p2 is a JavaScript 2D physics library that works in the browser and node. Setting an object’s friction and bounce is not obvious at first glance.

Versions used below

  "p2": "0.6.0"

Body doesn’t have friction and bounce

Body seems like the most sensible place to have friction and bounce properties but they’re not there.

p2 handles it in a more flexible way at the cost of a little more initial set up. Here’s how you do it…

Assign Materials to Shapes

Bodies are made up of one or more Shapes and each Shape can have a Material. Materials have no physical properties. They act as identifiers representing whatever the Shape is made out of.

// create body
var boxBody = new p2.Body({
  mass: 1

// add shape to body
var boxShape = new p2.Rectangle(width, height);

// assign material to shape
var boxMaterial = new p2.Material();
boxShape.material = boxMaterial;

Create ContactMaterials for pairs of Materials

A ContactMaterial is a pairing of two Materials. ContactMaterials have properties that control the physics when Shapes with those Materials collide. This is where friction and bounce, among other things, can be set.

var boxVsBall = new p2.ContactMaterial(boxMaterial, ballMaterial, {
    // friction
    friction: 0.5,
    // bounce
    restitution: 1
    // see p2 docs for other options allowed here

The values to use is not an exact science. I tweak and check repeatedly until it feels right for my game. For inspiration see p2’s demos and examples.

ContactMaterials must be added to the World so p2 knows about them.


Default ContactMaterial

If both colliding Shapes have a Material and the World has a ContactMaterial for that pair, it will be used. Otherwise the World’s default ContactMaterial is used. The default ContactMaterial has reasonable defaults and can be modified.

world.defaultContactMaterial.friction = 0;

If your objects will all interact with the same physics, this is a quick way to get going.