The Irrlicht Engine is an open source high performance realtime 3D engine written and usable in C++ and also available for .NET languages. It is completely cross-platform, using D3D, OpenGL and its own software renderer, and has all of the state-of-the-art features which can be found in commercial 3d engines.

Report article RSS Feed Movement Tutorial in Irrlicht Engine

This is a easy but full tutorial on how to make a character to move.

Posted by FPSGamer on Jun 24th, 2009
Basic Animation.

This Tutorial shows how to move and animate SceneNodes. The basic concept of SceneNodeAnimators is shown as well as manual movement of nodes using the keyboard. We'll demonstrate framerate independent movement, which means moving by an amount dependent on the duration of the last run of the Irrlicht loop.

Example 19.MouseAndJoystick shows how to handle those kinds of input.

As always, I include the header files, use the irr namespace, and tell the linker to link with the .lib file.

#ifdef _MSC_VER
// We'll also define this to stop MSVC complaining about sprintf().
#pragma comment(lib, "Irrlicht.lib")

#include <irrlicht.h>

using namespace irr;
To receive events like mouse and keyboard input, or GUI events like "the OK button has been clicked", we need an object which is derived from the irr::IEventReceiver object. There is only one method to override: irr::IEventReceiver::OnEvent(). This method will be called by the engine once when an event happens. What we really want to know is whether a key is being held down, and so we will remember the current state of each key.

class MyEventReceiver : public IEventReceiver
// This is the one method that we have to implement
virtual bool OnEvent(const SEvent& event)
// Remember whether each key is down or up
if (event.EventType == irr::EET_KEY_INPUT_EVENT)
KeyIsDown[event.KeyInput.Key] = event.KeyInput.PressedDown;

return false;

// This is used to check whether a key is being held down
virtual bool IsKeyDown(EKEY_CODE keyCode) const
return KeyIsDown[keyCode];

for (u32 i=0; i<KEY_KEY_CODES_COUNT; ++i)
KeyIsDown[i]= false;

// We use this array to store the current state of each key
The event receiver for keeping the pressed keys is ready, the actual responses will be made inside the render loop, right before drawing the scene. So lets just create an irr::IrrlichtDevice and the scene node we want to move. We also create some other additional scene nodes, to show that there are also some different possibilities to move and animate scene nodes.

int main()
// let user select driver type

video::E_DRIVER_TYPE driverType = video::EDT_DIRECT3D9;

printf("Please select the driver you want for this example:\n"\
" (a) Direct3D 9.0c\n (b) Direct3D 8.1\n (c) OpenGL 1.5\n"\
" (d) Software Renderer\n (e) Burning's Software Renderer\n"\
" (f) NullDevice\n (otherKey) exit\n\n");

char i;
std::cin >> i;

case 'a': driverType = video::EDT_DIRECT3D9;break;
case 'b': driverType = video::EDT_DIRECT3D8;break;
case 'c': driverType = video::EDT_OPENGL; break;
case 'd': driverType = video::EDT_SOFTWARE; break;
case 'e': driverType = video::EDT_BURNINGSVIDEO;break;
case 'f': driverType = video::EDT_NULL; break;
default: return 0;

// create device
MyEventReceiver receiver;

IrrlichtDevice* device = createDevice(driverType,
core::dimension2d(640, 480), 16, false, false, false, &receiver);

if (device == 0)
return 1; // could not create selected driver.

video::IVideoDriver* driver = device->getVideoDriver();
scene::ISceneManager* smgr = device->getSceneManager();
Create the node which will be moved with the WSAD keys. We create a sphere node, which is a built-in geometry primitive. We place the node at (0,0,30) and assign a texture to it to let it look a little bit more interesting. Because we have no dynamic lights in this scene we disable lighting for each model (otherwise the models would be black).

scene::ISceneNode * node = smgr->addSphereSceneNode();
if (node)
node->setMaterialTexture(0, driver->getTexture("../../media/wall.bmp"));
node->setMaterialFlag(video::EMF_LIGHTING, false);
Now we create another node, movable using a scene node animator. Scene node animators modify scene nodes and can be attached to any scene node like mesh scene nodes, billboards, lights and even camera scene nodes. Scene node animators are not only able to modify the position of a scene node, they can also animate the textures of an object for example. We create a cube scene node and attach a 'fly circle' scene node animator to it, letting this node fly around our sphere scene node.

scene::ISceneNode* n = smgr->addCubeSceneNode();

if (n)
n->setMaterialTexture(0, driver->getTexture("../../media/t351sml.jpg"));
n->setMaterialFlag(video::EMF_LIGHTING, false);
scene::ISceneNodeAnimator* anim =
smgr->createFlyCircleAnimator(core::vector3df(0,0,30), 20.0f);
if (anim)
The last scene node we add to show possibilities of scene node animators is a md2 model, which uses a 'fly straight' animator to run between to points.

scene::IAnimatedMeshSceneNode* anms =

if (anms)
scene::ISceneNodeAnimator* anim =
core::vector3df(-100,0,60), 3500, true);
if (anim)
To make the model look right we disable lighting, set the frames between which the animation should loop, rotate the model around 180 degrees, and adjust the animation speed and the texture. To set the right animation (frames and speed), we would also be able to just call "anms->setMD2Animation(scene::EMAT_RUN)" for the 'run' animation instead of "setFrameLoop" and "setAnimationSpeed", but this only works with MD2 animations, and so you know how to start other animations. But a good advice is to not use hardcoded frame-numbers...

anms->setMaterialFlag(video::EMF_LIGHTING, false);

anms->setFrameLoop(0, 14);
// anms->setMD2Animation(scene::EMAT_RUN);

// anms->setMaterialTexture(0, driver->getTexture("../../media/sydney.bmp"));

To be able to look at and move around in this scene, we create a first person shooter style camera and make the mouse cursor invisible.

smgr->addCameraSceneNodeFPS(0, 100.0f, .1f);
Add a colorful irrlicht logo


gui::IGUIStaticText* diagnostics = device->getGUIEnvironment()->addStaticText(
L"", core::rect(10, 10, 400, 20));
diagnostics->setOverrideColor(video::SColor(255, 255, 255, 0));
We have done everything, so lets draw it. We also write the current frames per second and the name of the driver to the caption of the window.

int lastFPS = -1;

// In order to do framerate independent movement, we have to know
// how long it was since the last frame
u32 then = device->getTimer()->getTime();

// This is the movemen speed in units per second.
const f32 MOVEMENT_SPEED = 5.f;

// Work out a frame delta time.
const u32 now = device->getTimer()->getTime();
const f32 frameDeltaTime = (f32)(now - then) / 1000.f; // Time in seconds
then = now;
Check if keys W, S, A or D are being held down, and move the sphere node around respectively. core::vector3df nodePosition = node->getPosition();

nodePosition.Y += MOVEMENT_SPEED * frameDeltaTime;
else if(receiver.IsKeyDown(irr::KEY_KEY_S))
nodePosition.Y -= MOVEMENT_SPEED * frameDeltaTime;

nodePosition.X -= MOVEMENT_SPEED * frameDeltaTime;
else if(receiver.IsKeyDown(irr::KEY_KEY_D))
nodePosition.X += MOVEMENT_SPEED * frameDeltaTime;


driver->beginScene(true, true, video::SColor(255,113,113,133));

smgr->drawAll(); // draw the 3d scene
device->getGUIEnvironment()->drawAll(); // draw the gui environment (the logo)


int fps = driver->getFPS();

if (lastFPS != fps)
core::stringw tmp(L"Movement Example - Irrlicht Engine [");
tmp += driver->getName();
tmp += L"] fps: ";
tmp += fps;

lastFPS = fps;
In the end, delete the Irrlicht device.


return 0;
That's it. Compile and play around with the program.

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Released Jun 23, 2009
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