

rotating sprite

Tip

Launching the Godot application

Unfortunately there is a GDExtension limitation that prevents recompilation while the editor is open before Godot 4.2. Since Godot 4.2, it is possible to hot-reload extensions. This means you can recompile your Rust code and Godot will pick up changes, without needing to restart the editor.

However, if you don't need to modify anything in the editor itself, you can launch Godot from the command-line or even your IDE. Check out the command-line tutorial for more information.

We now add a translation component to the sprite, following the upstream tutorial.

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
use godot::engine::ISprite2D;

#[godot_api]
impl ISprite2D for Player {
    fn init(base: Base<Sprite2D>) -> Self { /* as before */ }

    fn physics_process(&mut self, delta: f64) {
        // GDScript code:
        //
        // rotation += angular_speed * delta
        // var velocity = Vector2.UP.rotated(rotation) * speed
        // position += velocity * delta
        
        let radians = (self.angular_speed * delta) as f32;
        self.base_mut().rotate(radians);

        let rotation = self.base().get_rotation();
        let velocity = Vector2::UP.rotated(rotation) * self.speed as f32;
        self.base_mut().translate(velocity * delta as f32);
        
        // or verbose: 
        // let this = self.base_mut();
        // this.set_position(
        //     this.position() + velocity * delta as f32
        // );
    }
}
}

The result should be a sprite that rotates with an offset.

rotating translated sprite

Custom Rust APIs

Say you want to add some functionality to your Player class, which can be called from GDScript. For this, you have a separate impl block, again annotated with #[godot_api]. However, this time we are using an inherent impl (i.e. without a trait name).

Concretely, we add a function to increase the speed, and a signal to notify other objects of the speed change.

#![allow(unused)]
fn main() {
#[godot_api]
impl Player {
    #[func]
    fn increase_speed(&mut self, amount: f64) {
        self.speed += amount;
        self.base_mut().emit_signal("speed_increased".into(), &[]);
    }

    #[signal]
    fn speed_increased();
}
}

#[godot_api] takes again the role of exposing the API to the Godot engine. But there are also two new attributes:

  • #[func] exposes a function to Godot. The parameters and return types are mapped to their corresponding GDScript types.
  • #[signal] declares a signal. A signal can be emitted with the emit_signal method (which every Godot class provides, since it is inherited from Object).

API attributes typically follow the GDScript keyword names: class, func, signal, export, var, ...

That's it for the Hello World tutorial! The following chapters will go into more detail about the various features that gdext provides.