Getting the cursor world position in a Bevy 3D game with Rapier

2021 Apr 25 4 minute read

There's a few ways already out there to capture the cursor in Bevy . If you're making a game in 2D space with an orthographic camera, there's some code in the Bevy Cheat Book. If you're creating a game in 3D space, and need to select entities, there is bevy_mod_picking.

I needed the world coordinates of my mouse, not a picker. I'm also using Rapier. The prospect using Rapier's physics system - instead of including another library - looked compelling.


This method might not work depending on how your game is set up. I've only tested in a 3D perspective camera world. Additionally, the cursor position will only update when moved on the client-side. This can be an issue if the camera moves. The world position of the cursor may change without the device moving, but no update event will send.

Ray extension traits

To get the mouse position, we need to cast a ray from our camera.

I'm using extension traits to add some new functionality to Rapier's Ray type. I adapted some code from a Bevy PR by MarekLg to do this. (Thanks!)

pub trait RayExt {
   fn from_window(window: &Window, camera: &Camera, camera_transform: &GlobalTransform) -> Self;
   fn from_mouse_position(
       mouse_position: &Vec2,
       window: &Window,
       camera: &Camera,
       camera_transform: &GlobalTransform,
   ) -> Self;

impl RayExt for Ray {
   fn from_window(window: &Window, camera: &Camera, camera_transform: &GlobalTransform) -> Self {

   fn from_mouse_position(
       mouse_position: &Vec2,
       window: &Window,
       camera: &Camera,
       camera_transform: &GlobalTransform,
   ) -> Self {
       if != camera.window {
           panic!("Generating Ray from Camera with wrong Window");

       let x = 2.0 * (mouse_position.x / window.width() as f32) - 1.0;
       let y = 2.0 * (mouse_position.y / window.height() as f32) - 1.0;

       let camera_inverse_matrix =
           camera_transform.compute_matrix() * camera.projection_matrix.inverse();
       let near = camera_inverse_matrix * Vec3::new(x, y, 0.0).extend(1.0);
       let far = camera_inverse_matrix * Vec3::new(x, y, 1.0).extend(1.0);

       let near = near.truncate() / near.w;
       let far = far.truncate() / far.w;
       let dir: Vec3 = far - near;
       let origin = Point3::new(near.x, near.y, near.z);

       Self {
           dir: dir.to_vector3(),

Now we have some methods (mainly from_window) that we can call to get a rapier Ray. We can use this to check for collisions.

While optional, I took inspiration from some code in bevy_mod_raycast to create a Ray creation helper function.

pub fn screen_to_world(
   windows: &Res<Windows>,
   camera: &Camera,
   camera_transform: &GlobalTransform,
) -> Ray {
   let window = windows
       .unwrap_or_else(|| panic!("WindowId {} does not exist", camera.window));
   Ray::from_window(window, camera, camera_transform);

Getting the cursor

In my case, I needed to get the cursor's position projected on a 2D plane (parallel to the camera's view). To do this in Rapier, we can use a HalfSpace.

I also wanted to save these coordinates in a resource to access in my other systems.

pub struct CursorPosition {
   pub screen: Vec2,
   pub world: Vec3,

pub fn update_cursor_position(
   mut cursor_moved: EventReader<CursorMoved>,
   camera: Query<(&Camera, &GlobalTransform)>,
   windows: Res<Windows>,
   mut cursor_position: ResMut<CursorPosition>,
) {
   if let Some(screen_position) = cursor_moved.iter().last().map(|f| f.position) {
       if let Ok((camera, camera_transform)) = camera.single() {
           let ray = screen_to_world(&windows, camera, camera_transform);
           let plane = HalfSpace::new(Unit::new_normalize(Vec3::Z.to_vector3()));
           if let Some(toi) = plane.cast_local_ray(&ray, Real::MAX, false) {
               let r = ray.point_at(toi);
               cursor_position.screen = screen_position;
      = Vec3::new(r.x, r.y, r.z);

Going beyond

We don't have to test on a HalfSpace, we can use any shape with any transform. (If you are applying a transform, use .cast_ray instead of .cast_local_ray.) We can also use this rapier Ray to test for collisions on entities, and create a simple picker.