Welcome to this tutorial on using the VisualShaderNodeIf class in Godot 4. If you’re looking to add more logic and control to your visual shaders, mastering the VisualShaderNodeIf can be a game-changer. Let’s embark on this journey to unlock the potential of conditional logic within the graphical realm of shaders. Whether you’re a budding game developer or an experienced programmer, understanding how to compare values and apply conditions directly within your shader code is an invaluable skill that can enhance the interactivity and visual dynamics of your games.
Table of contents
What is the VisualShaderNodeIf?
The VisualShaderNodeIf is a powerful class in Godot 4 that enables conditional logic within visual shaders. Shaders are programs that run on the GPU and determine the visual aspects of your games, such as colors, lighting, and textures. The VisualShaderNodeIf class allows us to compare two floating-point numbers and return different vectors based on the result of the comparison, expanding our toolkit for dynamic and responsive graphics.
What is it for?
VisualShaderNodeIf is used for creating conditional branching in your shader graphs. Think about it as an “if statement” that you can use in shader programming. This class becomes incredibly useful when you want to change the appearance of an object under certain conditions, such as changing its color when it’s hit by the player or altering its texture based on distance.
Why Should I Learn It?
Mastering the VisualShaderNodeIf equips you with the tools to create more complex and interactive visual effects. By learning how to integrate conditional logic into your shaders, you can:
– Make your games stand out with visually responsive environments and characters.
– Optimize performance by avoiding unnecessary calculations.
– Drive creativity by controlling visual elements through gameplay mechanics.
As visual quality becomes increasingly important in the gaming industry, having the proficiency to manipulate shaders directly can give your games a competitive edge. Now, let’s start coding and put this knowledge into practice!
Creating a Basic VisualShaderNodeIf
Let’s start by creating a basic conditional statement using VisualShaderNodeIf in Godot 4. We’ll compare two values and change the color of our sprite based on the result.
var if_node = VisualShaderNodeIf.new() # Set the condition for the comparison: A is greater than B if_node.condition = VisualShaderNodeIf.Condition.GreaterThan # Connect the 'if' node to the <a class="wpil_keyword_link" href="https://gamedevacademy.org/best-unity-shader-graph-tutorials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" title="shader graph" data-wpil-keyword-link="linked">shader graph</a> var graph = VisualShader.new() var shader = Shader.new() graph.add_node(if_node, Vector2(100, 150)) shader.set_code(graph.get_code())
This code snippet establishes the VisualShaderNodeIf node, sets a condition, and connects it to a new visual shader graph. Now, we need to define the conditionals for the inputs of our ‘if’ node.
Connecting Inputs and Outputs
Every ‘if’ node has two inputs for comparison (A and B) and three vectors for output possibilities (true, false, and boolean). Let’s connect our inputs and define our outputs as different colors.
var color_true = VisualShaderNodeVec3Constant.new() color_true.constant = Color(0,1,0) # Green color var color_false = VisualShaderNodeVec3Constant.new() color_false.constant = Color(1,0,0) # Red color graph.add_node(color_true, Vector2(40, 100)) graph.add_node(color_false, Vector2(40, 200)) # Connect the outputs from constant colors to the 'if' node inputs graph.connect_nodes(color_true.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(color_false.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(1))
In this code, we’ve created two constants representing colors (green for “true”, red for “false”) and connected them to our ‘if’ node. This will dictate the color displayed depending on the result of the comparison.
Adding User-Controlled Condition
To make our shader dynamic, let’s add an exposed uniform variable that allows us to adjust our comparison value in real-time from the editor or through code.
var user_input = VisualShaderNodeUniform.new() # set the uniform to be a float type user_input.uniform_type = VisualShaderNodeUniform.Type.Float # Add the uniform node to our shader graph graph.add_node(user_input, Vector2(20, 150)) # Now connect our user-controlled uniform to the 'if' node A input graph.connect_nodes(user_input.get_shader_node_output(1), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0))
By creating a VisualShaderNodeUniform of type Float, we add an adjustable parameter. This user input connects to input A of our ‘if’ node, allowing us to change the conditional value in real-time.
Implementing Visual Shader in a Material
Once we’ve set up our nodes, we need to implement our visual shader in a material to see the effect in action.
var material = ShaderMaterial.new() material.shader = shader # Assign this material to your object your_object.set_surface_material(0, material)
This simple code snippet creates a new ShaderMaterial and assigns our custom shader to it. Then, the material is applied to an object in our scene. With all these components wired up, you can now adjust your user input and watch as the sprite changes color depending on the value.
In the next section of this tutorial, we’ll delve deeper into more complex scenarios and explore how the VisualShaderNodeIf class can be applied to create interactive visual effects.Now that we’ve covered the basics of the VisualShaderNodeIf class and implemented it into our Godot 4 project, let’s explore more complex scenarios where conditional logic can enhance our visual shaders.
Adjusting Shader Properties Based on Light
We can use VisualShaderNodeIf to change an object’s properties based on lighting conditions. For example, let’s create a visual effect where our object becomes more emissive as the scene becomes darker.
var light_detector = VisualShaderNodeLight.new() var emission_strength = VisualShaderNodeScalarConstant.new() emission_strength.constant = 0.5 # Connect our light detector to the 'if' node's B input graph.connect_nodes(light_detector.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(1)) # Set the 'false' output to increase emission graph.connect_nodes(emission_strength.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(2))
This code takes the light information as an input and decides to increase the emission based on the comparison with our user-defined value.
Changing Textures Based on Object Height
You can also switch textures depending on an object’s height in the world space. This is commonly used for materials like terrains, where you might want grass at lower levels and snow at higher altitudes.
var world_position = VisualShaderNodeGlobalExpression.new() world_position.expression = "VERTEX" var height_check = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new() height_check.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.Function.Ceil # Set the conditional threshold var height_threshold = VisualShaderNodeScalarConstant.new() height_threshold.constant = 10.0 graph.connect_nodes(world_position.get_shader_node_output(0), height_check.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(height_check.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(height_threshold.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(1))
The code above connects the world position of the object to our ‘if’ node, alongside a fixed height threshold. If the object’s height is above this threshold, our condition is met and we can apply the appropriate texture.
Animating Shader Properties
Conditional shaders can also be used to animate properties. For example, we can animate the color of an object based on the sine of time to create a pulsing effect.
var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new() var sine_func = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new() sine_func.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.Function.Sin graph.add_node(time_node, Vector2(150, 250)) graph.add_node(sine_func, Vector2(150, 300)) graph.connect_nodes(time_node.get_shader_node_output(0), sine_func.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(sine_func.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0))
Here, the sine of the time node provides a repeating value between -1 and 1. If this value surpasses a certain threshold, we can change the object’s color, reflective property, or any other shader parameter.
Utilizing Textures as Conditions
Textures themselves can be used as part of the condition for the VisualShaderNodeIf. For instance, we can test whether a texture’s color at a certain UV coordinate is above a certain value to create an effect.
var uv_node = VisualShaderNodeUV.new() var texture_sampler = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new() # Compare the red channel of the texture var red_channel_extractor = VisualShaderNodeVec3Uniform.new() graph.connect_nodes(uv_node.get_shader_node_output(0), texture_sampler.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(texture_sampler.get_shader_node_output(0), red_channel_extractor.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(red_channel_extractor.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0))
By connecting a texture to the ‘if’ node and using its red channel as an input for the condition, we can create a scenario where a certain visual effect is applied only to parts of the texture that meet the condition.
By understanding and utilizing the VisualShaderNodeIf class in Godot 4, you can create complex and rich visual effects that depend not only on object properties but also on environmental factors and user input. Remember that shaders are executed on the GPU, making them an efficient way to dynamically change the look of your game without heavy performance costs.
As you continue to explore the possibilities of visual shaders, consider the many scenarios where conditional logic can enhance the player experience. Whether you’re looking to create responsive environments, intricate animations, or simply optimize your visuals, the VisualShaderNodeIf is a versatile tool in your shader programming toolkit.In the previous sections, we discussed creating conditions based on uniform variables, light levels, object height, and animating properties. Building on these examples, let’s now delve into more advanced ways of using the VisualShaderNodeIf node to create unique visual effects.
Let’s begin with a scenario where we want to create a dynamic damage effect, where an object changes its appearance based on its health level.
Creating a Dynamic Damage Effect
Imagine you have an enemy character in your game that shows visual damage as its health decreases. We can use VisualShaderNodeIf to switch between different textures based on the health value.
var health_uniform = VisualShaderNodeUniform.new() health_uniform.uniform_type = VisualShaderNodeUniform.Type.Float # Connect health to the 'if' node, assuming a range 0.0 (dead) to 1.0 (full health) graph.connect_nodes(health_uniform.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0)) var full_health_texture = VisualShaderNodeTextureUniform.new() full_health_texture.texture_type = VisualShaderNodeTextureUniform.Type.Color var damaged_texture = VisualShaderNodeTextureUniform.new() damaged_texture.texture_type = VisualShaderNodeTextureUniform.Type.Color # Connect textures to the true and false outputs of 'if' node graph.connect_nodes(full_health_texture.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(2)) graph.connect_nodes(damaged_texture.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(1))
As the health uniform receives a value, the shader visually reflects the enemy’s health status by switching between textures.
Highlighting Objects when Selected
It’s common in games to highlight objects when they are selected or interacted with. We can achieve this by using VisualShaderNodeIf to adjust the emissive property of the shader when an object is selected.
var selection_flag = VisualShaderNodeUniform.new() selection_flag.uniform_type = VisualShaderNodeUniform.Type.Boolean # Emissive color to apply when the object is selected var highlight_emission = VisualShaderNodeVec3Constant.new() highlight_emission.constant = Color(1,1,0) # Yellow emission graph.connect_nodes(selection_flag.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(highlight_emission.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(2))
This allows us to toggle a boolean uniform variable to make an object stand out by glowing when selected.
Changing Effects Based on Distance from Camera
VisualShaderNodeIf can also be useful for distance-based effects, such as fading an object out as it moves away from the camera.
var distance_to_camera = VisualShaderNodeDistance.new() distance_to_camera.source_position = VisualShaderNodeDistance.SourcePosition.CameraPosition distance_to_camera.destination_position = VisualShaderNodeDistance.DestinationPosition.VertexPosition # Create a threshold for when the fading starts var fade_start_distance = VisualShaderNodeScalarConstant.new() fade_start_distance.constant = 50.0 graph.connect_nodes(distance_to_camera.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(fade_start_distance.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(1))
This conditionally reduces the object’s alpha based on its distance to the camera, enabling a fade-out effect that can provide a smoother visual transition in large open-world games.
Switching Shader Behavior with Time of Day
For games involving time cycles, such as day-night transitions, shaders can reflect the time of day by changing the ambient color or texture of the sky.
var time_of_day = VisualShaderNodeUniform.new() time_of_day.uniform_type = VisualShaderNodeUniform.Type.Float var day_texture = VisualShaderNodeTextureUniform.new() var night_texture = VisualShaderNodeTextureUniform.new() # We define a threshold that determines whether it's day or night var day_night_threshold = VisualShaderNodeScalarConstant.new() day_night_threshold.constant = 0.5 graph.connect_nodes(time_of_day.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(0)) graph.connect_nodes(day_night_threshold.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(1)) graph.connect_nodes(day_texture.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(2)) graph.connect_nodes(night_texture.get_shader_node_output(0), if_node.get_shader_node_input(1))
This snippet grants you the conditions necessary for a sky shader to interpolate between day and night textures, based on a time value controlled in the game’s logic.
By utilizing the VisualShaderNodeIf in these imaginative ways, game developers can create intricate visual effects that react to gameplay and environmental conditions, enriching the player’s experience and delivering dynamic visuals that keep the game world feeling alive and interactive. Remember, these techniques are not just limited to the examples provided; with VisualShaderNodeIf, the only limit is your creativity. Experiment, tweak, and integrate these techniques into your projects to see what unique visual experiences you can create!
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As we wrap up our exploration of the VisualShaderNodeIf class in Godot 4, we can see how significant conditional logic is in creating dynamic and responsive visual effects in your games. Whether it’s changing textures based on health levels, animating properties with the flow of time, or adjusting visual cues based on player interactions, the power of shaders is undeniable in crafting an immersive gaming experience. By taking advantage of VisualShaderNodeIf, your journey in game development is bound only by the limits of your imagination.
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