GDscript is getting optional typing syntax in Godot 3.1. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How to use types in GDscript
- That static types can help you avoid bugs
Where and how you use this new language feature is entirely up to you: you can use it only in some sensitive GDScript files, use it everywhere, or write code like you always did!
Static types can be used on variables, constants, functions, parameters, and return types.
Why You Should Learn to Use Typed GDScript
With typed GDscript, Godot can detect even more errors as you write code! It gives you and your teammates more information as you’re working, as the arguments' types show up when you call a method.
Imagine you’re programming an inventory system. You code an
Item node, then an
Inventory. To add items to the inventory, the people who work with your code should always pass an
Item to the
Inventory.add method. With types, you can force them to:
# in Item.gd class_name Item # in Inventory.gd class_name Inventory func add(reference : Item, amount : int = 1): var item = find_item(reference) if not item: item = _instance_item_from_db(reference) item.amount += amount
Another significant advantage of typed GDScript is the new warning system. From version 3.1, Godot gives you warnings about your code as you write it: the engine identifies sections of your code that may lead to issues at runtime, but lets you decide whether or not you want to leave the code as it is. More on that in a moment.
Static types also give you better code completion options. Below, you can see the difference between a dynamic vs. a static typed completion options for a class called
You’ve probably stored a node in a variable before, and typed a dot to be left with no autocomplete suggestions:
This is due to dynamic code. Godot cannot know what node or value type you’re passing to the function. If you write the type explicitely however, you will get all public methods and variables from the node:
In the future, typed GDScript will also increase code performance: Just In Time compilation and other compiler improvements are already on the roadmap!
Overall, typed programming gives you a more structured experience. It helps prevent errors and improves the self-documenting aspect of your scripts. This is especially helpful when you’re working in a team or on a long-term project: studies have shown that developers spend most of their time reading other people’s code, or scripts they wrote in the past and forgot about. The clearer and the more structured the code, the faster is it to understand, the faster you can move forward.
How to Use Static Typing in Godot 3.1
To define the type of a variable or a constant, write a colon after the variable’s name, followed by its type. E.g.
var health : int. This forces the type of variable to always stay the same:
var damage : float = 10.5 const MOVE_SPEED : float = 50.0
Godot will try to infer types if you write a colon, but you omit the type:
var life_points : = 4 var damage : = 10.5 var motion : = Vector2()
Currently you can use three types of… types:
- Built-in types
- Core classes and nodes (
- Your own, custom classes. Look at the new class_name feature to register types in the editor.
Custom Variable Types
You can use any class, including your custom classes, as types. There are two ways to use them in scripts. The first method is to preload the script you want to use as a type in a constant:
const Rifle = preload('res://player/weapons/Rifle.gd') var my_rifle : Rifle
The second method is to use the
class_name keyword when you create. For the example above, your Rifle.gd would look like this:
extends Node2D class_name Rifle
If you use
class_name, Godot registers the Rifle type globally in the editor, and you can use it anywhere without having to preload it into a constant:
var my_rifle : Rifle
Type casting is a key concept in typed languages. We call the conversion of a value from from one type of another casting.
Imagine an Enemy in your game, that
extends Area2D. You want it to collide with the Player, a
KinematicBody2D with a script called
PlayerController attached to it. You use the
on_body_entered signal to detect the collision. With typed code, the body you detect is going to be a generic
PhysicsBody2D, and not your
PlayerController on the
You can check if this
PhysicsBody2D is your Player with the
as casting keyword, and using the colon
: again to force the variable to use this type. This forces the variable to stick to the
func _on_body_entered(body : PhysicsBody2D) -> void: var player := body as PlayerController if not player: return player.damage()
As we’re dealing with a custom type, if the
body doesn’t extend
playervariable will be set to
null. We can use this to check if the body is the player or not. We will also get full autocompletion on the player variable thanks to that cast.
You can also use the
is keyword to check if an object is of a certain type. But unlike casting, this doesn’t change the type of the variable for Godot, so you may not benefit from autocompletion in the script editor, although this code is shorter than the one above:
func _on_body_entered(body : PhysicsBody2D) -> void: if not body is PlayerController: return player.damage()
You can also use casting is to ensure safe lines. Safe lines are a new tool in Godot 3.1 to tell you when ambiguous lines of code are type-safe. As you can mix and match typed and dynamic code, at times, Godot doesn’t have enough information to if an instruction will trigger an error or not at runtime.
This happens when you get a child node. Let’s take a timer for example: with dynamic code, you can get the node with
$Timer. GDscript supports duck-typing, so even if your timer is of type
Timer, it is also a
Node and an
Object, two classes it extends. With dynamic GDscript, you also don’t care about the node’s type as long as it has the methods you need to call.
You can use casting to tell Godot the type you expect when you get a node:
($Timer as Timer),
($Player as KinematicBody2D), etc. Godot will ensure the type works and if so, the line number will turn green at the left of the script editor.
Define the Return Type of a Function with the Arrow ->
To define the return type of a function, write a dash and a right angle bracket
-> after it’s declaration, followed by the return type:
func _process(delta : float) -> void: pass
void means the function does not return anything. You can use any type as with variables:
func hit(damage : float) -> bool: health_points -= damage return health_points <= 0
You can also use your own nodes as return types:
# Inventory.gd # Adds an item to the inventory and returns it func add(reference : Item, amount : int) -> Item: var item : Item = find_item(reference) if not item: item = ItemDatabase.get_instance(reference) item.amount += amount return item
Typed or Dynamic: Stick to One Style
Typed GDscript and dynamic GDscript can coexist in the same project. But I recommended to stick to either style for consistency in your codebase, and for your peers. It’s easier for everyone to work together if you follow the same guidelines, and faster to read and understand other people’s code.
Typed code takes a little more writing, but you get the benefits we discussed above. Here’s an example of the same, empty script, in a dynamic style:
extends Node func _ready(): pass func _process(delta): pass
And with static typing:
extends Node func _ready() -> void: pass func _process(delta : float) -> void: pass
As you can see, you can also use types with the engine’s virtual methods. Signal callbacks, like any methods, can also use types. Here’s a
body_entered signal in a dynamic style:
func _on_Area2D_body_entered(body): pass
And the same callback, with type hints:
func _on_area_entered(area : CollisionObject2D) -> void: pass
You’re free to replace, e.g. the
PhysicsBody2D, with your own type, to cast parameters automatically:
func _on_area_entered(bullet : Bullet) -> void: if not bullet: return take_damage(bullet.damage)
bullet variable could hold any
CollisionObject2D here, but we make sure it is our
Bullet, a node we created for our project.
If it’s anything else, like an
Area2D, or any node that doesn’t extend
bullet variable will be