Adding actors to the scene

For an Actor to be drawn and updated, it needs to be part of the "scene graph". The Engine provides several easy ways to quickly add/remove actors from the current scene.

const game   = new ex.Engine(...);
const player = new ex.Actor();
const enemy  = new ex.Actor();
// add them to the "root" scene
// start game

You can also add actors to a scene instance specifically using Scene.add:

const game = new ex.Engine()
const level1 = new ex.Scene()
const player = new ex.Actor()
const enemy = new ex.Actor()
// add actors to level1
// add level1 to the game
game.add('level1', level1)
// start the game
game.start().then(() => {
  // after player clicks start game, for example

Scene lifecycle

A scene has a basic lifecycle that dictates how it is initialized, updated, and drawn. Once a scene is added to the engine it will follow this lifecycle:

Scene Lifecycle

For more complex games, you might want more control over a scene in which case you can extend Scene. This is useful for menus, custom loaders, and levels.

Adding a scene

Use Engine.add to add a new scene to the game. Each scene has a string key you can assign. You can then use Engine.goToScene to switch scenes which runs the scene lifecycle hooks.

class MainMenu extends ex.Scene {}
// add to game and activate it
game.add('mainmenu', new MainMenu())


This is the recommended hook for setting up scene state

Scene.onInitialize is called once when the scene is created for use in the game. It is called before Scene.onActivate and can be used to set up the scene state. This is typically where you'd add any actors to the scene, set up initial state, and other startup tasks.

class MainMenu extends Scene {
  private _startButton: StartButton

   * Start-up logic, called once
  public onInitialize(engine: Engine) {
    // initialize scene actors
    this._startButton = new StartButton()

You can even call Engine.start to preload assets for your scene, to avoid having to load them at game initialization time:

class MainMenu extends Scene {
  private _loaded: boolean = false

   * Start-up logic, called once
  public onInitialize(engine: Engine) {
    // load scene-specific assets
    engine.start(sceneLoader).then(() => {
      this._loaded = true


Scene.onActivate is called when the engine switches to the scene. It may be called more than once during the lifetime of a game, if you switch back and forth between scenes. It is useful for taking action before showing the scene. You may use this hook over onInitialize for anything specific to the context in which the scene was activated.

class MainMenu extends Scene {
  private startButton: StartButton

   * Each time the scene is entered (Engine.goToScene)
  public onActivate(oldScene: Scene, newScene: Scene) {
    if (oldScene instanceof Level) {
      this.startButton.text = 'Resume game'
    } else {
      this.startButton.text = 'Start game'


Scene.onDeactivate is called when the engine exits a scene and is typically used for cleanup, exit tasks, and garbage collection.

class Level extends Scene {
   * Each time the scene is exited (Engine.goToScene)
  public onDeactivate(oldScene: Scene, newScene: Scene) {


Cameras are attached to scenes and can be changed by setting By default, a Scene is initialized with a Camera that doesn't move and is centered on the screen.


Cameras have a position (x, y) which means they center around a specific point.

If a camera is following an Actor, it will ensure the actor is always at the center of the screen. You can use Camera.x and Camera.y instead if you wish to offset the focal point.

Camera strategies

Cameras can implement a number of strategies to track, follow, or exhibit custom behavior in relation to a target. A common reason to use a strategy is to have the Camera follow an Actor.

In order to user the different built-in strategies, you can access Camera.strategy

Lock the camera exactly to the center of the actor's bounding box

Lock the camera to one axis of the actor, in this case follow the actors x position, ex.Axis.X)

Elastically move the camera to an actor in a smooth motion see ElasticToActorStrategy for details

Keep the actor within a circle around the focus, radius)

Keep the camera limited within camera constraints.
Make sure that the camera bounds are at least as large as the viewport size.

let boundingBox = new BoundingBox(

Custom strategies

Custom strategies can be implemented by extending the CameraStrategy interface and added to cameras to build novel behavior with ex.Camera.addStrategy<T>(new MyCameraStrategy<T>()).

As shown below a camera strategy calculates a new camera position vector every frame given a target type, camera, engine, and elapsed delta in milliseconds.

 * Interface that describes a custom camera strategy for tracking targets
export interface CameraStrategy<T> {
   * Target of the camera strategy that will be passed to the action
  target: T

   * Camera strategies perform an action to calculate a new focus returned out of the strategy
  action: (target: T, camera: Camera, engine: Engine, delta: number) => Vector

Camera shake

To add some fun effects to your game, the Camera.shake method will do a random shake. This is great for explosions, damage, and other in-game effects.

Camera lerp

"Lerp" is short for Linear Interpolation and it enables the camera focus to move smoothly between two points using timing functions. Use Camera.move to ease to a specific point using a provided EasingFunction.

Camera zooming

To adjust the zoom for your game, use Camera.zoom which will scale the game accordingly. You can pass a duration to transition between zoom levels.

Known Issues

Actors following a path will wobble when camera is moving
Issue #276