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An experimental voxel engine.

Live demo of test app here!


Under active development, best way to try it is to clone and hack on it:

(clone this repo)
cd noa
npm install
npm start       # runs /examples/hello-world 
npm test        # runs /examples/test 

Here are live versions of the examples:

To build a new world app, use noa as a dependency:

npm install --save noa-engine
var engine = require('noa-engine')
var noa = engine({
    inverseY: true,
    // see source or examples for more options and usage 


The source is pretty fully commented. There is a partial API reference at the end of this file, but I haven't been able to find a good way of generating JSDocs that I can live with, so for now it's best to consult the source.

Recent changes:

  • 0.20.0
    • Near chunks get loaded and distant ones get unloaded faster and more sensibly
    • Greatly speeds up chunk init, meshing, and disposal (and fixes some new Chrome deopts)
  • 0.19.0
    • Revise per-block callbacks:
      • onLoad when a block is created as part of a newly-loaded chunk
      • onUnload - when the block goes away because its chunk was unloaded
      • onSet - when a block gets set to that particular id
      • onUnset - when a block that had that id gets set to something else
      • onCustomMeshCreate - when that block's custom mesh is instantiated (either due to load or set)
  • 0.18.0
    • Simplifies block targeting. Instead of several accessor methods, now there's a persistent noa.targetedBlock with details on whatever block is currently targeted.
    • noa now emits targetBlockChanged
    • Built-in block highlighting can now be overridden or turned off with option skipDefaultHighlighting
  • 0.17.0
    • Adds per-block callbacks: onCreate, onDestroy, onCustomMeshCreate
  • 0.16.0
    • Simplifies block registration - now takes an options argument, and the same API is used for custom mesh blocks
    • Removes the idea of registration for meshes

Partial API reference:


Main engine object.
Emits: tick, beforeRender, afterRender, targetBlockChanged

var noaEngine = require('noa-engine')
var noa = noaEngine(opts)
  • playerEntity - Entity id for the player entity

  • playerBody - reference to player entity's physics body

  • setPaused (paused) - Pausing the engine will also stop render/tick events, etc.

  • getBlock (x,y,z)

  • setBlock (x,y,z)

  • addBlock (id,x,y,z) - Adds a block unless obstructed by entities

  • getPlayerPosition()

  • getPlayerMesh()

  • setPlayerEyeOffset()

  • getPlayerEyePosition()

  • getCameraVector()

  • pick (pos, vec, dist) - Raycast through the world, returning a result object for any non-air block


Wrangles entities. This class is an instance of ECS, and as such implements the usual ECS methods. It's also decorated with helpers and accessor functions for getting component existence/state.

Expects entity definitions in a specific format - see source components folder for examples.

  • names - Hash containing the component names of built-in components.

  • addComponentAgain (id,name,state)

  • isTerrainBlocked (x,y,z)

  • setEntitySize (x,y,z)

  • getEntitiesInAABB (box)

  • add (position, width, height..)

    Helper to set up a general entity, and populate with some common components depending on arguments.

    Parameters: position, width, height [, mesh, meshOffset, doPhysics, shadow]

Module for managing the world, and its chunks

  • getBlockID (x,y,z)

  • getBlockSolidity (x,y,z)

  • getBlockOpacity (x,y,z)

  • getBlockTransparency (x,y,z)

  • getBlockFluidity (x,y,z)

  • getBlockProperties (x,y,z)

  • getBlockObjectMesh (x,y,z)

  • setBlockID (x,y,z)

  • isBoxUnobstructed (x,y,z)

  • setChunkData (id, array) - client should call this after creating a chunk's worth of data (as an ndarray)