System Plugin


Overview / HelloWorld Plugin Tutorial


Source: gazebo/examples/plugins/system_gui_plugin

This tutorial will create a source file that is a system plugin for gzclient designed to save images into the directory /tmp/gazebo_frames.

Source code

We'll start with the source file. Create a file called with the following contents:

$ cd ~/gazebo_plugin_tutorial
$ gedit

Copy the following into

#include <gazebo/math/Rand.hh>
#include <gazebo/gui/GuiIface.hh>
#include <gazebo/rendering/rendering.hh>
#include <gazebo/gazebo.hh>

namespace gazebo
  class SystemGUI : public SystemPlugin
    /// \brief Destructor
    public: virtual ~SystemGUI()
      if (this->userCam)

    /// \brief Called after the plugin has been constructed.
    public: void Load(int /*_argc*/, char ** /*_argv*/)
            boost::bind(&SystemGUI::Update, this)));

    // \brief Called once after Load
    private: void Init()

    /// \brief Called every PreRender event. See the Load function.
    private: void Update()
      if (!this->userCam)
        // Get a pointer to the active user camera
        this->userCam = gui::get_active_camera();

        // Enable saving frames

        // Specify the path to save frames into

      // Get scene pointer
      rendering::ScenePtr scene = rendering::get_scene();

      // Wait until the scene is initialized.
      if (!scene || !scene->Initialized())

      // Look for a specific visual by name.
      if (scene->GetVisual("ground_plane"))
        std::cout << "Has ground plane visual\n";

    /// Pointer the user camera.
    private: rendering::UserCameraPtr userCam;

    /// All the event connections.
    private: std::vector<event::ConnectionPtr> connections;

  // Register this plugin with the simulator

Both the Load and Init functions must not block. The Load and Init functions are called at startup, before Gazebo is loaded.

On the first Update, we get a pointer to the user camera (the camera used in the graphical interface) and enable saving of frames.

  1. Get the user camera

    this->userCam = gui::get_active_camera();
  2. Enable save frames

  3. Set the location to save frames


Compiling Camera Plugin

Assuming the reader has gone through the Hello WorldPlugin tutorial all that needs to be done is to add the following lines to ~/gazebo_plugin_tutorial/CMakeLists.txt

add_library(system_gui SHARED
target_link_libraries(system_gui ${GAZEBO_LIBRARIES})

Rebuild, and you should end up with a library.

$ cd ~/gazebo_plugin_tutorial/build
$ cmake ../
$ make

Running Plugin

First start gzserver in the background:

$ gzserver &

Run the client with plugin:

$ gzclient -g

Inside /tmp/gazebo_frames you should see many saved images from the current plugin.

Note: Remember to also terminate the background server process after you quit the client. In the same terminal, bring the process to foreground:

$ fg

and press Ctrl-C to abort the process. Alternatively, just kill the gzserver process:

$ killall gzserver