Godot Tutorial: The Basics For Absolute Beginners

In this introductory tutorial series, we’ll teach beginners how to use the basic controls within Gogot’s game engine. Godot is a free and open source game development software that game devs can use to make beautiful 2D and 3D games. 

Sovereign Moon Studios is dedicated to helping game enthusiasts bring their creative visions to life by teaching them how to make a video game from scratch without having to know how to code or draw. ⚡

A Crash Course Into The Basics of Godot’s Game Engine

In today’s tutorial I’m going to introduce absolute beginners to Godot. I’ll be covering the absolute basics and in this tutorial my goal is to get you familiar with Godot’s interface. As we progress through this tutorial series, I’ll be doing so with a focus on using no-code development tools rather than scripting to create games. This is because the Sovereign Moon Studios audience is interested in learning how to make games without having to code, so my focus will be on teaching you how to use visual scripting tools, which are built into Godot, instead.

So let’s jump in and start learning about Godot’s interface.

Introduction to Godot’s Interface

So to begin, open up Godot and create a new project. You’ll be prompted to enter your game’s name and storage location, so enter those now and then click on “create and edit”

So let’s begin by taking a look at Godot’s interface. I’m going to go through each window one by one now. The first thing you’ll notice is the main menus up in the upper left corner. Moving over to the right, you’ll see our workspaces, which we can toggle between to view our game or game scripts. Further over to the right we’ll see the playtest buttons which allow us to play, pause or stop our game.

Then we have a few different docks on the far left and right of the interface. Let’s look over to the left first. Notice here we have the scene dock. This is the dock that lists your active scenes assets. For example, if we had a castle in our scene, it would show up here.

Below that, notice we have our file dock system. This is the window that allows you to manage your game’s assets and project files. These files are general game files you can use in any scene. For example, imagine we had a castle, a horse and a bridge in our game. Currently, we might have only imported our castle into our scene dock above. However, we could import other assets down here to have on standby for when we’re ready to use them in one of our scenes.

Now over to the far right, we have the inspector window. The inspector gives us granular control over any asset we have selected in our scene dock. For example, if we had a castle in our scene, we could select the castle and then that castle’s properties would become available for us to edit in the inspector tab. We could edit things like the castle’s position, size, color, and many other attributes.

The inspector tab can be further broken down into classes, sections and properties. In this example with my cube, this spatial section is my class. This transform area here is called a sectio and the controls within that section are called properties.

In the bottom panel, you’ll see your output, debug, audio and animation windows.

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Game Object Control

Now above our game world are our 2D and 3D toolbars. The toolbars are a little bit different, but mostly function the same. These toolbars give you control over the objects within your game world. For example, with your cube selected, you could either use Q, W, E, R, T on your keyboard to access these object transform icons, or you can just select them with your mouse. For example, with this move tool selected, I can move my object in 3D space. Or, I can click on the rotate icon to rotate my object, or click the scale button to scale my object up or down.

Now, it depends on what type of game you’re working on, but you can use the F1 or F2 keys on your keyboard to toggle back and forth between the 2D and 3D game viewports. Because we’re working on a 3D game, let’s hit F2, or just select 3D with your mouse. Now, notice also, we have this perspective button here. This just allows us to change our perspective within the game. For example, I might want to click on “left view” to see a side view of my game. If I want to exit this view and create a custom view, I can select this view manipulation tool and hold, select an axis and then left mouse click, hold and drag to move my perspective.

Let’s look over in our scene window again. At a minimum, a scene needs to be made up of one root node. Nodes are at the heart of Godot’s game engine. Nodes are organized into tree-like structures. Each parent node can be further divided into child nodes. Parent nodes often need child nodes to give the node the functionality it needs. For example, imagine we have a simple 2D character. We might need one node to act as our visual control. This node would hold the information relating to our character’s design. We might need another node to act as our character’s collision mesh to ensure then they do things like bump into walls that they are stopped and don’t walk through them and we might need other nodes to handle things like animations or physics. Scene nodes can be as simple or complex as you want to make them.

We’ll dive deeper into scenes and scene construction in our next tutorial. This tutorial was simply meant to give you an overview of Godot’s interface so you know how to navigate around the UI.

In the following tutorials, we’ll actually get to work building a game!

Sovereign Moon Studios is dedicated to helping game enthusiasts bring their creative visions to life without having to know how to code or draw. Our NoCode game development course teaches indie game devs how to build breathtaking games from scratch. ⚡

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