VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our tutorial on the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter class in Godot 4. Delving into the depths of Godot’s visual shader graph can unlock a whole new level of creative expression in your game development endeavors. The visual shader graph is a powerful tool that allows you to create complex shaders in a more intuitive and visual manner. In this tutorial, you will learn about the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter and its role within this graph, providing you the skills to enhance your games with visually stunning effects. Whether you are just starting out or looking to brush up on your shader knowledge, this tutorial is designed to be accessible, practical, and full of engaging examples.

What is VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter?

The VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter is a component of Godot’s visual shader system—an interface that allows developers to construct shaders visually without writing code. Specifically, the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter lets you create a uniform Vector3 variable within the shader graph. In essence, it represents a three-dimensional value that you can use for various purposes, like defining colors, coordinates, or other vector-based data.

What is it for?

If you’ve ever worked with shaders, you’ll know they can manipulate how graphics are rendered on the screen, creating various visual effects. The VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter is a fundamental part of this, as it provides a method to pass Vector3 data into the shader. This could be anything from the diffuse color of a material, the direction of a light source, or the spatial position of a vertex.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding how to use the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter broadens your capability to create dynamic and rich visual effects in your Godot projects. Whether you’re looking to develop realistic lighting, complex animations, or simply want to give your game an artistic edge, mastering this node will prove invaluable. By learning how to implement this node, you set yourself up to take full advantage of Godot’s powerful shader language in a more accessible way, ultimately making your game stand out.

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Setting Up the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter

First, let’s go through the steps to set up a VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter within the visual shader graph in Godot 4. To begin, we need to create a VisualShader resource and add a new shader graph:

var shader = VisualShader.new()
var graph = VisualShaderNodeGraph.new()
shader.add_node(graph)

Next, we’ll create our VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter node and add it to the shader graph:

var vec3_param = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()
shader.add_node(vec3_param)
graph.add_node(vec3_param)

Now it’s time to set a default value for our vec3 parameter. This value represents a three-dimensional vector, for example, the RGB components of a color:

vec3_param.set_default_value(Vector3(1, 0, 0))  // This sets the default color to red

Connecting the Vec3 Parameter to Shader Inputs

Once the node is configured with a default value, we need to connect it to other nodes in the shader graph to start creating effects. Let’s connect it to a fragment shader’s albedo to control the base color of a material:

var output_node = shader.get_graph_output_node()
var fragment_node = VisualShaderNodeFragment.new()
shader.add_node(fragment_node)
graph.add_node(fragment_node)

// Connect the Vec3 parameter node to the fragment shader's albedo input
graph.connect_nodes(vec3_param.get_output_port(0), fragment_node.get_input_port(1))

This code snippet connects the first output port of the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter to the albedo input port of a fragment shader, meaning your scene objects will use the Vec3 parameter as their base color.

Modifying Parameters at Runtime

To modify the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter at runtime, you’ll need to get a reference to the shader material and the parameter. Here’s how you can change the color dynamically from a script:

var shader_material = ShaderMaterial.new()
shader_material.shader = shader

# Set the shader material to your object's material
$MyObject.material = shader_material

# Change the Vec3 parameter at runtime
shader_material.set_shader_param("vec3_param", Vector3(0, 1, 0))  // Changing to green

The string “vec3_param” corresponds to the name that you assign to your VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter in the Godot visual shader editor.

Animating Parameters

Animating parameters can bring life to your materials. The following example shows how to animate the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter across time to cycle through colors:

func _process(delta):
    var current_time = OS.get_time()  # Get the current time as a dictionary
    var seconds = current_time.hour * 3600 + current_time.minute * 60 + current_time.second
    var color = Color(0.5 + 0.5 * sin(seconds), 0.5 + 0.5 * cos(seconds), 0.5)
    shader_material.set_shader_param("vec3_param", color.to_vector())

In the above example, we’re using a sin function to oscillate the red and green components of a color, based on the seconds passed, and set it to our shader parameter. This can create a dynamic and time-based color changing effect on materials using this shader.

By following through these examples, you now have a foundation to create and control visual effects using VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter in Godot 4. In the upcoming section, we will expand on this knowledge and explore more complex examples utilizing this fundamental node.Alright, let’s dive deeper into the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter and unleash its full potential to create captivating visual effects.

Creating A Phong Lighting Effect

Let’s create a basic Phong lighting model utilizing the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter for the specular highlight component. The specular highlight is colorized and its intensity is controlled by the Vec3 parameter.

var light_dir = VisualShaderNodeVec3.new()  // Node to represent light direction
var specular_param = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()
specular_param.set_default_value(Vector3(1, 1, 1))  // Specular color set to white

shader.add_node(light_dir)
shader.add_node(specular_param)

# Assuming 'light_dir' and 'specular_param' are already connected to the relevant shader nodes

var light_calculation_node = VisualShaderNodeLighting.new()
shader.add_node(light_calculation_node)

# Connect light direction and specular color to lighting calculation node
graph.connect_nodes(light_dir.get_output_port(0), light_calculation_node.get_input_port(1))
graph.connect_nodes(specular_param.get_output_port(0), light_calculation_node.get_input_port(2))

In the above snippet, light direction and specular color are fed into a lighting calculation node for computing Phong illumination.

Gradient Horizon Effect

We’ll use two Vec3 parameters to create a smooth gradient representing a horizon sky on a plane mesh. The first Vec3 parameter determines the color at the bottom, and the second parameter sets the color at the top.

var bottom_color = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()
var top_color = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()

bottom_color.set_default_value(Vector3(0.4, 0.7, 1))
top_color.set_default_value(Vector3(0.0, 0.3, 0.7))

shader.add_node(bottom_color)
shader.add_node(top_color)

# Connect bottom and top color to a 'mix' node based on the 'vertex' y position
var mix_node = VisualShaderNodeMix.new()
shader.add_node(mix_node)

var vertex_node = VisualShaderNodeVertex.new()
shader.add_node(vertex_node)

# Connect vertex y to the mix ratio
graph.connect_nodes(vertex_node.get_output_port(1), mix_node.get_input_port(0))

# Connect colors to mix inputs
graph.connect_nodes(bottom_color.get_output_port(0), mix_node.get_input_port(1))
graph.connect_nodes(top_color.get_output_port(0), mix_node.get_input_port(2))

# Finally, connect the mix output to the 'Albedo' input of our fragment shader
# Connect 'mix_node' to 'output_node' in the code examples above

This script sets up a vertical gradient that can be used for creating a faux skybox or atmospheric effect.

Modulating Textures with Vec3 Parameters

Texture modulation can dramatically change the appearance of materials. Let’s adjust the colors of a texture on the fly with a Vec3 parameter.

var texture_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()
var color_modulation = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()

color_modulation.set_default_value(Vector3(1, 1, 1))  # Default to no change

shader.add_node(texture_node)
shader.add_node(color_modulation)

# Multiply texture by color modulation parameter
var multiply_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
multiply_node.set_operation(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_MULTIPLY)

shader.add_node(multiply_node)

graph.connect_nodes(texture_node.get_output_port(0), multiply_node.get_input_port(0))
graph.connect_nodes(color_modulation.get_output_port(0), multiply_node.get_input_port(1))

# Link to the Albedo of our fragment shader
# Connect 'multiply_node' to 'output_node' in the code examples above

This example shows how a color modulation Vec3 parameter can be used to tint a texture, affecting its overall hue.

Adjusting Emission with Time

Shaders can also use Vec3 parameters to create dynamic emissive effects that change over time. Let’s animate an emission color to simulate a neon sign.

var emission_node = VisualShaderNodeEmission.new()
var emission_color = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()

emission_color.set_default_value(Vector3(0.2, 1, 0.5))  # A neon green color

shader.add_node(emission_node)
shader.add_node(emission_color)

# Let's write the _process function to modulate the color over time
func _process(delta):
    var intensity = sin(OS.get_ticks_msec() * 0.001) * 0.5 + 0.5
    var modulated_color = emission_color.default_value * intensity

    shader_material.set_shader_param(emission_color.parameter_name, modulated_color)

This snippet will modulate the emission color’s intensity, making it pulsate with a sine wave based on milliseconds passed.

By further exploring these examples and experimenting on your own, you’ll come to appreciate the versatility and power that the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter brings to the table in Godot’s shader environment. You are now well-equipped to visually enhance your Godot projects using dynamic vector-based shader parameters. Enjoy crafting your visual effects!Continuing with our exploration of the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter in Godot, let’s delve into more sophisticated uses that can enhance the visual fidelity and interactivity of your games.

Creating a Dissolve Effect

Dissolve effects can give an object the appearance of disintegrating or materializing. We’ll use a noise texture, a threshold Vec3 parameter, and step functions to achieve this.

var noise_texture_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()
var threshold = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()
threshold.set_default_value(Vector3(0.5, 0.5, 0.5))  # Initial threshold

shader.add_node(noise_texture_node)
shader.add_node(threshold)

# Use a step function to create the dissolve effect
var step_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorFunc.new()
step_node.set_function(VisualShaderNodeVectorFunc.FUNC_STEP)

shader.add_node(step_node)

graph.connect_nodes(threshold.get_output_port(0), step_node.get_input_port(0))
graph.connect_nodes(noise_texture_node.get_output_port(0), step_node.get_input_port(1))

# The output of `step_node` will determine the visibility of the material
# Connect 'step_node' to an 'ALPHA' input or similar in your fragment shader

By changing the threshold parameter over time, you can animate the dissolve effect.

Environmental Reflections

Utilize a Vec3 parameter to modify the strength and color of environmental reflections, giving objects a metallic or glossy appearance.

var reflection_strength = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()
reflection_strength.set_default_value(Vector3(0.8, 0.8, 0.8))  # Strong reflections

shader.add_node(reflection_strength)

var reflection_node = VisualShaderNodeReflection.new()
shader.add_node(reflection_node)

# Multiply reflection color with strength
var reflection_multiply = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
reflection_multiply.set_operation(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_MULTIPLY)

shader.add_node(reflection_multiply)

graph.connect_nodes(reflection_node.get_output_port(0), reflection_multiply.get_input_port(0))
graph.connect_nodes(reflection_strength.get_output_port(0), reflection_multiply.get_input_port(1))

# Connect the result to the corresponding input port of the shader's output node

Modify the reflection strength parameter in real-time to adjust the intensity of reflections based on the environmental context.

Normal Mapping with Vec3 Parameter Adjustment

Normal maps can be adjusted in real-time to change the perceived surface details of an object, like switching between different textures.

var normal_map_node = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()
normal_map_node.set_texture_type(VisualShaderNodeTexture.TYPE_NORMALMAP)

var normal_strength = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()
normal_strength.set_default_value(Vector3(1, 1, 1))  # Full strength

shader.add_node(normal_map_node)
shader.add_node(normal_strength)

# Adjust normal strength
var normal_adjust = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
normal_adjust.set_operation(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_MULTIPLY)

shader.add_node(normal_adjust)

graph.connect_nodes(normal_map_node.get_output_port(0), normal_adjust.get_input_port(0))
graph.connect_nodes(normal_strength.get_output_port(0), normal_adjust.get_input_port(1))

# Link the adjusted normals to the normal input of our fragment
# Make sure you connect 'normal_adjust' to the appropriate normal input in your shader graph

Control the ‘normal_strength’ parameter when swapping between normal maps to prevent jumps in surface detail level.

World Position Offset

A Vec3 parameter can control the offset of an object’s vertices, creating effects like waving grass or jelly-like movement.

var vertex_offset = VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter.new()
vertex_offset.set_default_value(Vector3(0, 0, 0))  # No initial offset

shader.add_node(vertex_offset)

var vertex_operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
vertex_operation.set_operation(VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_ADD)

shader.add_node(vertex_operation)

var vertex_node = VisualShaderNodeVertex.new()
shader.add_node(vertex_node)

# Connect vertex position with the offset
graph.connect_nodes(vertex_node.get_output_port(0), vertex_operation.get_input_port(0))
graph.connect_nodes(vertex_offset.get_output_port(0), vertex_operation.get_input_port(1))

# Route the output to the vertex shader and connect it to the VERTEX input

Adjust the vertex_offset parameter dynamically to animate the position of vertices, simulating natural motion or interaction.

Controlling Shader Properties from GDScript

Finally, let’s consider practical usage scripts that manipulate these Vec3 parameters within your game code.

# Setting the Vec3 parameter directly from GDScript
func set_dissolve_threshold(value : float):
    shader_material.set_shader_param('threshold', Vector3(value, value, value))

# Adjusting reflection strength based on game events, like taking damage or power-ups
func adjust_reflection(isPoweredUp : bool):
    var new_strength = isPoweredUp ? Vector3(1, 1, 1) : Vector3(0.3, 0.3, 0.3)
    shader_material.set_shader_param('reflection_strength', new_strength)

The above scripts demonstrate how to integrate your game logic with shader effects, providing dynamic visual feedback that enhances gameplay and player immersion.

Armed with these examples and the concepts they illustrate, you have a strong foundation for incorporating VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter into your Godot projects, taking your visual effects to a strikingly new level. Keep experimenting, and you’ll discover an array of creative possibilities that will set your game apart.

Where to Go Next in Your Game Development Journey

If you’ve enjoyed diving into the VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter and unlocking new visual possibilities in Godot, your journey doesn’t have to stop here. To continue sharpening your skills and deepening your knowledge in game development with Godot 4, we invite you to explore our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This comprehensive program is designed to walk you through the intricacies of building cross-platform games, providing you with a well-rounded education in various aspects of game development.

Our curriculum is structured to guide you from basics to more complex game mechanics across different genres. Whether you are a beginner or someone looking to expand your existing knowledge base, our mini-degree is tailored to offer a flexible and project-based learning experience at your own pace. You’ll not only gain valuable insights from experienced game developers but also work on creating portfolio-worthy projects that can pave the way for your future career in game development.

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Conclusion

Embarking on the visual shader path with Godot’s VisualShaderNodeVec3Parameter is akin to unlocking a treasure trove of creative potential for your games. You now possess the knowledge to infuse dynamic, eye-catching visuals that can truly captivate and engage your players. Remember, this is only the beginning of what’s possible with shaders, and we at Zenva are here to support you every step of the way as you continue to learn, create, and innovate.

Take your newfound skills to new heights with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, and join a community of passionate developers on the same quest to bring extraordinary gaming experiences to life. Revisit these concepts, experiment with different parameters, and never stop exploring—your next breakthrough in game development awaits!

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