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An extensible Behavior Tree library in Go.

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Go Behave

An extensible Behavior Tree library in Go.

GoDoc Build Status License: MIT


Important notice

The library is still under development. Please do not assume API stability – fork the repository if you need that.


A behavior tree is a formalism for describing the behavior of an autonomous entity such as a robot or a non-player character in a video game. A behavior tree, by its nature, allows for highly modular behavior design thanks to the composability of its nodes, and the formalism makes task switching and state management trivial.

A behavior tree is a directed rooted tree with at most three categories of nodes: composite nodes, decorator nodes and leaf nodes. Each category can contain many different types of nodes. A tick is sent from the root with a certain frequency, making a pre-order traversal of the tree. Each node type provides a different algorithm for processing the tick, explained below. Once a tick has been processed, the node returns a status to its parent - either Failure, Running or Success.

Leaf nodes require a data context, which will be propagated throughout the tree via the Tick procedure. The context usually contains a reference to the owner of the tree, i.e. the entity for which the tree describes a behavior, and a store or blackboard which is a data storage system that can be shared between different entities - in a game this store would contain e.g. information about the game world, positions of all entities, and so on.

Composite nodes

A composite node has a type and one or more children. Below are some common types of composite nodes:

  • Sequence: Tick children in order. Succeeds only if each child succeeds. Fails as soon as any child fails. Returns Running if the currently executing child returns Running.
  • Selector: Tick children in order. Succeeds as soon as a child succeeds. Fails only if each child fails. Returns Running if the currently executing child returns Running.
  • Random Sequence and Random Selector: Same as sequence and selector, except the order of the children is randomized before each time the node runs.

Decorator nodes

A decorator node has a type and one child. Below are some common types of decorator nodes.

  • Inverter: The inverter node inverts (negates) the the result of its child, or returns Running if the child returns Running.
  • Repeater: A repeater node will re-tick its child when it returns Success or Failure. The number of times the child is re-ticked can be limited or unlimited. Often used to wrap the root of the tree in order to make the tree run indefinitely.
  • Delayer: A delayer node will always return Running during a certain amount of time, after which it tick its child and return its status.

Leaf nodes

A leaf node is normally specifically tailored to the application at hand. In a robotics context the task might be "Pick Up Object" or "Move Arm"; in a video game context it might be "Find Nearest Target" or "Attack Target". One can generally divide leaf nodes into two subcategories:

  • Action nodes, which interact with the environment and return a status depending on the result.
  • Condition nodes, which do not do anything apart from querying the environment for information and subsequently returning a status.

In Go Behave, there is no differentiation being made between these two subcategories, as the difference is only semantic.


Please see the documentation and the examples.

Defining custom nodes

While the library offers a set of pre-made common node types, it's easy to implement your own. The available node types can be found in the composite, decorator and action packages. These are not required for you to use the rest of the library, but greatly simplify usage.

In order to define a custom node type, the type must embed *core.T where T is either Composite, Decorator or Leaf, and define the following methods:

(n *YourCustomNode) Enter(*core.Context)
(n *YourCustomNode) Tick(*core.Context) core.Status
(n *YourCustomNode) Leave(*core.Context)

The struct may also contain other fields that will be initialized in the node's constructor, which you also need to create. If you intend to construct a tree containing the node by compiling a definition string (see the next section), the function type of the custom node's constructor function must match one of CompositeFn, DecoratorFn or LeafFn (see core/types.go). An example can be seen in common/decorator/repeater.go (or any other type in the composite, decorator, action or condition packages).

Defining behavior trees

A behavior tree is defined by building a tree structure from behavior nodes and thereafter passing the root node and thereafter creating an instance of a BehaviorTree by passing a Config object to the NewBehaviorTree function.

In addition to have a reference to an actual root node, Config has two fields - Owner and Data, both of type interface{}. How you choose to use these fields is up to you. Commonly, Owner refers to the entity to which the behavior tree is attached, and Data refers to some kind of storage mechanism, such as a Blackboard (e.g. store/Blackboard.go) or any structure of your choice. The types of Owner and Data will of course have to be asserted inside the application specific nodes at runtime.


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The package is identified by behave, not go-behave.


This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE.txt file for details.

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