Setup and Draw
draw function is run 60 times per second by default. The
background function can be used to fill the canvas with a color each time it is drawn.
Try changing the width and height of the canvas (the numbers inside the
constructor), then restart the example program!
What is a sprite?
A sprite is a ghost!
Video game developers use the word "sprite" to refer to characters, items, or anything else that moves above a background.
new Sprite() constructor creates a sprite object, which contains variables that
define a sprite’s position, size, and appearance.
Try editing the properties of the box and circle sprites in the mini examples below!
Try it out!
Try turning the sprite named
ball into a blue circle with a diameter of 30 and place
it at the top right corner of the canvas.
A sprite's collider is used to detect collisions with other
sprites. By default, sprites have a
collider that allows the sprite to move freely and be affected by
'static' colliders can't be moved.
'kinematic' colliders can be moved
programmatically but not by other sprites. They also won't collide with other kinematic colliders.
Setting a sprite's collider
'none' makes it have no collider.
The collider type can also be set using the first letter of the collider type name:
Click the reload icon on the top right corner of a mini example to replay it!
Try it out!
Try creating a sprite named
peg with a static collider and circle shape. Create a
block with a dynamic collider and box shape. Position the block so that it
hits the peg and falls to the right.
Each time the p5.js
draw function finishes, sprites are automatically drawn and
updated. Note that
world is created when p5play loads but by default there's no
gravity. Try setting
world.gravity.y to a positive number.
For an extra challenge, try resetting the block to its original position after it falls.
Sprites with an Image
sprite.img can be set to a p5.Image or a url path to an
If you need an image to be loaded before your program starts, it's best to use
inside the p5.js
sprite.scale changes the size of both the sprite's collider and visual appearance. A
scale value of 2 doubles the size of the sprite.
Try pressing the left mouse button. When the
sprite.debug property is set to true you
can see the sprite's physics body collider. You can make the size of the collider different from the
size of the image!
You can use the
spriteArt function to create pixel art images for your sprites. It
takes a string as input and returns an image. Each character in the string represents the color
value of a pixel in the image.
The second input parameter to the
spriteArt function is the scale of the image.
Try it out!
Try making your own pixel art! Take a look at the alphabet below to see what color each letter represents by default.
You can also make pixel art that uses custom colors by creating a color palette and passing it as the
third parameter to the
define a color for each letter you use in your pixel art. To create a color use the p5.js
which accepts RGB (red, green, blue) values or HEX color codes.
The easiest way to find colors is to use a color picker.
Moving a sprite by directly editing its (x, y) coordinates will teleport it to the new position, without moving it through intermediate positions.
Try clicking around this mini example.
If you want a sprite to physically interact with other sprites while it's moving, don't teleport it!
This bad example shows what happens if a sprite is teleported every time the p5.js draw function renders a frame.
All the other movement methods on this page change the sprite's
vel, which is its rate of motion along the x and y axis.
vel is a p5.js Vector, you can use any vector functions on it.
Restart this example to see the player sprite hit the block!
Yet, you may find it's more convenient to move a sprite by setting its
You can also set a sprite's direction using an angle value or direction name such as: 'up', 'down', 'left', 'right', 'upLeft', 'upRight', 'downLeft', 'downRight'.
move function moves a sprite across a fixed distance. The direction and speed of the
movement can be specified as parameters to the function or set separately, like in the previous
moveTowards function moves a sprite towards a position, at a percentage of the
distance to that position.
In this example, the player moves 10% of the distance to the mouse on every p5.js draw call. Its speed, and the force it exerts on the block, is proportional to the distance it moves.
moveTo function generates an impulse that moves a sprite to a position at a constant
But note that if the sprite is acted on by a force like gravity or bumps into another sprite, its speed and direction will be affected and it may not reach the target position.
Any movement function that accepts an object with x and y properties could instead be called with (x, y) position numbers.
Hopefully the examples on this page helped you understand some of the sprite movement options available in p5play!
But, note that the
moveTowards functions are
imperative, they override a sprite's current motion, forcing it to move in a new direction. That may
not always be what you want! Read the page on advanced sprite movement to learn how to move a sprite
with respect to other forces acting on it, such as gravity.
Create Sprites faster
Inside the Sprite constructor,
new Sprite(), you can specify the sprite's position,
size, and collider type.
As you saw on the previous Sprite reference pages, you don't need to add any inputs to the Sprite constructor to create a sprite. But, if you do want to set a sprite's size in the constructor you'll need to specify its position first.
By default, if no inputs are given to the Sprite constructor, a new sprite is positioned at the center of the canvas, with a width and height of 50 pixels, and a dynamic collider.
Try it out!
Try creating two sprites using the sprite constructor.
To check for collisions use these functions inside the p5.js
On the first frame that a sprite collides with another sprite, the
While a sprite is colliding with another sprite, the
colliding function returns the
number of frames the collision has occurred for.
On the first frame after two sprites collided, the
collided function returns true.
Sprites collide by default but they can also overlap!
By default sprites are drawn in the order they were created in.
You can change the draw order by editing a sprite's
.layer property. Sprites with higher
layer values get drawn on top of sprites with lower layer values.
For detecting overlaps, use these functions inside the p5.js
On the first frame that a sprite overlaps with another sprite, the
While a sprite is overlapping with another sprite, the
overlapping function returns the
number of frames the overlap has occurred for.
On the first frame after two sprites overlapped, the
overlapped function returns true.
Note that physical interactions between sprites, including collisions and overlaps, can't be properly detected when a sprite is teleported, its position is directly changed!
remove function deletes a sprite.
Try it out!
Try making the blue sprite change to red only if it's overlapping with the red sprite.
Switch between overlaps and collides
When you set an overlap relationship between two sprites, they will no longer collide, but you can make them have a collision relationship again by using a collision function.
In this example, pressing the space key temporarily allows the player to ghost through the wall.
Directly changing the
rotation property of a sprite will teleport it to the specified
Don't teleport a sprite if you want it to physically interact with other sprites while it's rotating!
All of the other rotation methods on this page work by changing the sprite's
rotate function to rotate a sprite by an amount.
The optional second parameter is the speed at which the sprite rotates per frame.
rotateTo function to rotate a sprite to an angle. Rotation speed can be given as
an optional second parameter.
Alternatively, if the function is given an object with x, y coordinates, the sprite will rotate to face that position. The "facing" angle is the angle that the sprite should be at when facing the target position. Try changing it from 0 to 90. When you click, the long side of the sprite will rotate to face the mouse.
rotateTowards function to rotate a sprite towards an angle or towards facing a
The optional second parameter is the tracking speed, a percent of the distance the sprite moves on each frame to the target rotation angle, 0.1 (10%) by default.
offset property to move the sprite's physics body relative to its center.
sprite.debug is true, the center of the sprite is marked with a small green
crosshair. The center point is where the sprite's x and y coordinates are located. It is also the
center of rotation.
sprite.scale will scale the sprite's collider and visual appearance by the
Press a number key to see the sprite scale uniformly by that amount.
Click your mouse or touch tap to double the sprite's scale.
Press "x" or "y" to scale the sprite in that direction by a random amount. But note that if the sprite gets scaled unevenly, the image will get distorted and stay that way even when scaled uniformly again.
Sprites have physical attributes that affect how they interact with the world. Take a look at the mini examples to see these attributes in action.
The larger the sprite, the more mass it has by default. When a sprite's size is initially
mass will be calculated.
But in the real world, stretching or squishing an object doesn't change its mass, so in p5play
changing a sprite's size doesn't change its mass either. To recalculate a sprite's mass after
changing its size, use the
Try it out!
This mini example shows how sprites of different sizes can balance on a seesaw if their mass is set to the same value. Try changing the mass of one of the sprites.
p5play uses planck.js, a JS port of the Box2D physics engine. It generates realistic looking interactions at a good rate of performance, but it also has some limitations you should be aware of.
In this mini example the ball has a
bounciness of 1, so each time the ball bounces it
should return to its starting position. However, due to a bug in planck, the ball bounces
incrementally higher each time it hits the ground.
This full bounce interaction is impossible in real life, but could be an important element in a video game.
bounciness bug is most noticeable when a collider bounces off a flat surface, like
in these examples.
Here's a workaround that overrides the ball's y velocity after it collides with the ground.
In this example the block's color is red when it is colliding with the moving platform. Although you might expect the block to stay red while being lifted by the platform, it blinks between red and blue.
In real life when a person gets on an elevator and it rises, we would say that person was colliding with the elevator floor.
In planck however, when a collider is displaced by another collider, they constantly collide and separate from each other.
If you're trying to make a platformer game,
colliding is not a reliable way to check if
a sprite is standing on a platform. Check out my platformer demo.
move functions are imperative, they override a sprite's velocities. But what if you want
a sprite to respect other forces acting on it, such as gravity?
A bearing is the direction that needs to be followed to reach a destination. Changing a sprite's bearing won't imperatively change its movement direction.
applyForce with one input parameter, the amount of force, to have the force be
applied at the sprite's
In this example, the drone has to overcome the force of gravity to fly. Make the drone fly, then let it fall, when upward force is applied to the drone again it'll gradually stop falling and start to fly!
applyForceScaled function multiplies the force applied to the sprite by its mass.
You can use this function to give sprites their own gravity!
Both force functions can accept force as separate x and y components or as an amount, provided you
set the sprite's
By default, force is applied to the sprite's center of mass. But the force functions can also accept a last input parameter, a position object with x and y properties that specifies the relative position of where force will be applied on the sprite.
attractTo function to attract the sprite to a position by applying force. The
position can be given as an object with x and y properties or as separate x and y parameters.
This example shows an electron orbiting the nucleus of an atom. (Note this visualization isn't realistic based on current scientific understanding, but it looks cool!)
Note that the advanced movement functions shown on this page will not wake sleeping sprites!
Torque is the force that causes rotation. Use
applyTorque to non-imperatively affect the
In this example, the robot rolls slower going uphill than it does going downhill.
There are three different chain modes: vertex, distance, and line.
To use vertex mode, provide the Sprite constructor with an array of vertex arrays. Each vertex array should contain [x, y] coordinates. In these mini examples the sprite's (x, y) position is highlighted by a small black square.
Try changing the vertexes of the chain sprite in the mini example to make the ball stay on the floor!
To use distance mode, provide the Sprite constructor an (x, y) position and an array of distance arrays. These arrays should contain [x, y] distances relative to the previous vertex. The (x, y) position will be the first vertex in the chain.
Distance mode is best for creating super long chains.
Try adding 5 distances to make the ground roll up and down on a rocky ground chain.
To use line mode, provide the Sprite constructor an (x,y) position and a list of line lengths and angles. Each angle is relative to the previous line's angle.
It's best to use line mode for small and/or symmetrical chains.
Note that the line mode chain's (x, y) position is located at the average of all its vertices, which may not be a point on the chain.
Try changing the lengths of these lines and their angles!
Regular polygons can be created by providing the Sprite constructor with a side length and the name of the polygon.
Here are the names you can use: triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, septagon, octagon, enneagon, decagon, hendecagon, and dodecagon.
If the start and end of a chain is at the same point and the resulting shape is convex, it automatically becomes a polygon!
You can force a convex polygon to be a chain by setting
sprite.shape = 'chain'
Any polygon or chain with a closed shape is center positioned.
Here's the code for making a regular star with five points.
Note that because the star is a concave shape it can't have a polygon collider.
Now you can see how the tumbler demo on the p5play homepage was made!
Closed chains are empty on the inside and they can act as a container for many smaller sprites.
Note that closed chain colliders aren't so good at being dynamic colliders.
This is a limitation of the Box2D physics engine that p5play uses. See the "Combo Colliders" page to learn how to create concave colliders from multiple convex colliders.
By using the
addCollider function you can add multiple colliders to a sprite. It
supports the same input arguments as the Sprite constructor, except the first two parameters are
x and y offsets from the sprite's position.
But only use this feature when it's really necessary for gameplay! Usually if something requires a lot of colliders, like the walls of a maze, you should just create multiple sprites, each with their own collider. Also, even if a sprite's image is complex, typically a box or circle will be just fine for physics interactions, especially for small sprites.
Yet sometimes, you will truly need to create a sprite with multiple colliders. For example, if you want to model a pinball flipper!
Note that adding a collider to a sprite will automatically recalculate the sprite's mass.
Overlap sensors determine if a sprite overlaps with another sprite.
By default when an overlap checking method is used, and the sprite has no sensors, the
addDefaultSensors function is used behind the scenes to create sensors for each of
the sprite's colliders.
You can add additional sensors to a sprite by using the
Sometimes you won't be able to use pre-drawn animations to get the kind of visual effect you want for a sprite in motion.
Fortunately, you can customize the sprite's
draw function to make it display
anything you want!
Note that inside the sprite's draw function the center of the sprite is translated to position (0, 0).
This mini example rotates the sprite's ellipse to the direction it's moving and makes the ellipse stretch in that direction proportional to its speed. Kind of complicated!
update function runs at the end of the p5.js draw loop by default. It
updates the sprite's animation (if it has one) and mouse event tracking.
Thanks to some behind the scenes magic, overriding the function will not replace the default behavior, but allows you to add to it.
These examples use a
Turtle sprite which is just a regular sprite
that's green and shaped like a triangle for that classic turtle
You can use the
await keyword inside an
async function to wait for a
movement to finish before continuing with the next movement. This is useful for making a sprite move
in a sequence.
delay function can be used to wait for a specified number of milliseconds. 1000
milliseconds is equal to 1 second!
all return a
Promise that resolves to true when the movement is finished.
But, if the sprite's movement is interrupted by a new movement or a collision that significantly changes the sprite's trajectory, the promise will resolve to false.
If you want a sprite to follow another sprite, you may be tempted to use
repeatedly, without waiting for the sprite to reach its destination. But for better performance, try
angleTo function, which gets the angle between a sprite and a position. This
angle can be used to change the direction that the sprite moves in.
In this example, the p5.js dist function is used to calculate the distance between the player and its ally.