Welcome to this tutorial where we dive into the fascinating world of Godot’s VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant class! If you have ventured into the realm of game development with Godot, you might have encountered the word ‘shader’. Shaders can have an immense impact on the aesthetics of your game by controlling the visual aspects of your scenes down to the pixel. But don’t let the word ‘shader’ intimidate you if you’re just getting started; today, we will make it as beginner-friendly as possible. Understanding and utilizing the VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant is a small, yet significant, step into mastering shaders in Godot 4—let’s embark on this visual journey together!
Table of contents
What Is VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant?
VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant is a component in Godot’s visual shader system that allows users to define a constant floating-point value, which can be used across your shader graph to maintain consistency and simplify calculations. It’s represented by a single scalar value, and you can think of it like a fixed number that doesn’t change as your game runs.
What Is It Used For?
In the context of a visual shader, this float constant might be used for a variety of purposes—from defining material properties such as transparency or reflectiveness, setting the intensity of a light source, to even controlling animation speeds. Basically, any aspect of your game’s visuals that requires a consistent value can utilize a float constant in its shader.
Why Should I Learn It?
Learning about the VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant is incredibly valuable because of its foundational role in shader development. By grasping this concept, you’ll be better equipped to handle more complex visual tasks in your projects. Not only does it help with managing and organizing your codes visually and intuitively, but it also gives you precise control over the graphics, helping achieve that extra polish and professionalism in your game.
Creating a VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant in Godot 4
To start with our hands-on exploration, let’s see how we can actually create a VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant in Godot 4:
var float_constant = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() float_constant.constant = 0.5
This simple code snippet demonstrates how to create a new float constant node and set its value to 0.5, which could represent halfway between on and off if you’re dealing with an opacity value or could be used to halve another value when used in calculations.
Now let’s add it to a VisualShader node and see how this integrates with the visual graph:
var visual_shader = VisualShader.new() var float_constant = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() float_constant.constant = 0.75 visual_shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, float_constant, Vector2(100, 150))
Here, you create a new VisualShader node, then create the float constant and set it to 0.75, and finally, you add it to the visual shader, specifying you want it to be a fragment shader. The ‘Vector2(100, 150)’ sets its position in the visual shader editor.
Using Float Constants in Shaders
Float constants can be used for scaling vector values. Let’s say you want to scale the UV coordinates to create a tiling effect:
var uv_scaling = Vector2(2.0, 2.0) # This will tile the texture twice on both axes # Assuming we've created a node to fetch UV coordinates named 'uv_coords' var vec_mult_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new() vec_mult_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_MULTIPLY # Connect the float constant to the vector multiplication node visual_shader.node_connect(float_constant.get_output_port(), vec_mult_node, 1) visual_shader.node_connect(uv_coords.get_output_port(), vec_mult_node)
This sets up a connection within your shader that multiplies your UV coordinates by the float constant, effectively tiling any textures you apply by the given factor.
Additionally, you can also control the strength of your textures using a float constant node, impacting the overall visual feel:
# Assume we have a texture we are applying named 'base_texture' var texture_strength = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() texture_strength.constant = 0.5 var texture_uniform = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new() visual_shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_uniform, Vector2(100, 300)) # Using a mix node to blend texture with a color based on the float constant strength var mix_node = VisualShaderNodeMix.new() visual_shader.node_connect(texture_uniform.get_output_port(), mix_node, 0) visual_shader.node_connect(texture_strength.get_output_port(), mix_node, 2) # Now the mix node will control how much of the texture is shown versus the plain color
In this example, the mix node takes in a texture, mixes it with a float value, and outputs a blend controlled by the strength of our float constant.
Adjusting Shader Properties Using Float Constants
Finally, consider using float constants to gradually alter properties such as light intensity over time. In this scenario, instead of setting a static value, you’ll be updating the float constant in the shader every frame based on your game’s logic:
var time_passed = 0.0 var light_intensity_node = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() func _process(delta): time_passed += delta light_intensity_node.constant = abs(sin(time_passed) * 2.0) # Create a pulsing effect by changing light intensity
Here, every frame, you are adjusting the value of ‘light_intensity_node’, creating a dynamic pulsing effect that reacts to the passing of time in your game.
Remember that all these snippets assume you’re already familiar with the basics of creating a shader and working within the Godot editor. Learning these steps allows you to start experimenting with visuals, leading to unique effects and a better overall player experience.Now that we’ve established some core uses of VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant, let’s delve even further with more complex examples, showcasing the true versatility of this simple yet powerful node in Godot 4.
Let’s start by considering a scenario where you want to simulate the effect of wind on grass or trees in a vertex shader. You might utilize a float constant to define the strength of the wind, which is then multiplied with a sine function to create oscillation effects.
var wind_strength = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() wind_strength.constant = 0.2 # Let's say '0.2' represents the strength of the wind var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new() # Node that provides time information var sine_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new() sine_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN # Combine the time with the wind strength to calculate the wind over time visual_shader.node_connect(time_node.get_output_port(), sine_node, 0) visual_shader.node_connect(wind_strength.get_output_port(), sine_node, 1)
Connected this way, the function now outputs a value that oscillates over time based on `wind_strength`, simulating the movement of grass or leaves in the breeze.
In another use case, let’s outline how you can modify a shader parameter from within your game’s script. This is particularly useful for creating dynamic effects that respond to player interaction or other gameplay mechanics.
func increase_brightness(): var current_value = visual_shader.get_shader_param('brightness_float') visual_shader.set_shader_param('brightness_float', current_value + 0.1)
This function could be tied to an event in the game, gradually increasing the brightness over time or in response to an in-game trigger.
Taking another step, you might want to control the displacement of vertices to create a waving flag effect. This can be done by adjusting each vertex’s position based on a float constant that represents the wave amplitude.
var wave_amplitude = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() wave_amplitude.constant = 1.0 # Other nodes set up resonance and time-based displacement here # ... # Now connect the amplitude to influence the final displacement var vertex_displacement = [...] # Assume this array holds our displacement values for vertex in vertex_displacement: vertex += wave_amplitude.output_port
In this snippet, the `wave_amplitude` affects each vertex’s displacement, leading to a dynamic waving effect that you can refine by adjusting the float constant’s value.
In a different context, let’s consider the manipulation of alpha transparency to create a fade-in effect for an object. By animating the value of a `VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant`, you could create a gradient of transparency through time:
func _process(delta): # This value might be controlled by other gameplay elements var alpha_value = visual_shader.get_shader_param('alpha_value') # Increase alpha over time for a fade-in effect alpha_value = min(alpha_value + delta * 0.1, 1.0) visual_shader.set_shader_param('alpha_value', alpha_value)
As `alpha_value` changes, it adjusts the transparency of the object using the shader, resulting in a smooth transition from invisible to fully visible.
Lastly, if we’re dealing with creating dynamic textures like water, a float constant can act as the speed modifier for the distortion effect:
var water_speed = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() water_speed.constant = 0.5 # Nodes for creating distortion effect var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new() var distortion_node = [...] # Connect for animation based on time and speed visual_shader.node_connect(time_node.get_output_port(), distortion_node, 0) visual_shader.node_connect(water_speed.get_output_port(), distortion_node, 1)
By connecting the `water_speed` value with a time and distortion node, you’re able to animate the water texture’s distortion over time, giving it a realistic feel.
As these examples illustrate, the `VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant` is more than just a static number—it’s a fundamental building block that enables complex, dynamic visual effects in your Godot 4 projects. It’s this level of control that can turn a good game into a visually stunning experience. Keep experimenting with float constants and other visual shader nodes, and you’ll soon be creating rich, compelling visual effects that bring your games to life.Continuing from where we left off, let’s delve even deeper into the practical applications of `VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant` in Godot 4. We will explore how we can make stylistic adjustments, control animations, and even manipulate physics properties.
One common use case is to create a heat distortion effect, often used to simulate the look of scorching heat. We can combine a float constant with a noise texture to achieve this:
var heat_distortion_strength = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() heat_distortion_strength.constant = 0.05 # Represents the strength of the distortion var noise_texture = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new() # Assume noise_texture is setup to point to an appropriate noise texture resource # Manipulate UV coordinates with the noise and strength of distortion var uv_distort = [...] visual_shader.node_connect(noise_texture.get_output_port(), uv_distort, 0) visual_shader.node_connect(heat_distortion_strength.get_output_port(), uv_distort, 1)
In this snippet, the noise texture is used to disturb the UV coordinates, and the float constant modulates the intensity of the heatwaves.
Another interesting application is in changing the visual representation of an object’s speed. Let’s take a racing game for example, where you might want to visually represent the speed of the vehicle through a motion blur effect:
func _physics_process(delta): var speed = get_speed() # This method would return the speed of the vehicle var motion_blur_intensity = clamp(speed / MAX_SPEED, 0.0, 1.0) var speed_node = visual_shader.get_node('motion_blur') speed_node.constant = motion_blur_intensity
Here, `motion_blur_intensity` grows with the vehicle’s speed, which in turn is reflected in the visual effect by adjusting the float constant’s value.
Color grading can drastically change the mood and feel of a scene. By interpolating between different color constants, we can create a day-to-night transition:
var day_color = Color(1.0, 1.0, 1.0) var night_color = Color(0.1, 0.1, 0.4) var time_of_day = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() time_of_day.constant = 0.0 # Starts at 'day' # Linear interpolation (lerp) using our float constant func _process(delta): time_of_day.constant = fmod(time_of_day.constant + delta * 0.01, 1.0) var current_color = day_color.linear_interpolate(night_color, time_of_day.constant) # Apply the current color to some aspect of the visual shader ...
With this code, the `current_color` blends from day to night as `time_of_day` changes, allowing for a smooth transition within the rendered environment.
For gameplay mechanics, such as a shield power indicator, you can create shaders that visually represent the shield’s remaining strength:
var shield_strength = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() func update_shield_visuals(current_strength): shield_strength.constant = current_strength / MAX_STRENGTH # The shader node would then use this value to adjust the shield's opacity, color, etc. ...
Here, `shield_strength.constant` is set based on the current strength of the shield, divided by its maximum. This could then be connected to shader properties like opacity, to visualize the shield’s condition.
Shading effects like rim lighting can make your characters pop from the environment. Let’s create an adjustable rim light effect:
var rim_light_intensity = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() rim_light_intensity.constant = 1.0 # Strong rim light var light_dir = ... # A vector pointing to the light source # A node representing the normals of the object var object_normal = ... # Calculating the rim light effect var rim_light_effect = [...] # Node setup for rim lighting # Apply the rim light effect based on intensity visual_shader.node_connect(rim_light_intensity.get_output_port(), rim_light_effect, ...)
This setup would let you control the intensity of the rim light on the character, enhancing the three-dimensional look and separating them from the background.
Lastly, consider animating environmental effects like clouds or fog. You might use a float constant to control their density across the skybox or landscape:
var cloud_density = VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant.new() cloud_density.constant = 0.3 # Initial density # Over time, let's make the clouds disperse func _process(delta): cloud_density.constant = max(cloud_density.constant - delta * 0.005, 0) # The shader would use this node to adjust the opacity or offset of cloud texture layers ...
Here, we decrease `cloud_density.constant` gradually to simulate clouds thinning out as time progresses.
With these advanced examples, it’s evident how the `VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant` can become a powerful tool for achieving dynamic and responsive visual effects in Godot 4, enhancing gameplay immersion and providing game developers with precise control over their game’s aesthetics. By integrating these techniques into your projects, you invite players into experiences with rich, vivid visuals that react and change according to the dynamics of your game.
Continue Your Godot Development Journey
Now that you’ve taken a deep dive into the waters of Godot’s VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant, you’re likely feeling more confident in your ability to manipulate and harness the visual prowess of shaders. But where do you go from here? Your journey into game development doesn’t have to stop; in fact, this is just the beginning. To keep the momentum going and to learn even more about creating immersive games, consider enrolling in our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive series of courses will guide you through creating cross-platform games with Godot, covering essential topics from 2D and 3D assets to the mechanics of various game genres.
The Godot 4 engine is the perfect sandbox for both novices and seasoned developers, and our hands-on courses are designed to be flexible, allowing you to learn at your own pace, anytime, anywhere. You’ll build a strong portfolio and acquire the skills you need, all while enjoying the journey. Furthermore, for an even broader range of courses tailored to your interests, don’t forget to check out our full collection of Godot courses. Let’s continue crafting your path in game development with Zenva – where learning meets the cutting edge of gaming creativity.
Embarking on your Godot 4 adventure with a tool like VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant enriches your developer’s toolbox, enabling you to create not just games, but experiences that enthrall players with stunning visual effects. Remember, each float constant you manipulate is a step towards a more dynamic and polished game. By learning to control the finesse of shaders, you have the power to bring imagination to life on screen. So keep experimenting, keep learning, and most importantly, have fun with every shader node you place on your canvas.
We at Zenva are excited to see where your newfound skills will take you. Whether you’re refining the smallest details with VisualShaderNodeFloatConstant or building entire worlds in Godot, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is here to support you every step of the way. We can’t wait to see the amazing games you’ll create. Illuminate your path in game development – join us now and let’s build incredible gaming experiences together!
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