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How to make a sprite follow a path

Swift version: 5.4

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

SpriteKit makes it easy for a node to follow a path we specify, and you can use it to make rockets take off, enemies to zig zag around a maze, and more.

First, create a UIBezierPath specifying the shape of your path:

let path = UIBezierPath()
path.move(to: CGPoint(x: 0, y: 0))
path.addLine(to: CGPoint(x: 0, y: 1000))

That will move directly up.

Next, turn that into an SKAction using SKAction.follow(). You can specify whether this path is an offset or contains absolute coordinates – we used X:0 Y:0 above, so if we request offset movement that will be equivalent to the node’s starting position.

The follow() method also accepts parameters for speed (how fast the movement should happen), and whether the node should orient itself to the path. The orientation option is particularly neat: your node will turn itself so that it’s always facing towards the path.

Try this code to make a node follow a path with path orientation enabled:

let move = SKAction.follow(path.cgPath, asOffset: true, orientToPath: true, speed: 200)
node.run(move)
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