The Default Camera Driver

By default, panda runs a task that enables you to move the camera using the mouse. This task will conflict with any code you write to move the camera. The task controls the camera by updating the camera’s position every frame to where the mouse thinks it should be. This means that any other code that directly controls the camera will not seem to work, because it will be fighting the mouse for control.

If you want to move the camera directly under show control, you must first disable the camera control task and then the camera will move as expected.


The ShowBase class contains some handy methods to allow the user control over the camera. The useDrive() command enables keyboard and mouse control. Both control systems move only on the x and y axes, so moving up and down along the z axis is impossible with these systems.

The keyboard system uses the arrow keys. Up moves the camera forward, and down move it back. The left and right arrows turn the camera.

The mouse system responds whenever any button is held. If the pointer is towards the top of the screen, the camera moves forward. If it is towards the bottom, the camera moves backwards. If it is on either side, the camera rotates to that direction. The speed the camera moves is determined by how far from the center the mouse pointer is. Additionally, there is another command that allows control based on trackball mice.


ShowBase also provides the method oobe() to give you to control of the basic camera node ( with the mouse/trackball while the code continues to move the camera node ( This can be useful for debugging purposes. The word stands for “out-of-body experience” and is handy for giving you a God’s-eye view of your application at any point in development. The method is a toggle; call it once to enable OOBE mode, and then again to disable it.


oobeCull() is a variant on oobe(), and it works similarly, except that it still culls the scene as if the camera were still in its original position, while drawing the scene from the point of view of your camera’s new position. So now you can view the scene from your “out of body” placement, and walk around, and you can see things popping in and out of view as your view frustum moves around the world.