System Data

Every system can request data which it needs to run. This data can be specified using the System::SystemData type. Typical implementors of the SystemData trait are ReadStorage, WriteStorage, Read, Write, ReadExpect, WriteExpect and Entities. A tuple of types implementing SystemData automatically also implements SystemData. This means you can specify your System::SystemData as follows:

# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
struct Sys;

impl<'a> System<'a> for Sys {
    type SystemData = (WriteStorage<'a, Pos>, ReadStorage<'a, Vel>);

    fn run(&mut self, (pos, vel): Self::SystemData) {
        /* ... */

It is very important that you don't request both a ReadStorage and a WriteStorage for the same component or a Read and a Write for the same resource. This is just like the borrowing rules of Rust, where you can't borrow something mutably and immutably at the same time. In Specs, we have to check this at runtime, thus you'll get a panic if you don't follow this rule.

Accessing Entities

You want to create/delete entities from a system? There is good news for you. You can use Entities to do that. It implements SystemData so just put it in your SystemData tuple.

Don't confuse specs::Entities with specs::EntitiesRes. While the latter one is the actual resource, the former one is a type definition for Read<Entities>.

Please note that you may never write to these Entities, so only use Read. Even though it's immutable, you can atomically create and delete entities with it. Just use the .create() and .delete() methods, respectively.

For example, if you wanted to delete an entity based after a period of time you could write something similar like this.

# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
pub struct Life {
    life: f32,

struct DecaySys;

impl<'a> System<'a> for DecaySys {
    type SystemData = (Entities<'a>, WriteStorage<'a, Life>);

    fn run(&mut self, (entities, mut life): Self::SystemData) {
        for (e, life) in (&entities, &mut life).join() {
            if life < 0.0 {
            } else {
                life -= 1.0;

Just remember after dynamic entity deletion, a call to World::maintain is necessary in order to make the changes persistent and delete associated components.

Adding and removing components

Adding or removing components can be done by modifying either the component storage directly with a WriteStorage or lazily using the LazyUpdate resource.

use specs::{Component, Read, LazyUpdate, NullStorage, System, Entities, WriteStorage};

struct Stone;
impl Component for Stone {
    type Storage = NullStorage<Self>;

struct StoneCreator;
impl<'a> System<'a> for StoneCreator {
    type SystemData = (
        WriteStorage<'a, Stone>,
        Read<'a, LazyUpdate>,

    fn run(&mut self, (entities, mut stones, updater): Self::SystemData) {
        let stone = entities.create();

        // 1) Either we insert the component by writing to its storage
        stones.insert(stone, Stone);

        // 2) or we can lazily insert it with `LazyUpdate`
        updater.insert(stone, Stone);

Note: After using LazyUpdate a call to World::maintain is necessary to actually execute the changes.

SetupHandler / Default for resources

Please refer to the resources chapter for automatic creation of resources.

Specifying SystemData

As mentioned earlier, SystemData is implemented for tuples up to 26 elements. Should you ever need more, you could even nest these tuples. However, at some point it becomes hard to keep track of all the elements. That's why you can also create your own SystemData bundle using a struct:

extern crate specs;

use specs::prelude::*;

pub struct MySystemData<'a> {
    positions: ReadStorage<'a, Position>,
    velocities: ReadStorage<'a, Velocity>,
    forces: ReadStorage<'a, Force>,

    delta: Read<'a, DeltaTime>,
    game_state: Write<'a, GameState>,

Make sure to enable the shred-derive feature in your Cargo.toml:

specs = { version = "*", features = ["shred-derive"] }