In this tutorial I will show you step by step how to build a web VR game with BabylonJS

Prerequisites

-nodejs
-vs code

What is BabylonJS and CannonJS

BabylonJS is a complete JavaScript framework for building 3D games and experiences with HTML5, WebGL, WebVR and Web Audio.

CannonJS is a physics engine, written in JavaScript. And what is a physics engine you might ask? Well its "software that provides an approximate simulation of certain physical systems, such as rigid body dynamics (including collision detection), soft body dynamics, and fluid dynamics, of use in the domains of computer graphics, video games and film."

First we need to get the base starter project using babylonjs, webpack, and typescript

Steps to Run Starter Project and Git Repo Link

  1. Clone the repo git clone https://github.com/cassieview/babylonjs-webpack-typescript-starter-project.git cd babylonjs-webpack-typescript-starter-project
  2. Install packages npm install
  3. Build Project npm run build
  4. Run the script to test the project npm start
  5. Open in VS Code code .

Lets talk about the starter project

Simple index.html template.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>

    <head>
        <style>
            html,
            body {
                overflow: hidden;
                width: 100%;
                height: 100%;
                margin: 0;
                padding: 0;
                text-align: center;
            }

            #renderCanvas {
                width: 100%;
                height: 100%;
                touch-action: none;
            }
        </style>
    </head>

    <body>
        <canvas id="renderCanvas"></canvas>
        <script src="dist/index.js"></script>
    </body>

</html>

The index.ts typescript file

The index.ts file is the typescript file that creates the main scene. It is typescript that is transpiled to javascript in the dist folder.

The script source for the game is found in the dist folder. Webpack is an open-source JavaScript module bundler it generates static assets representing those modules. This is what is loaded from the dist folder. WebPack compiles the script down to one source and that is used to serve the game script.

First thing we import the packages needed from BabylonJS to create our game scene. Create the canvas variable and use vanilla javascript to grab the renderCanvas canvas tag from the html body section. Then we create the engine and pass in the BabylonJS engine.


import { Engine, Scene, HemisphericLight, Vector3, MeshBuilder, Mesh } from "babylonjs";
var canvas: any = document.getElementById("renderCanvas");
var engine: Engine = new Engine(canvas, true);

Next we have the create scene function. Here we define the scene, pass in the engine. The we create a camera. The camera is the point of view of the game player. We are using the universal camera.

Next we add a simple sphere mesh to our scene and set the basic properties. The vr helper adds the vr button to the bottom right of the screen so that a user can enter the game in vr. This does create issues when viewing the game in the browser and testing. For testing I recommend commenting out that line of code. Then when you want to test with your vr headset, uncomment it to enter the vr game.

TIP: You can easily test changes as you make them by running npm run build then open the path to the index.html file in the browser C:/Code/babylonjs-webpack-typescript-starter-project/index.html. This is a static site so you dont actually have to run it with npm start. Simply run the build and refresh the browser path to the index.html.

function createScene(): Scene {
    // Create scene
    var scene: Scene = new Scene(engine);

    // Create camera
    var camera = new BABYLON.UniversalCamera("UniversalCamera", new BABYLON.Vector3(0, 0, -10), scene);

    // Create sphere
    var sphere1: Mesh = MeshBuilder.CreateSphere("sphere", { diameter: 1 }, scene);
    sphere1.position.y = 5;
    sphere1.material = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("sphere material", scene)

    // Enable VR
    var vrHelper = scene.createDefaultVRExperience();
    vrHelper.enableInteractions();

    return scene;
}

var scene: Scene = createScene();

engine.runRenderLoop(() => {
    scene.render();
});


Start building the game

You should have a basic understanding of whats in the starter project and what babylonjs is doing for us. Next we want to add gravity so we need the Cannonjs library mentioned above.

import { Engine, Scene, ArcRotateCamera, HemisphericLight, Vector3, MeshBuilder, Mesh, CannonJSPlugin } from "babylonjs";

Copy and paste this code block under the scene variable. Here we are adding the ground mesh and giving it a physicsImpostor so that the sphere will fall and land on the ground.

var gravityVector = new BABYLON.Vector3(0, -1, 0);
    scene.enablePhysics(gravityVector, new CannonJSPlugin);

    var light = new HemisphericLight("light",Vector3.Zero(),scene);

    // Parameters : name, position, scene
    var camera = new BABYLON.UniversalCamera("UniversalCamera", new BABYLON.Vector3(0, 0, -10), scene);
    camera.checkCollisions = true;
    camera.applyGravity = true;
    // Targets the camera to a particular position. In this case the scene origin
    camera.setTarget(BABYLON.Vector3.Zero());

    // Attach the camera to the canvas
    camera.attachControl(canvas, true);

    // Create Ground
    var ground = BABYLON.Mesh.CreatePlane("ground", 25.0, scene);
    ground.position = new BABYLON.Vector3(0, -10, 0);
    ground.rotation = new BABYLON.Vector3(Math.PI / 2, 0, 0);

    ground.material = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("groundMat", scene);
    ground.material.backFaceCulling = false;
    ground.receiveShadows = true;
    ground.physicsImpostor = new BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor(ground, BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor.BoxImpostor, { mass: 0, friction: 1, restitution: 0 }, scene);

Add physics to the sphere, shadow and light to sphere:

import { Engine, Scene, ArcRotateCamera, HemisphericLight, Vector3, MeshBuilder, Mesh, CannonJSPlugin, ShadowGenerator, DirectionalLight } from "babylonjs";



// Create sphere
    var sphereLight = new DirectionalLight("dir02", new Vector3(0.2, -1, 0), scene);
    sphereLight.position = new Vector3(0, 80, 0);

    var sphere1: Mesh = MeshBuilder.CreateSphere("sphere", { diameter: 1 }, scene);
    sphere1.position.y = 5;
    sphere1.material = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("sphere material", scene)
    sphere1.physicsImpostor = new BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor(sphere1, BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor.SphereImpostor, { mass: 1 }, scene);
    var shadowGenerator = new ShadowGenerator(2048, sphereLight);
    shadowGenerator.addShadowCaster(sphere1);

Now that we have a sphere falling onto the ground panel we created. How exciting.

Project Architecture

We have a lot to add to this game still and although we could add it all in one giant function. That is not best practice for a variety of reasons. Lets add a sphere.ts file and move our sphere logic to it.


import { Scene, Vector3, MeshBuilder, Mesh, ShadowGenerator, DirectionalLight } from "babylonjs";


export function addSphere(scene: Scene) {

    // Create sphere
    var sphereLight = new DirectionalLight("dir02", new Vector3(0.2, -1, 0), scene);
    sphereLight.position = new Vector3(0, 80, 0);

    var sphere: Mesh = MeshBuilder.CreateSphere("sphere", { diameter: 1 }, scene);
    sphere.position.y = 5;
    sphere.material = new BABYLON.StandardMaterial("sphere material", scene)
    sphere.physicsImpostor = new BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor(sphere, BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor.SphereImpostor, { mass: 1 }, scene);
    var shadowGenerator = new ShadowGenerator(2048, sphereLight);
    shadowGenerator.addShadowCaster(sphere);
}

Then go back to index.ts and import the file we created and call the addSphere function where the addSphere logic used to be.


line 2: import { addSphere } from "./sphere";
line 35:  addSphere(scene);

Now would be a good time to npm run build and refresh your browser to see that you completed the logic move successfully.

Add the start button

Ok like any good game you need a start button, to ya know, start the game.

Import the gui library so that we can use the 3d button and panel.

import * as GUI from  "babylonjs-gui";

Add the startGameButton function below the createScene function. Move the addSphere function call to the button.onPointerUpObservable event. This event is used to trigger events on click.


var startGameButton = function (panel) {
    var button = new GUI.Button3D();
    panel.addControl(button);
    button.onPointerUpObservable.add(function () {
        addSphere(scene);
    });
    var text1 = new GUI.TextBlock();
    text1.text = "Start Game";
    text1.color = "white";
    text1.fontSize = 24;
    button.content = text1;
}

Update the createScene function to add the button to the scene. This will go on line 35 where addSphere previously was.


    // Create the 3D UI manager
    var manager = new GUI.GUI3DManager(scene);
    // Create a horizontal stack panel
    var panel = new GUI.StackPanel3D();
    panel.margin = 0.02;
    manager.addControl(panel);
    startGameButton(panel);

This would be a good time to npm run build and test the changes you made. When you click the button the sphere should drop from the sky on to the ground.

Make sphere disappear on click

To do this we are going to the sphere.ts file and add the ActionManager to the sphere so when we click on the sphere it disappears. Add the below logic start at line 17. Additionally you will need to update the import at the top of the file to include ActionManager and ExecuteCodeAction.

import { Scene, Vector3, MeshBuilder, Mesh, ShadowGenerator, DirectionalLight, ActionManager, ExecuteCodeAction } from "babylonjs";

    sphere.actionManager = new ActionManager(scene);

    //add click event to sphere
    sphere.actionManager.registerAction(new 
    ExecuteCodeAction(ActionManager.OnPickUpTrigger, function () {

        scene.removeMesh(sphere);

    }));

Add loop to add multiple spheres when you click start

Add the below code in the sphere.ts above the addSphere function. This will add 10 spheres when we click the button instead of one. Update the addSphere function to var addSphere = function (scene: Scene) { since we will no longer call it from the index.ts file directly.

export function addSpheres(scene: Scene) {
    for (let index = 0; index < 10; index++) {
        addSphere(scene);
    }
}

Update the index.ts file to import the addSpheres function and call that instead of addSphere.

line 3: import { addSpheres } from "./sphere";
line 54: addSpheres(scene);

Then update the sphere position in the sphere.ts file so it doesn't create 10 spheres all in the same spot. Delete sphere.position.y = 5; and add

    line 17: sphere.position = new Vector3(Math.random() * 20 - 10, 10, Math.random() * 10 - 5);

Add particle animation to sphere to mimic an explosion

The sphere disappearing is cool but lets make it more dramatic by adding a particleSystem that will spray particles in a cartoon looking explosion type of way.

Add a new file called particles.ts and paste in the following code:

import { AbstractMesh, Texture, ParticleSystem, Scene, Vector3, Color4, Animation } from "babylonjs";
import { AdvancedDynamicTexture } from "babylonjs-gui";


let advancedTexture: AdvancedDynamicTexture;

export function addParticlesToMesh(mesh: AbstractMesh, scene: Scene): ParticleSystem {
    // Fountain object
    //var fountain = Mesh.CreateBox("foutain", 1.0, scene);

    var particleSystem = new ParticleSystem("particles", 2000, scene);

    //Texture of each particle
    particleSystem.particleTexture = new Texture("textures/flare.png", scene);

    // Where the particles come from
    particleSystem.emitter = mesh; // the starting object, the emitter
    particleSystem.minEmitBox = new Vector3(-1, 0, 0); // Starting all from
    particleSystem.maxEmitBox = new Vector3(1, 0, 0); // To...

    // Colors of all particles
    particleSystem.color1 = new Color4(0.7, 0.8, 1.0, 1.0);
    particleSystem.color2 = new Color4(0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 1.0);
    particleSystem.colorDead = new Color4(0, 0, 0.2, 0.0);

    // Size of each particle (random between...
    particleSystem.minSize = 0.1;
    particleSystem.maxSize = 0.5;

    // Life time of each particle (random between...
    particleSystem.minLifeTime = 0.3;
    particleSystem.maxLifeTime = 1.5;

    // Emission rate
    particleSystem.emitRate = 1500;

    // Blend mode : BLENDMODE_ONEONE, or BLENDMODE_STANDARD
    particleSystem.blendMode = ParticleSystem.BLENDMODE_ONEONE;

    // Set the gravity of all particles
    particleSystem.gravity = new Vector3(0, -9.81, 0);

    // Direction of each particle after it has been emitted
    particleSystem.direction1 = new Vector3(-7, 8, 3);
    particleSystem.direction2 = new Vector3(7, 8, -3);

    // Angular speed, in radians
    particleSystem.minAngularSpeed = 0;
    particleSystem.maxAngularSpeed = Math.PI;

    // Speed
    particleSystem.minEmitPower = 1;
    particleSystem.maxEmitPower = 3;
    particleSystem.updateSpeed = 0.005;

    // Start the particle system
    particleSystem.start();

    // Fountain's animation
    var keys = [];
    var animation = new Animation("animation", "rotation.x", 30, Animation.ANIMATIONTYPE_FLOAT,
        Animation.ANIMATIONLOOPMODE_CYCLE);
    // At the animation key 0, the value of scaling is "1"
    keys.push({
        frame: 0,
        value: 0
    });

    // At the animation key 50, the value of scaling is "0.2"
    keys.push({
        frame: 50,
        value: Math.PI
    });

    // At the animation key 100, the value of scaling is "1"
    keys.push({
        frame: 100,
        value: 0
    });

    // Launch animation
    animation.setKeys(keys);
    mesh.animations.push(animation);
    scene.beginAnimation(mesh, 0, 100, true);

    return particleSystem;
}

export function removeParticlesFromMesh(particleSystem: ParticleSystem): any {
    particleSystem.stop();
}


Import the particles.ts script into the spheres.ts script.

import { addParticlesToMesh, removeParticlesFromMesh } from "./particles";

Update the sphere on click event and add the sleep function in. This will add the particles to the sphere when it its clicked, wait 250 milliseconds and then stop adding particles. If you didnt stop the particles there would just be particles appearly everywhere long after the sphere was removed from the scene.

    sphere.actionManager.registerAction(new 
        ExecuteCodeAction(ActionManager.OnPickUpTrigger, function () {
        var particleSystem = addParticlesToMesh(sphere, scene);
        scene.removeMesh(sphere);
        sleep(250).then(() => {
            removeParticlesFromMesh(particleSystem);
        })

    }));

    const sleep = (milliseconds) => {
        return new Promise(resolve => setTimeout(resolve, milliseconds))
    }

Add score.ts because every game needs a way to keep score

Create the score.ts script and paste in the code below.

import { AdvancedDynamicTexture, Rectangle, Control, TextBlock } from 'babylonjs-gui';

let advancedTexture: AdvancedDynamicTexture;
let scoreText: TextBlock = new TextBlock();
let score = 0;
function init(): void {
    if (!advancedTexture) {
        advancedTexture = AdvancedDynamicTexture.CreateFullscreenUI("ui1");
    }
}

export function addLabelToScene(): void {

    if (!advancedTexture) {
        init();
    }
    let label = new Rectangle("score");
    label.background = "black";
    label.height = "30px";
    label.alpha = 0.5;
    label.width = "100px";
    label.cornerRadius = 20;
    label.thickness = 1;
    label.linkOffsetY = 30;
    label.top = "10%";
    label.zIndex = 5;
    label.verticalAlignment = Control.HORIZONTAL_ALIGNMENT_CENTER;
    advancedTexture.addControl(label);


    scoreText.text = "score: 0"
    scoreText.color = "white";
    label.addControl(scoreText);
}
export function incrementScore(): void{
    score++;
    scoreText.text = "score: " + score.toString();

}


export function updateScore(newScore: number): void{
    score = newScore;
    scoreText.text = "score: " + score.toString();

}


Then import the script in the index.ts script.

import { addLabelToScene, updateScore } from "./score";

In the index.ts file we want to add the function call addLabelToScene(panel) after we add the button startGameButton(panel); and we want to reset the score when the startGameButton is clicked.

var startGameButton = function (panel) {
    var button = new GUI.Button3D();
    panel.addControl(button);
    button.onPointerUpObservable.add(function () {
        //reset score
        updateScore(0);
        addSpheres(scene);
    });
    var text1 = new GUI.TextBlock();
    text1.text = "Start Game";
    text1.color = "white";
    text1.fontSize = 24;
    button.content = text1;
}

In the sphere.ts we need to import { incrementScore } from "./score"; from the score.ts script and then add the incrementScore(); after removeParticlesFromMesh(particleSystem); to increase the score when a sphere is clicked.

Remove PhysicsImpostor from ground mesh so balls fall through the ground instead of sitting on top.

We dont want people to be able to shoot the balls on the ground so we need to delete the PhysicsImpostor from the ground mesh.

ground.physicsImpostor = new BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor(ground, BABYLON.PhysicsImpostor.BoxImpostor, { mass: 0, friction: 0, restitution: 0 }, scene);

Last we will add some material to our spheres

Import the babylon materials to the sphere.ts script.

import {StandardMaterial, Texture, Color3} from "babylonjs-materials";

Then add the material to the sphere mesh with the following code


    // Material
    var materialAmiga = new StandardMaterial("amiga", scene);
    materialAmiga.diffuseTexture = new Texture("textures/amiga.jpg", scene);
    materialAmiga.emissiveColor = new Color3(0.5, 0.5, 0.5);
    sphere.material = materialAmiga;

Ok lets npm run build and see if it works!

More cool things you could add

  • texture
  • backgrounds
  • custom meshes
  • sound effects
  • the sky is the limit!

Deploy site to azure storage as a static site so all your friends can play too

Check out the docs on how to host this site for cheap on Azure

Full git repo of end of project

Shout out to the awesome docs and playground on Babylonjs and the awesome developers that did the hard work to create a sweet library to enable us to build games!

Happy game building!