Built-in Global Variables

When an instance of the ShowBase class is created, many of its member variables are written to the built-in scope of the Python interpreter, making them available to any Python module without the need for extra imports.

While these are handy for prototyping, we do not recommend using them in bigger projects as it can make the code confusing to read to other Python developers to whom it may not be obvious from where these variables are originating.

Many of these built-in variables are alternatively accessible as members of the global base instance, or can instead be imported from the ShowBaseGlobal module.

The variables written to the built-in scope are:

base

A global instance of the ShowBase class is available to any Python scope as base. This allows access to the graphical display, the scene graph, the input devices, the task and event managers, and all the other things that ShowBase is responsible for setting up and managing.

Although it is not a required component, most Panda3D applications are created using the ShowBase abstraction layer, because it sets up nearly everything needed by most games and simulations, with only a minimal amount of set up required. In fact, to start up a ShowBase application, it is only necessary to call:

from direct.showbase.ShowBase import ShowBase

base = ShowBase()
base.run()

There can only be one ShowBase instance at a time; call destroy() to get rid of it, which will allow another instance to be created.

Type

ShowBase

render

A NodePath created as the root of the default 3-D scene graph. Parent models to this node to make them show up in the 3-D display region.

Type

NodePath

render2d

Like render, but created as root of the 2-D scene graph. The coordinate system of this node runs from -1 to 1, with the X axis running from left to right and the Z axis from bottom to top.

Type

NodePath

aspect2d

The root of the 2-D scene graph used for GUI rendering. Unlike render2d, which may result in elements being stretched in windows that do not have a square aspect ratio, this node is scaled automatically to ensure that nodes parented to it do not appear stretched.

Type

NodePath

pixel2d

This is a variant of aspect2d that is scaled up such that one Panda unit is equal to one pixel on screen. It can be used if pixel-perfect layout of UI elements is desired. Its pixel origin is also in the top-left corner of the screen. Because Panda uses a Z-up coordinate system, however, please note that the Z direction goes up the screen rather than down, and therefore it is necessary to use negative instead of positive coordinates in the Z direction.

Type

NodePath

hidden

This is a scene graph that is not used for anything, to which nodes can be parented that should not appear anywhere. This is esoteric and rarely needs to be used; the use of stash() will suffice in most situations wherein a node needs to be temporarily removed from the scene graph.

Type

NodePath

camera

A node that is set up with the camera used to render the default 3-D scene graph (render) attached to it. This is the node that should be used to manipulate this camera, but please note that it is necessary to first call base.disableMouse() to ensure that the default mouse controller releases its control of the camera.

Type

NodePath

loader

This is the primary interface through which assets such as models, textures, sounds, shaders and fonts are loaded. See Loading Models.

Type

Loader

taskMgr

The global task manager, as imported from direct.task.TaskManagerGlobal.

Type

TaskManager

jobMgr

The global job manager, as imported from direct.showbase.JobManagerGlobal.

Type

JobManager

eventMgr

The global event manager, as imported from direct.showbase.EventManagerGlobal.

Type

EventManager

messenger

The global messenger, imported from direct.showbase.MessengerGlobal, is responsible for event handling. The most commonly used method of this object is perhaps messenger.send("event"), which dispatches a custom event.

Type

Messenger

bboard

The global bulletin board, as imported from direct.showbase.BulletinBoardGlobal.

Type

BulletinBoard

ostream

The default Panda3D output stream for notifications and logging, as a short-hand for Notify.out().

Type

Ostream

globalClock

The clock object used by default for timing information, a short-hand for ClockObject.getGlobalClock().

The most common use is to obtain the time elapsed since the last frame (for calculations in movement code), using globalClock.dt. The value is given in seconds.

Another useful function is to get the frame time (in seconds, since the program started):

frameTime = globalClock.getFrameTime()
Type

ClockObject

vfs

A global instance of the virtual file system, as a short-hand for VirtualFileSystem.getGlobalPtr().

Type

VirtualFileSystem

cpMgr

Provides access to the loaded configuration files. Short-hand for ConfigPageManager.getGlobalPtr().

Type

ConfigPageManager

cvMgr

Provides access to configuration variables. Short-hand for ConfigVariableManager.getGlobalPtr().

Type

ConfigVariableManager

pandaSystem

Provides information about the Panda3D distribution, such as the version, compiler information and build settings. Short-hand for PandaSystem.getGlobalPtr().

Type

PandaSystem

inspect(obj)[source]

Short-hand for direct.tkpanels.Inspector.inspect(), which opens up a GUI panel for inspecting an object’s properties.

See Inspection Utilities.

config

The deprecated DConfig interface for accessing config variables.

run()

Calls the task manager main loop, which runs indefinitely. This is a deprecated short-hand for base.run().

See Main Loop.