Note: Source code (Bouncing Balls Example) available on Github

Swift logoI have been playing tonight with the built-in physics engine in SpriteKit. Like most Flash developers, I am sure you have played or used the Box2D engine in some projects. I have to admit, the APIs have always been pretty brutal to use.

The engine that comes out of the box with SpriteKit has a much more approachable API, very intuitive. I was able to discover a large portion of it by just playing, tweaking and guessing some APIs.

If you want to test this code, paste it inside GameScene.swift of your SpriteKit project:

// Consider this your Main class, basically the Stage
// Note: The code below is for iOS, you can run it with the iOS simulator

// this imports higher level APIs like Starling
import SpriteKit

// canvas size for the positioning
let canvasWidth: UInt32 = 800
let canvasHeight: UInt32 = 800

// our main logic inside this class
// we subclass the SKScene class by using the :TheType syntax below
class GameScene: SKScene {

    // this gets triggered automatically when presented to the view, put initialization logic here
    override func didMoveToView(view: SKView) {

        // we set the background color to black, self is the equivalent of this in Flash
        self.scene.backgroundColor = UIColor(red: 0, green: 0, blue: 0, alpha: 1)

        // we live in a world with gravity on the y axis
        self.physicsWorld.gravity = CGVectorMake(0, -6)
        // we put contraints on the top, left, right, bottom so that our balls can bounce off them
        let physicsBody = SKPhysicsBody (edgeLoopFromRect: self.frame)
        // we set the body defining the physics to our scene
        self.physicsBody = physicsBody
        // let's create 20 bouncing balls
        for i in 1..30 {
        // SkShapeNode is a primitive for drawing like with the AS3 Drawing API
        // it has built in support for primitives like a circle, so we pass a radius
        let shape = SKShapeNode(circleOfRadius: 20)
        // we set the color and line style
        shape.strokeColor = UIColor(red: 255, green: 0, blue: 0, alpha: 0.5)
        shape.lineWidth = 4
        // we create a text node to embed text in our ball
        let text = SKLabelNode(text: String(i))
        // we set the font
        text.fontSize = 9.0
        // we nest the text label in our ball
        // we set initial random positions
        shape.position = CGPoint (x: CGFloat(arc4random()%(canvasWidth)), y: CGFloat(arc4random()%(canvasHeight)))
        // we add each circle to the display list
        // this is the most important line, we define the body
        shape.physicsBody = SKPhysicsBody(circleOfRadius: shape.frame.size.width/2)
        // this defines the mass, roughness and bounciness
        shape.physicsBody.friction = 0.3
        shape.physicsBody.restitution = 0.8
        shape.physicsBody.mass = 0.5
        // this will allow the balls to rotate when bouncing off each other
        shape.physicsBody.allowsRotation = true

    // magic of the physics engine, we don't have to do anything here
    override func update(currentTime: CFTimeInterval) {

And here is the video preview of what this should give you:

  • Torstenius Gabrielsen

    Thanks! this article was a great start for my sprite kit game development!