Time to setup physics for your game world and game play objects.

SpriteKit Physics

You will be using the powerful physics engine built into SpriteKit, thankfully it's as easy as ticking a box to enable physics for each of our game objects. I recommend you have a read of Apple's Physics Documentation as physics plays a key role in many games, a game may not even appear to be physics based yet will often use physics for collision detection as this on its own is a powerful feature.

Make the ground static

Select the ground node, ensure the Attributes inspector is open and scroll down until you see the Physics Definition option. Set the Body Type to Bounding rectangle, which will present you will the additional physics properties. Set the body to be static by unchecking dynamic, there is no need for it to rotation so uncheck Allows Rotation, there is also no need for it to be affected by gravity, so deselect Affected By Gravity.

Create the static ground physics body

Enable bunny physics

Open Hero.sks and select the Bunny sprite. Find the physics definition section and Set Body Type to Bounding circle. You should notice a faint circle around the bunny to show the physics body. Next check the following boxes Dynamic, Allow Rotation and Affected By Gravity. (By default they should be checked).

Set Friction to 0. This will prevent the Bunny from sliding along the ground, this will help as the tutorial progresses.

Enabling bunny physics

You might wonder why we only used a circle for our bunny physics definition. When it comes to physics, less is always more, physics can be intensive on mobile devices and you want to simplify life as much as possible for the physics engine. Circles provide the best performance and if you can get away with just a circle then use it, the trick is using the most efficient shape for the job at hand.

Adding the bunny to the world

To add the bunny to the game, drag the Hero.sks file into the scene. This will automatically create a Reference node pointing to the Hero.sks

Enabling bunny physics

Set the position to (80, 280).

Often Reference node are not displayed properly when initially placed into a scene, a quick Save of the scene should rectify this.


If you click outside of our GameScene yellow box and check the Attributes inspector you will see our physics world will default to approximate Earth's gravity -9.8. GameScene Gravity

Also notice the Debug Drawing options in the inspector, the Show Physics Boundaries is handy to check that your > physics is where you think it should be. This creates the faint blue outlines.

Adding the crystals

Let's add some pretty crystals above the ground to complete the visual appeal of Hoppy Bunny Swift by dragging bg_crystals.png into the scene:

Adding crystals

Snap it top the top of ground.

Check your progress

Let's check that gravity is running correctly, SpriteKit Scene editor allows you to check this without having to run the game. Select Animate in GameScene.sks as you did before in Hero.sks, you should see the animated hero succumb to the gravity and fall to the ground. If it doesn't please go back and double check your work so far :]

Before you hit that Run, you need to clear out the default project template code. Open GameScene.swift and replace with the following:

import SpriteKit

class GameScene: SKScene {
    override func didMove(to view: SKView) {
        /* Setup your scene here */

    override func touchesBegan(_ touches: Set<UITouch>, with event: UIEvent?) {
        /* Called when a touch begins */

    override func update(_ currentTime: TimeInterval) {
        /* Called before each frame is rendered */


Now it's time to hit Run and see your game running in action.

Run Project

I tend to run with iPhone 6 simulator as it's a little faster than the default 7, a handy tip is also try cmd+2 or cmd+3 to reduce the scale to improve simulator performance. If you are setup to test on device then please do so, this will offer the best performance of all and would be what your player would see. Physics based games are best ran on device.

Z Position

Argghh, it looks weird, the bunny is behind the crystals!

Z Position issues

In SpriteKit there is no implied object rendering order, so all objects are rendered by default at a Z-Position of 0. So if your bunny is at the same position as the crystals, you will have unpredictable rendering results.

Wait, so what is Z Position?

Z-Position or Z-Order defines the render ordering for overlapping 2d objects.

Z Position Example

Rectangle B is drawn after rectangle A. The result is rectB is drawn “above” rectA. RectB is said to have higher Z-Position than rectA.

You can easily set the Z-Position of your sprites in the Attributes inspector:

Modify Z Position

Keep it logical, imagine you are painting a scene, work from the back to the front. Set the z position of the crystals and ground to 0. Set the clouds to z position 1. Last put our bunny on top of everything with a value of 2.

Run the project again and it should look perfect now.

Z Position Fixed


It's coming along nicely now, so what did you learn?

  • Added basic physics to the game
  • Learnt how to use a reference node
  • Used Z-Position to layer your sprites
  • Finally got to run the game

Next chapter you will be adding player controls to the hero.


If you have feedback on this tutorial or find any mistakes, please open issues on the GitHub Repository or comment below.

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