Ignition Gazebo

API Reference

Create System Plugins

In Ignition Gazebo, all systems are loaded as plugins at runtime. To create a system plugin for use in the simulation environment, follow the steps below.

Decide on interfaces to implement

The first step of implementing a system plugin is to determine the subset of available interfaces to implement. Aside from the base System object, there are currently three additional available interfaces:

  1. ISystemPreUpdate
    1. Has read-write access to world entities and components.
    2. Executed with simulation time at (t0).
    3. Can be used to modify state before physics runs, for example for applying control signals or performing network synchronization.
  2. ISystemUpdate
    1. Has read-write access to world entities and components.
    2. Responsible for propagating time from (t0) to (t0 + dt).
    3. Used for physics simulation step.
  3. ISystemPostUpdate
    1. Has read-only access to world entities and components.
    2. Executed with simulation time at (t0 + dt).
    3. Used to read out results at the end of a simulation step to be used for sensor or controller updates.

Systems that are only used to read the current state of the world (sensors, graphics, and rendering) should implement ISystemPostUpdate.

Generally, systems that do not manage physics stepping will not need to implement the ISystemUpdate interface.

Controllers and systems that provide feedback based on the state of the world will need to implement ISystemPostUpdate to read the state at the end of an update frame, as well as ISystemPreUpdate to provide feedback at the beginning of the next frame.

Implement Header

The header should include the System header:

Your System object should inherit from the System object as well as from any interfaces that it provides. It should then implement the corresponding methods from the inherited interfaces.

namespace sample_system
class SampleSystem:
// This is class a system.
// This is class also implements the ISystemPostUpdate interface.
public: SampleSystem();
public: ~SampleSystem() override;
public: void PostUpdate(const ignition::gazebo::UpdateInfo &_info,
class SampleSystem2:
// This is class a system.
// This is class also implements the ISystemPreUpdate, ISystemUpdate,
// and ISystemPostUpdate interfaces.
public: SampleSystem2();
public: ~SampleSystem2() override;
public: void PreUpdate(const ignition::gazebo::UpdateInfo &_info,
public: void Update(const ignition::gazebo::UpdateInfo &_info,
public: void PostUpdate(const ignition::gazebo::UpdateInfo &_info,

Implement Source

Implement the system class as normal

Register Plugin

If the library will only contain one plugin:

// Include a line in your source file for each interface implemented.

If the library will contain multiple plugins, in one implementation do as above, and then for each successive implementation use:


Setup the build

In your CMakeLists.txt add the following

ign_find_package(ignition-plugin0 REQUIRED COMPONENTS register)
# Add sources for each plugin to be registered.
add_library(SampleSystem SampleSystem.cc SampleSystem2.cc)
set_property(TARGET SampleSystem PROPERTY CXX_STANDARD 17)

Loading your plugin

In the SDF file representing your simulation, add the plugin to the world section:

<sdf version="1.6">
<world name="default">