Blocky terrains

This page focuses more in detail on blocky terrains, Minecraft-like, or made of cubes.

VoxelMesherBlocky with models

This mesher combines small meshes corresponding to model IDs into chunks. It culls faces occluding each other, but doesn't do greedy meshing. This is a similar technique used in Minecraft.

Voxel data used by this mesher may be stored in the following channel: VoxelBuffer.CHANNEL_TYPE

Creating voxel models

The mesher has a library property of type VoxelBlockyLibraryBase. This is a resource containing a list of all the models you want to use in order to build a voxel mesh: grass, dirt, wood, leaves, water, shrubs, stairs, door parts etc. You can create a new library in place, or make one saved to a file if you want to re-use it in several places. You can also create it from code.

There are two kinds of libraries that can be used:

  • VoxelBlockyLibrary: a simple list of models, where the index in the list corresponds to the ID to use in voxel data.
  • VoxelBlockyTypeLibrary: a higher-level library storing a list of VoxelBlockyType. This is an experimental workflow similar to how Minecraft works, which will be explained later.

It is easier to get started with VoxelBlockyLibrary.

Screenshot of the list of voxels in VoxelBlockyLibrary

Each slot can contain a VoxelBlockyModel resource. The index shown on their left will be the ID they use in voxel data. Voxel 0 is a special case: by convention, it may be used as the default "air" voxel. You may assign a new VoxelBlockyModel resource to each slot, and fill in their properties.

With default 16-bit voxel data, you can create up to 65,536 models.


To allow conversion from older versions of the module, VoxelBlockyModel can be instanced, which means the inspector and scripts can create it. However, it is not actually expected. You should not create instances of VoxelBlockyModel, instead you should use its derived classes.


There are several kinds of models. A simple one is VoxelBlockyModelCube, which renders a cube with specific textures on its sides.

With VoxelMesherBlocky, using texture atlases is recommended to allow re-using materials and reduce the number of draw calls. You can create a texture containing all the tiles your voxels can use. For example, here is one from the blocky game demo:

Atlas used in the blocky game demo

This atlas is a square texture and can contain up to 16x16 tiles. This number is important and needs to be set on the VoxelBlockyModelCube atlas_size_in_tiles property, so texture coordinates can be generated properly.

Cube models can have different tiles on each of their faces. You can decide which one to use by assigning properties of Voxel, under the Cube tiles category. Coordinates here are in tiles, not pixels.

Voxel cube tile properties screenshot

For example, if you want to use the "planks" tile, you may use x=3 and y=1:

Tile coordinates

So far we defined a cubic voxel with specific texture coordinates on its faces, but we still have to actually assign the texture and material used to render it. This can be done in the Material overrides section, in which you can assign a material with the texture in it.

Make sure to assign its albedo_texture to your texture. You may also check the Vertex Color/Use as albedo property, because this will allow the mesher to bake ambient occlusion on the edge of cubes.

Material for blocky terrain

Each model can use different materials with different textures, but keep in mind the more you re-use materials, the better. It reduces the number of draw calls and makes rendering faster.

Note, there are several levels at which materials get applied, each one overriding the other: - Materials present on meshes are the default (if you use meshes explicitely) - Materials specified on VoxelBlockyModel will override mesh materials - The material specified on VoxelTerrain will override all library materials


Creating voxel types with the Cube geometry is a shortcut that can be used for simple voxels, but the most versatile workflow is to use actual meshes. If you use VoxelBlockyModelMesh, you are allowed to assign a mesh resource instead. The Cube tiles properties are not available, because you will have to assign texture coordinates of the mesh within a 3D modeler like Blender.

Blender screenshot for UV editing a block

Meshes can have any shape you want, however there are a few constraints to respect:

  • The origin of the mesh should be its lower corner.
  • Blender's coordinate system is Z-up, but Godot is Y-up. Make sure the meshes you export don't go into negative coordinates once imported in Godot.
  • Vertices should preferably be located within the 0..1 range, in all directions
  • Keep it low-poly. The mesher can deal with large models, but performance can decrease very quickly if a complex model appears a lot of times.
  • Faces lying on the sides of the 1x1x1 unit cube will be the only faces that can be culled by the mesher. Make sure they are perfectly lining up. If they don't, it can cause dramatic slowdowns due to the amount of generated geometry not getting culled.

Blender screenshot for face lining up with cube side

The best format to use to export your meshes is OBJ. Godot imports this format by default as a mesh resource. Other formats are not suitable because Godot imports them as scenes, and VoxelBlockyModelMesh resources require meshes, not scenes. You can choose to export materials from here too, but it is recommended to do it in Godot because it allows you to re-use them.


A second material can be used in each model. This is useful if a given mesh needs both transparent and opaque parts. This works as usual, by having a mesh with two surfaces. However, face culling will still use properties of the model regardless. For example, if a model has opaque sides and is transparent in the middle, it may be defined as a non-transparent block, so when placed next to other opaque blocks, geometry of its sides will be culled. See (Transparency)[#transparency] section for more info.

Usage of voxel model IDs

Voxel IDs defined in a VoxelBlockyLibrary are like tiles in a tilemap: for simple games, they can directly correspond to a type of block. However, you may want to avoid treating them directly this way over time. Instead, you may define your own list of block types, and each type can correspond to one, or multiple VoxelBlockyModel IDs.

Examples from Minecraft:

  • Stairs can be placed at different orientations, and sometimes have different appearance. These are actually multiple voxel IDs.
  • Crops can have several growth stages. Each stage is a different voxel ID, for the same type of block.
  • One door is actually made of 2 voxels. Its top, and bottom. There could be even more if we consider opened and closed doors.
  • One rail can correspond to many different voxels: straight rails, slopes, and turns. They are all rails, but in different sub-configurations.

Managing the correspondance between your "game's block" IDs and voxel IDs is up to you.

Rotating models

At the moment, rotating or flipping voxels automatically is not supported, so you have to create each rotated version you may need for a type of voxel. However it is possible to create these model variants in the editor, by using the rotation buttons in the inspector:

Model preview in inspector with rotation buttons

These buttons are not for previewing, they actually rotate the model and it will appear in that rotation when placed in game.


You may want some of your voxel types to be transparent. There is in fact two main ways to achieve this:

  • Using alpha clip: transparent pixels are discarded, allowing rendering through the opaque pass, which avoids some typical issues with transparent surfaces.
  • Alpha blend: actual transparency, which has a few limitations when multiple transparent surfaces are rendered behind each other

Both require to use a different material from the default one you may have used. Note if you use a texture atlas, a typical setup only needs 3 materials using the same atlas: opaque, alpha clip and transparent.

VoxelBlockyModel resources also have a transparency_index property. This property allows to tune how two voxels occlude their faces. For example, let's say you have two transparent voxels, glass and leaves. By default, if you put them next to each other, the face they share will be culled, allowing you to see through the leaves from the glass block:

Screenshot of transparency index not being exploited

If two faces touch each other, if they have the same transparency index, they can get culled. But if their transparency index is different, they may not. This allows to see the leaves directly behind glass, instead of seeing the insides.

Here, glass has transparency_index=2, and leaves have transparency_index=1:

Screenshot of transparency index being exploited

VoxelBlockyModel also has a culls_neighbors property. This is enabled by default and prevents unnecessary rendering of neighboring voxel sides. However, for some transparent voxels it may be more desirable to always render neighboring voxel sides. For example, foliage can be made to look denser if all of the inner voxel sides are visible.

Here is a group of leaves with culls_neighbors=true (the default):

Screenshot of leaves with culls_neighbors set to true

Here is that same group of leaves with culls_neighbors=false. The sides in-between the voxels are rendered, making the group of leaves look less hollow.

Screenshot of leaves with culls_neighbors set to false

Random tick

VoxelBlockyModel has a property named random_tickable. This is for use with a very specific function of VoxelToolTerrain: run_blocky_random_tick

VoxelMesherBlocky with types


This feature is experimental, may have bugs, missing parts and may change over time. It proposes a way to organize models for a game and automates a few things, but you may still use VoxelBlockyLibrary if you want to handle this in your own way. See also the corresponding issue on Github.

An alternative library type exists, VoxelBlockyTypeLibrary. Instead of directly containing a list of models, it contains a list of VoxelBlockyType. A type is closer to what you would call a "block type" in a game, and this system was designed to be very similar to how blocks are defined in Minecraft (inspiration from


A type can have a few VoxelBlockyAttribute. Each attribute is like a variable representing a state of the type. They could be the orientation of a log, a button being pressed or not, a block being the top or bottom part of a door, connections with neighbors, or the growth level of crops.

Types should usually have very few attributes, and each attribute can take only a few values as well (between 0 and 255). This limitation relates to the lightweight nature of voxels, you can't store too much into a single voxel otherwise it looses its ability to be part of a terrain with millions of them. If you need a block to have much more complex states, such as objects and lists of things, this system may not work for your case and you will have to fallback on using voxel metadata and actual nodes (like entities in Minecraft).

Variant models

After you assigned attributes to a type, the inspector will show you a list of models for every combination of states:

Variant models list

You can also preview combinations by using the side panel next to the type's 3D preview on top of the inspector.

If you have many attributes or many states, it is possible that this list becomes very large. In Minecraft, redstone dust technically has 1,296 model variants. It is therefore not made using a list of variants, but a conditional combination of models. In the future a similar feature may be implemented.


A very common use for attributes are rotations. It is so common that VoxelBlockyType automates the generation of rotated models, if you use a built-in rotation attribute:

  • VoxelBlockyAttributeAxis
  • VoxelBlockyAttributeDirection
  • VoxelBlockyAttributeRotation

Each rotation attribute comes with a default rotation, and you may design your models as if they had that rotation, so that every other rotation can be generated properly.

Because these variants are generated automatically, they won't be displayed in the inspector, but they are internally stored like other variants.


It can be tempting to use VoxelBlockyAttributeRotation for everything, but it has the highest number of variants. The engine has to generate pre-rotated models for every combinations, so it has a cost in memory. Similarly, if you don't need certain rotations, consider changing properties of these attributes (you can exclude vertical rotations).

Model names and numerical IDs

The name of types and attributes matter. They are used to uniquely identify models, in the following form:


For example, a particular voxel could be identified as button[direction=up,pressed=yes]. If you rename, remove or add an attribute causing this identifier to change, it will effectively become a different voxel, and may be given a different ID. That means if you have a saved world with the old names, those won't appear after you change the type.

A type can correspond to one, or multiple models with different numerical IDs. Contrary to VoxelBlockyLibrary, you don't choose those IDs. They are automatically generated based on all the combinations of all attributes you gave to each type. The more attributes and states a type has, the more model IDs will be reserved for it.

Once a particular model is baked, its name and attribute states will be associated to a specific numerical ID.

One reason numerical IDs are not manually assigned, is first because it's tedious to do without mistakes when you have many types, but also because of modding. In Minecraft, each world may have different numerical IDs for each voxel compared to other worlds, because of resource packs and mods that could be adding different models. Adding or removing mods should not make IDs clash with each other. In the end, it is not the numerical IDs that uniquely identify a model. Instead, types and attribute names are used. Type names may even be namespaced with a syntax like minecraft:flower and mymod:thingy.

Numerical IDs are only unique within a specific world. They are used to store voxel data and send it across network, which is more efficient, but not portable across different worlds.

Numerical IDs and names are mapped with what we could call an "ID map". You can see a list of generated IDs by clicking on the Inspect model IDs at the very bottom of a VoxelBlockyTypeLibrary in the inspector.

Usage in scripts

When dealing with voxel data, you still need to get and set model IDs with VoxelTool, because that's what voxels actually store. If a voxel from a given type needs to change state, that means it will change value to another model ID, like you would do in a game based on the classic VoxelBlockyLibrary.

VoxelBlockyTypeLibrary has functions to obtain a model ID from a type name and the value of each of its attributes, and inversely. If you need specific IDs a large number of times, consider caching them in a local variable for performance.

Type names and attribute names use StringName instead of String, which is a little bit more efficient to compare against other names. So you will need to use a specific syntax using &:

var model_id := library.get_model_index_with_attributes(&"button",
    # Note that dictionary keys don't use `&`, because Godot converts StringName keys into String.
        "direction": VoxelBlockyAttributeDirection.DIR_POSITIVE_X,
        "active": 1,
        "powered": 0

If the type only has one attribute, you can use a faster shortcut:

var model_id := library.get_model_index_single_attribute(&"log", VoxelBlockyAttributeAxis.AXIS_Z)

And if the type has no attribute, or you just want its default state:

var model_id := library.get_model_index_default(&"leaves")


This mesher exclusively generates cubes with spefific colors.


Fast collisions alternative

Move and slide

Mesh-based collisions are quite accurate and feature-rich in Godot, however it has some drawbacks:

  • Trimesh collision shapes have to be built each time the terrain is modified, which is very slow.
  • The physics engine has to process arbitrary triangles near the player, which can't take advantage of particular situations, such as everything being cubes
  • Sometimes you may also want a simpler, more game-oriented collision system

The VoxelBoxMover class provides a Minecraft-like collision system, which can be used in a similar way to move_and_slide(). It is more limited, but is extremely fast and is not affected by tunnelling.

The code below shows how to use it, but see the blocky demo for the full code.

var box_mover =
var character_box  = AABB(Vector3(-0.4, -0.9, -0.4), Vector3(0.8, 1.8, 0.8))
var terrain = get_node("VoxelTerrain")

func _physics_process(delta):
    # ... Input commands that set velocity go here ...

    # Apply terrain collision
    var motion : Vector3 = velocity * delta
    motion = box_mover.get_motion(get_translation(), motion, character_box, terrain)
    velocity = motion / delta

This technique mainly works if you use VoxelMesherBlocky, because it gets information about which block is collidable from the VoxelBlockyLibrary used with it. It might have some limited support in other meshers though.

If you use VoxelMesherBlocky, it will use the list of AABBs specified in VoxelBlockyModel resources. If the list is empty, the voxel won't have collisions. You can also filter out some collisions by assigning the collision mask property of VoxelBoxMover. This will be matched against the collision mask property found on VoxelBlockyModel resources.


An alternative raycast function exists as well, which returns voxel-specific results. It may be useful if you turned off classic collisions as well. This is accessible with the VoxelTool class. An instance of it bound to the terrain can be obtained with get_voxel_tool().

var terrain : VoxelTerrain = get_node("VoxelTerrain")
var vt : VoxelTool = terrain.get_voxel_tool()
var hit = vt.raycast(origin, direction, 10)

if hit != null:
    # The returned position is in voxel coordinates,
    # and can be used to access the value of the voxel with other functions of `VoxelTool`
    print("Hit voxel ", hit.position)

If you use VoxelMesherBlocky, it is possible to filter out some voxel types by specifying the collision mask argument. This will be matched against the collision mask property found on VoxelBlockyModel resources.