This article is about how to use Godot in the upcoming 8 Bits to Infinity “Shape Jam” in January 2020. More info is available on the jam pages but here’s a short summary: In part 1, develop a game with simple shapes for graphics but make it easily moddable so someone else can replace the graphics and add sound. For part 2, take someone else’s part 1 game and create the graphics and sound.

The simplest approach to using Godot for this jam is to just provide the Godot project source. Since it’s a free and open source engine, anyone can download the engine and modify the game. This is a perfectly valid approach which doesn’t really need more elaboration. However, there are some drawbacks to this approach. It requires a modder to download and use the engine (at least at a basic level), including re-exporting the project after they are done making modifications.

Another way is to dynamically load assets at runtime from outside the Godot project and use them in the game. This is not totally straightforward and obvious to do in Godot, as it’s outside the normal Godot asset pipeline. Here’s some explanation on how to go about it. I’m using GDScript for my examples, but it should translate simply into other Godot scripting languages like C#.

I’ve got a test project demonstrating these techniques on Github.

When working normally in Godot, you place assets into the Godot project folder. Then, if they are in a format the engine understands, it will automatically import them and they will be available under the res:// paths. In order to load assets outside of this process, we need to manually open and read files and then convert them into the proper Godot resource format using the functionality available in the engine.

Reading bytes out of a file

This code snippet lets you open and read a file from the filesystem, creating a PoolByteArray of the file content.

    var file =, File.READ)
    var bytes = file.get_buffer(file.get_len()) # bytes is a PoolByteArray

A note on the filepath: we don’t want to use Godot’s res:// or user:// style filepaths as these will not read out of the compiled project directory. Instead, using a simple relative path seems to do the trick. For example, using test_image.png as the filepath would read that image out of the same directory as the project executable.

It’s probably possible for someone to break this by running the exe with a different working directory, but that’s really their problem.

Finally, this will probably only work on desktop platforms (Mac/Win/Linux) and not on Web. Not sure about Mobile but that’s unlikely to be relevant for a Game Jam.

Loading Images

First we need to create an Image resource from our file bytes. Conveniently, the Image class has a couple of methods to do the trick: load_jpeg/png/webp_from_buffer().

Once we’ve got an Image, we can create an ImageTexture from it using ImageTexture.create_from_image().


    var img =
    var tx =

Then you can use this texture anywhere you need to as with any other texture, for example assigning it to a Sprite to be drawn on screen:

    $Sprite.texture = tx

Loading Sounds

Sounds are slightly trickier as there isn’t a nice function to load the bytes into a sound. Instead we need to assign it to the data of the correct kind of AudioStream and make sure the settings are correct for the sound to play correctly.

AudioStreamSample is used for WAV sounds and AudioStreamOGGVorbis is used for OGGVorbis sound/music files. In both cases we assign the PoolByteArray to the data member of the stream. For an AudioStreamSample/WAV file the format, stereo mode and mix_rate must be set correctly for the WAV file in order for the sound to play correctly. Modders producing sounds will need to export their sounds with the correct settings.

WAV Example:

    var stream = = bytes
    # Note these settings will need to be correct otherwise you'll get garbage sound.
    # Will need to be documented for modders.
    stream.format = AudioStreamSample.FORMAT_16_BITS
    stream.stereo = true
    # stream.mix_rate defaults to 44100 which seems to be standard

OGGVorbis Example:

    var stream = = bytes
    # OGGVorbis doesn't have any additional settings so this should hopefully just work

Then once you have an AudioStream you can assign it to the stream member of an AudioStreamPlayer2D/3D as usual for playback.

    $ = stream


Using these techniques, you can make a Godot game moddable without needing to provide the source, or require modders to run the full Godot editor. This should make for some fun Shape Jam projects. Enjoy!