VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant in Godot – Complete Guide

VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant is a powerful node that can transform the way you create visuals in the Godot engine. If you’ve ever wanted to delve into the realm of shaders without getting too lost in the code, this may be your entry point into a world where visuals come to life with simple node-based logic.

What is VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant?

In Godot 4, VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant is a node that represents a 4D vector constant. This node is a fundamental element when building visual shaders in Godot’s Visual Shader Editor. It provides a way to include fixed vector values in your shader without writing a single line of code.

What is it for?

You might wonder why use a constant 4D vector in your shaders? This node is incredibly useful for defining static values such as colors, coordinates, or other data needed in multiple parts of your shader. It’s the building block for creating more complex visuals by providing consistent values that your shaders can rely on.

Why Should I Learn It?

Learning the ins and outs of VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant and visual shaders, in general, can open up a spectrum of possibilities for game development. Shaders are incredibly performant, and visual programming allows artists and programmers alike to see the results of their creations in real time. Understanding how to use this node effectively can save you time and make your game graphics stand out. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced coder looking to enhance your visuals, this node is an essential tool in your Godot toolkit.

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Creating a Simple Color Shader with VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant

One of the most common uses for the VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant is to create a simple shader that colors an object. To do so, we’ll start by defining a constant color value.

// Create a new VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant node
var color_node = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()

// Set the constant color to red
color_node.constant = Color(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0) // RGBA

After defining the color, the next step is to add your new node to the VisualShader and connect it to the color output.

// Add the color node to the shader
var shader = VisualShader.new()
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_node, Vector2(0, 0))

// Connect the color constant to the shader’s ALBEDO output
shader.node_connect(color_node.get_output_port_name(0), color_node, VisualShaderNodeOutput.get_input_port_name(0))

This simple shader will color your object with a solid red color. When applied to a mesh, you should see it uniformly colored.

Manipulating Texture Coordinates

Textures are mapped onto objects using coordinates. By using VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant, you can modify these coordinates to achieve various effects. Let’s start with translating texture coordinates.

// Assume we have a texture sampling node
var texture_sampler = VisualShaderNodeTexture.new()

// Offset coordinates by Vec4 constant
var offset = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
offset.constant = Vector4(0.1, 0.1, 0.0, 0.0) // X and Y offset, Z and W are unused

// Combine the offset with the original texture UVs
var vec_op = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.new()
vec_op.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_ADD

// Add these nodes to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_sampler, Vector2(-200, 0))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, offset, Vector2(-400, 0))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vec_op, Vector2(-300, 0))

// Connect nodes
shader.node_connect(texture_sampler.get_output_port_name(0), vec_op, vec_op.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(offset.get_output_port_name(0), vec_op, vec_op.get_input_port_name(1))

This addition will translate the texture coordinates by 0.1 in both the X and Y direction, giving the impression that the texture has been moved.

Using Vec4 Constants for Timed Animation

Another practical use case is creating a timed animation effect such as a pulsating glow. We’ll need to use a time variable and our constant node to achieve this.

// Create a time node
var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()

// Create a constant to hold our maximum glow strength
var glow_strength = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
glow_strength.constant = Vector4(1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0)

// We'll also need a sine function to create the pulsating effect
var sine_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new()
sine_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN

// Add nodes to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, Vector2(-300, 0))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, glow_strength, Vector2(-500, 0))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sine_node, Vector2(-400, 100))

// Connect nodes to multiply glow by the sine of time
shader.node_connect(time_node.get_output_port_name(0), sine_node, sine_node.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(sine_node.get_output_port_name(0), glow_strength, glow_strength.get_input_port_name(0))

In this example, we use the sinusoidal function to smooth the pulsating effect over time, simulating a glow that intensifies and fades repeatedly.

Incorporating Vec4 Constants in Physics-Based Shaders

Lastly, we might want to simulate physical properties like light reflection. Vec4 constants can represent fixed values in a calculation, like the specular intensity of a material’s surface.

// A shine intensity constant for specular highlights
var shine_intensity = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
shine_intensity.constant = Vector4(0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 1.0) // Intensity of specular highlights

// Add to the shader and connect to a specular shader function
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, shine_intensity, Vector2(-200, 100))

Connecting the `shine_intensity` to the specular color input of a light-processing node would affect how shiny a material appears when light hits it. These snippets cover the basics of utilizing VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant in your shader programming within Godot. You have seen how to color an object, manipulate texture, animate over time, and simulate physical properties. With these examples, you can start experimenting and create more complex and dynamic visuals in your projects.As we dive deeper into the world of shaders, let’s expand upon our toolkit by integrating different nodes with the `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` to create more complex visual effects.

Mixing Colors Dynamically

Say you want to animate an object’s color over time, smoothly transitioning between two colors. We can achieve this by mixing two `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` nodes with a `VisualShaderNodeMix` node.

// Define two colors to mix
var color_one = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
var color_two = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
color_one.constant = Color(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0) // Red
color_two.constant = Color(0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 1.0) // Blue

// Add a mix node
var mix_node = VisualShaderNodeMix.new()

// Add all three nodes to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_one, Vector2(-600, 0))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, color_two, Vector2(-600, 150))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mix_node, Vector2(-400, 75))

// Connect the color nodes to the mix node
shader.node_connect(color_one.get_output_port_name(0), mix_node, mix_node.get_input_port_name(1))
shader.node_connect(color_two.get_output_port_name(0), mix_node, mix_node.get_input_port_name(2))

To control the mix ratio dynamically, we can use a `VisualShaderNodeTime` node and some math nodes to oscillate the `ratio` between 0 and 1 over time.

// Define a time node for dynamic mix ratio
var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()
var sine_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new()
sine_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN
var abs_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new()
abs_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_ABS

// Add these nodes to the shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, Vector2(-800, 250))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sine_node, Vector2(-700, 250))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, abs_node, Vector2(-600, 250))

// Connect time node to sine node, then to abs node,
// which ensures the sine output is positive
shader.node_connect(time_node.get_output_port_name(0), sine_node, sine_node.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(sine_node.get_output_port_name(0), abs_node, abs_node.get_input_port_name(0))

// Finally, connect the abs node to the mix ratio input
shader.node_connect(abs_node.get_output_port_name(0), mix_node, mix_node.get_input_port_name(0))

This setup creates an attractive color transition effect, cycling between red and blue.

Animating Vertex Positions

We can also use the `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` to offset vertex positions for effects like waving flags or floating objects.

// Define an offset for the vertex positions
var vertex_offset = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
vertex_offset.constant = Vector4(0.0, 2.0, 0.0, 0.0) // Y offset

// A sine wave to make the offset dynamic
var sine_wave = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new()
sine_wave.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN

// Position of the vertex
var vertex_position = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
vertex_position.input_name = "vertex"

// Connect the animated offset to the vertex Y coordinate
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, vertex_offset, Vector2(0, 0))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, sine_wave, Vector2(-100, 0))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_VERTEX, vertex_position, Vector2(-200, 0))

shader.node_connect(sine_wave.get_output_port_name(0), vertex_offset, vertex_offset.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(vertex_position.get_output_port_name(0), sine_wave, sine_wave.get_input_port_name(0))

Combine this with a `VisualShaderNodeTime` to make the offset animate over time, and you can create dynamic movement effects.

Simulating Environment Reflections

Reflection effects can give objects a realistic appearance by simulating how they would reflect their environment. Let’s add a reflection vector to our shader.

// Define a reflection vector constant
var reflection_vector = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
reflection_vector.constant = Vector4(1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 0.0)

// Normal vector input
var normal_vector = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
normal_vector.input_name = "normal"

// Reflection node
var reflection_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorRefract.new()

// Add nodes to shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, reflection_vector, Vector2(-200, 300))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_vector, Vector2(-400, 300))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, reflection_node, Vector2(-300, 300))

// Connect normal and reflection vector to the reflection node
shader.node_connect(normal_vector.get_output_port_name(0), reflection_node, reflection_node.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(reflection_vector.get_output_port_name(0), reflection_node, reflection_node.get_input_port_name(1))

By altering the `Vector4` values of `reflection_vector` and connecting it with the object’s normal, you can control the intensity and direction of the reflection effect.

Enhancing Specular Highlights

In addition to the reflection vector, specular highlights are critical for conveying materials like metals or water. A `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` can represent the specular color.

// Define a specular constant
var specular_color = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
specular_color.constant = Vector4(1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0) // White specular highlight

// Specular function node
var specular_func = VisualShaderNodeSpecular.new()

// Combine with light information
var light_info = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
light_info.input_name = "light"

// Add nodes to shader
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_LIGHT, specular_color, Vector2(-400, 450))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_LIGHT, light_info, Vector2(-600, 450))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_LIGHT, specular_func, Vector2(-500, 450))

// Connect the specular color and light info to the specular function
shader.node_connect(specular_color.get_output_port_name(0), specular_func, specular_func.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(light_info.get_output_port_name(0), specular_func, specular_func.get_input_port_name(1))

Indeed, with the combination of different VisualShader nodes and the flexibility of constants such as `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant`, the possibilities for shader creation become vast and exciting. These are just a few examples that can serve as a starting point for a deeper exploration into the creative and technical world of shader programming within the Godot engine.Creating interactive shaders can introduce gameplay mechanics or create responsive environments. Let’s explore how we can use `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` to influence shaders with external factors, like player input or object interaction.

Adjusting Object’s Opacity Over Time

Controlling an object’s opacity can be useful for effects like fading in and out. You could use a `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` to set the alpha value of an object’s color dynamically.

// A Vec4 Constant for the alpha value
var alpha_value = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
alpha_value.constant = Vector4(0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0) // Full opacity

// A time node to change the alpha over time
var time_node = VisualShaderNodeTime.new()

// Oscillate the alpha value with a sine wave
var sine_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.new()
sine_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN

// Clamp node to keep alpha in the range [0,1]
var clamp_node = VisualShaderNodeScalarClamp.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, alpha_value, Vector2(-600, 100))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, Vector2(-600, 200))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sine_node, Vector2(-500, 200))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, clamp_node, Vector2(-400, 200))

// Connect the nodes up
shader.node_connect(time_node.get_output_port_name(0), sine_node, sine_node.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(sine_node.get_output_port_name(0), clamp_node, clamp_node.get_input_port_name(0))

// Connect the clamp node to the alpha component of the color
shader.node_connect(clamp_node.get_output_port_name(0), alpha_value, alpha_value.get_input_port_name(3))

This code creates a shader where the object’s opacity oscillates, creating a fading effect.

Let’s introduce player input to control shader effects, such as changing the color of a character when it’s moving.

// Assume we have a player input boolean uniform
var is_moving_uniform = VisualShaderNodeBooleanUniform.new()
is_moving_uniform.set_name("IsMoving")

// Colors for idle and moving
var idle_color = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
idle_color.constant = Color(1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0).to_vec4() // White

var moving_color = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
moving_color.constant = Color(1.0, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0).to_vec4() // Red

// A blend node to interpolate between the two colors
var blend_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorInterp.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, is_moving_uniform, Vector2(-600, 300))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, idle_color, Vector2(-500, 250))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, moving_color, Vector2(-500, 350))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, blend_node, Vector2(-400, 300))

// Connect everything
shader.node_connect(idle_color.get_output_port_name(0), blend_node, blend_node.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(moving_color.get_output_port_name(0), blend_node, blend_node.get_input_port_name(1))
shader.node_connect(is_moving_uniform.get_output_port_name(0), blend_node, blend_node.get_input_port_name(2))

Using the `IsMoving` uniform, the shader will interpolate between white and red based on the player’s movement.

Reactive Shaders with Mouse Input

Shaders can be reactive to mouse position, which can be used to create hover effects on objects or UI elements.

// Input node for mouse position
var mouse_pos = VisualShaderNodeInput.new()
mouse_pos.input_name = "mouse"

// Constant for comparison, determines the sensitive range around the mouse
var proximity_constant = VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant.new()
proximity_constant.constant = Vector4(0.2, 0.2, 0.0, 0.0) // Sensitivity in X and Y

// Distance calculation nodes
var distance_node = VisualShaderNodeVectorDistance.new()

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mouse_pos, Vector2(-600, 400))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, proximity_constant, Vector2(-400, 400))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, distance_node, Vector2(-500, 400))

// Connect the nodes
shader.node_connect(mouse_pos.get_output_port_name(0), distance_node, distance_node.get_input_port_name(0))
shader.node_connect(proximity_constant.get_output_port_name(0), distance_node, distance_node.get_input_port_name(1))

This code calculates the distance between an object and the mouse position and can be used to change the shader’s properties when the mouse is close to the object.

With these code examples, it’s clear how `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` can be used in combination with other shader nodes and inputs to craft responsive and dynamic visual effects that enhance the player’s immersion and interaction within a game. These techniques are at the core of creating compelling and visually appealing games and experiences using the Godot engine.

Remember that in our courses here at Zenva, we emphasize these practical, hands-on approaches that enable you to apply these skills directly to your projects, empowering you to create professionally-polished games.

Where to Go Next in Your Godot Journey

Your expedition into the world of Godot does not have to end here. In fact, this is just the beginning! To further enhance your skills and continue your journey, we encourage you to explore our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This tailored program will guide you through creating your very own games using the powerful and versatile Godot 4 engine.

Whether you’re seeking to develop 2D side-scrollers, engaging 3D adventures, or interactive RPGs, our courses cater to all levels, enabling you to go from a novice to a professional game developer. All this without the requirement of any prior programming experience. The Mini-Degree offers a flexible learning environment with video lessons, hands-on coding practice, quizzes, and real project-building opportunities that will solidify your understanding and empower you to craft games tailored to your vision.

For those looking to expand their knowledge even further, we invite you to browse our broader collection of Godot courses. With over 250 supported courses, Zenva can help boost your career, not just in game development, but also in programming and AI. Our content is tailored to support learners at all stages of their journey, making it the perfect platform to progress from beginner to professional, at your own pace and on your own schedule. So, take the next step today, and bring your gaming dreams to life with Zenva.

Conclusion

The power and versatility of the `VisualShaderNodeVec4Constant` in Godot 4 can’t be understated. It’s a testament to how the engine simplifies complex visual tasks into manageable, node-based systems that both novices and veterans can utilize to bring their creative visions to life. We’ve walked through just a few examples demonstrating the breadth of possibilities with this tool. As you continue to explore and innovate with Godot’s Visual Shader Editor, remember that each node, each connection, is a step towards mastering the art of game visuals and effects.

Dive even deeper and transform your curiosity into expertise with our comprehensive Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. Channel your newfound shader knowledge into creating games that resonate with players and stand out in a sea of digital experiences. With Zenva, you’re not just learning – you’re building, creating, and, most of all, you’re preparing to become the game developer you’ve always aspired to be. Join us, and let’s craft incredible game experiences together.

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