VisualShaderNodeVectorLen in Godot – Complete Guide

VisualShaderNodeVectorLen plays a vital role in creating visually appealing and interactive graphics in the Godot engine, particularly version 4. In this journey, we’ll explore the ins and outs of this class and learn how to harness its power to add a new level of polish to our games. With the use of engaging examples, we’ll delve into the practical applications of vector length calculations in game development, making this knowledge both accessible and exciting. Whether you’re at the beginning stages of your coding adventure or a veteran looking to sharpen your skills, this tutorial is designed for you.

What is VisualShaderNodeVectorLen?

The VisualShaderNodeVectorLen is a class within the Godot Engine’s visual shader graph that computes the length, or magnitude, of a Vector3.

What is it for?

In shader programming, calculating the length of a vector is a common operation used for a variety of purposes. It could be for normalizing vectors to determine directions, measuring distances between points in space, or for creating dynamic effects based on object positions.

Why Should I Learn It?

Understanding how to use the VisualShaderNodeVectorLen is essential for anyone aiming to create sophisticated visual effects in Godot 4. It goes beyond mere graphical enhancements, playing a crucial role in gameplay mechanics, physics simulations, and interactive environments. By grasping this concept, you widen your toolkit for bringing your game’s world to life.

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Basic Setup for VisualShaderNodeVectorLen

To begin using VisualShaderNodeVectorLen in Godot 4, we first need to set up a basic Visual Shader.

var shader =
var material =
material.shader = shader
$YourMeshInstance.material = material

This code snippet creates a new VisualShader instance, creates a SpatialMaterial, and assigns our shader to the material. Then, it sets this material to your mesh instance.

Creating and Connecting a VectorLen Node

Creating a VectorLen node within our visual shader graph is the next step:

var vector_len_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_len_node, Vector2(10, 10))

Here, we’re adding a new VisualShaderNodeVectorLen to our shader graph at position (10, 10). We specify it to operate in the fragment function of the shader.

Connecting a Vector3 to our node is next:

var vec3_const_node =
vec3_const_node.constant = Vector3(1, 0, 0)

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vec3_const_node, Vector2(5, 5))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vec3_const_node, "output", vector_len_node, "vector")

In this code, we create a constant Vector3 and connect its output to the input of the VectorLen node. Your vector here is (1, 0, 0) as an example.

Utilizing Vector Length in Shaders

To make practical use of the vector length, we can manipulate the output for different effects. For instance, we might want to modify the alpha based on the length:

var output_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, output_node, Vector2(15, 15))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_len_node, "length", output_node, "alpha")

This code takes the length output from our VectorLen node and connects it to the alpha output, making the opacity related to the vector length.

Creating a Distance-Based Opacity Effect

Let’s use VisualShaderNodeVectorLen to create an opacity effect based on distance from a specific point:

var vec3_uniform_node =

var world_pos_node =

var subtract_node =
subtract_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_SUBTRACT

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vec3_uniform_node, Vector2(1, 1))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, world_pos_node, Vector2(2,2))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, subtract_node, Vector2(3,3))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_len_node, Vector2(4,4))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, world_pos_node, "vector", subtract_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vec3_uniform_node, "output", subtract_node, "b")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, subtract_node, "result", vector_len_node, "vector")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_len_node, "length", output_node, "alph")

In this example, we introduced a uniform node to set a reference point in space, a world position node to get the position of the current fragment, and a subtract node to calculate the difference between the two. The result is that the closer the fragment is to our reference point, the more opaque it will be.

These code examples give you a basis to start experimenting with VisualShaderNodeVectorLen and its applications in the Godot Engine. Remember, with visual shaders, the power is in the nodes and how you connect them!Continuing our deep dive into the wonders of Godot’s VisualShaderNodeVectorLen, let’s explore additional ways to implement its functionality to elevate our projects.

Animating Effects with Vector Length

We can animate shader properties over time by incorporating the Shader’s TIME built-in variable. Let’s create an effect where the color of an object pulses with a strength based on the distance from a central point:

var time_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, Vector2(2, 10))

var sine_node =
sine_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sine_node, Vector2(3, 10))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, "output", sine_node, "value")

var output_color_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, output_color_node, Vector2(6, 10))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_len_node, "length", output_color_node, "shader")

In this setup, we are creating a pulsing effect by using the sine function on the TIME variable, then connecting it to the shader’s color output. The visual result will be a shimmering object that feels dynamic and alive.

Gradients Based on Vector Length

Gradients can add a visually appealing touch to your game elements. We use VectorLen to create a radial gradient:

var camera_pos_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, camera_pos_node, Vector2(3, 20))

var distance_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, distance_node, Vector2(4, 20))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, camera_pos_node, "output", distance_node, "vector")

var output_color_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, output_color_node, Vector2(7, 20))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, distance_node, "length", output_color_node, "color")

This code takes the camera position vector, measures its length, and then uses that value to influence the output color, creating a gradient that shifts based on the viewer’s distance.

Modifying Textures Based on Position

Texture mapping can be greatly enhanced with the use of vector lengths. The following code shows how to create a distortion effect on a texture mapped to an object:

var texture_node =
var texture_uniform = shader.set_uniform("Texture", preload("res://path_to_texture.png"))

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_node, Vector2(1, 30))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, world_pos_node, Vector2(2, 30))

var multiply_node =
multiply_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_MULTIPLY

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, multiply_node, Vector2(3, 30))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, world_pos_node, "vector", multiply_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, vector_len_node, "length", multiply_node, "b")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, multiply_node, "result", texture_node, "uv")

shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_node, "color", output_node, "color")

By multiplying the world position by the vector length and using the result as UV coordinates, we achieve an effect where the texture appears to be distorted in relation to its position in the world.

Detecting Edges Using Vector Length

Finally, let’s use VectorLen to highlight the edges of a mesh based on the normals’ directions:

var normal_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_node, Vector2(5, 40))

var dot_node =
dot_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_DOT

shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, dot_node, Vector2(6, 40))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_node, "output", dot_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, camera_pos_node, "output", dot_node, "b")

var edge_color = Color(1, 1, 0, 1) // Yellow edge color

shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, dot_node, "result", output_color_node, "color")

This code snippet calculates the dot product of the normal vector and the camera position. The result can highlight the edges of an object when the camera faces them perpendicularly.

Through these examples, we’ve explored just a glimpse of the potential when harnessing the power of VisualShaderNodeVectorLen in Godot. As you continue your journey in game development, we encourage you to experiment and integrate these principles into your own projects. Remember, the spirit of creativity is all about testing boundaries, iterating, and innovating. Dive in, and have fun bringing your visions to life within the virtual realms!As we continue to tap into the capabilities of VisualShaderNodeVectorLen, we will walk through various scenarios where this functionality can be a game-changer in Godot Engine 4. Here are additional code examples that demonstrate the versatility of this node in shader programming.

Further Applications of VisualShaderNodeVectorLen

Let’s consider an object with a color that changes based on its distance from a light source, creating a dynamic lighting effect:

var light_pos_uniform =
light_pos_uniform.set_default_value(Vector3(0, 10, 0)) // Position of a light source
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, light_pos_uniform, Vector2(1, 50))

var distance_to_light =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, distance_to_light, Vector2(2, 50))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, world_pos_node, "vector", distance_to_light, "vector")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, light_pos_uniform, "output", distance_to_light, "vector")

// Assuming you've set up an output color node
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, distance_to_light, "length", output_color_node, "color")

This shader modifies the object’s color based on its distance to a specified light source—giving the appearance that it’s illuminated as it gets closer.

Next, let’s use vector length to simulate a heat haze effect:

var time_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, Vector2(2, 60))

var sin_time_node =
sin_time_node.function = VisualShaderNodeScalarFunc.FUNC_SIN
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sin_time_node, Vector2(3, 60))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, time_node, "output", sin_time_node, "value")

// The sin_time will add a time-based distortion factor.
var distort_factor =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, distort_factor, Vector2(4, 60))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, sin_time_node, "scalar", distort_factor, "scalar")

var texture_sample_node =
shader.set_uniform("Texture", preload("res://path_to_texture.png"))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_sample_node, Vector2(1, 70))

var uv_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, uv_node, Vector2(2, 70))

var add_node =
add_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeVectorOp.OPERATION_ADD
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, add_node, Vector2(3, 70))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, distort_factor, "output", add_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, uv_node, "output", add_node, "b")

// Connect the sum to the UVs of the texture sample node.
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, add_node, "result", texture_sample_node, "uv")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, texture_sample_node, "color", output_color_node, "color")

In this shader, the texture sample’s UV coordinates are altered over time, simulating the air distortion you’d expect to see in extreme heat.

For a snow effect, let’s say we want to make the top of objects accumulate more snow:

var normal_global_node =
normal_global_node.set_custom_code("vec3 get_normal() { return NORMAL; }")
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_global_node, Vector2(5, 80))

var y_component_node =
y_component_node.operation = VisualShaderNodeScalarOp.OPERATION_MULTIPLY
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, y_component_node, Vector2(6, 80))
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_global_node, "output", y_component_node, "a")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_global_node, "output", y_component_node, "b")

var snow_texture_node =
shader.set_uniform("SnowTexture", preload("res://path_to_snow_texture.png"))
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, snow_texture_node, Vector2(7, 80))

shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, y_component_node, "scalar", snow_texture_node, "alpha")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, snow_texture_node, "color", output_color_node, "color")

This shader uses the Y component of the normal vector to determine how much snow is shown on top of an object, with more being visible on flatter surfaces.

Finally, the VisualShaderNodeVectorLen can help create an outline effect using normal vectors and camera vectors:

var fresnel_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, fresnel_node, Vector2(8, 90))

shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, normal_global_node, "output", fresnel_node, "normal")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, camera_pos_node, "output", fresnel_node, "view")

var outline_color = Color(0, 0, 0, 1) // Black outline color

var mix_node =
shader.add_node(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mix_node, Vector2(9, 90))

// Mix original color with outline color based on the fresnel effect
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, output_color_node, "color", mix_node, "c")
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, fresnel_node, "output", mix_node, "weight")
shader.set_uniform("mix_color", outline_color)
shader.node_connect(VisualShader.TYPE_FRAGMENT, mix_node, "vec", output_color_node, "color")

This code takes advantage of the Fresnel effect to determine the angles between the surface normals and the view vector, creating an outline that’s more visible at glancing angles.

These diverse examples show that VisualShaderNodeVectorLen is not just a mathematical function, but a gateway to producing a wide array of visual effects in Godot Engine 4. From dynamic light interactions to environmental context like heat haze or snow, understanding and manipulating vector lengths can dramatically enhance your GameDev toolkit. Keep experimenting with these concepts to find unique applications in your own projects!

Where to Go Next in Your Godot Learning Journey

Embarking on your journey with the VisualShaderNodeVectorLen in Godot is just the beginning. There’s a whole universe of game development concepts and techniques waiting for you to explore. Whether you’ve just started dabbling in the Godot engine or you’re looking to polish your existing skills, Zenva’s Godot Game Development Mini-Degree provides an extensive learning path.

Our mini-degree is crafted to walk you through building your own games using Godot 4, covering essential topics from manipulating 2D/3D assets to mastering GDScript, and diving into different game mechanics integral to RPGs, RTS, platformers, and survival games. Regardless of your experience level, our courses are designed with flexibility in mind, allowing you to learn on all modern devices at your own pace.

Aside from our comprehensive mini-degree, we offer a broad collection of Godot courses tailored to various aspects of the engine. By completing these courses, you’ll build a robust portfolio of real Godot projects, serving as a testament to your newfound capabilities. Keep learning, keep building, and let Zenva be your guide in the ever-evolving world of game development.


Wrapping up our exploration of the VisualShaderNodeVectorLen, we hope you’ve found inspiration to experiment with vectors and shaders in Godot. Learning how to manipulate these elements in a game engine is akin to discovering a new language — one that speaks directly to the gaming experience you’re crafting. With every shader node and script you master, you become more fluent, capable of weaving more intricate gameplay and stunning visual tapestries.

Our journey doesn’t have to end here. If your curiosity is piqued and your mind is brimming with ideas, Zenva’s Godot Game Development Mini-Degree awaits to take your skills to the next level. Embrace the opportunity to transform your visions into playable realities, and let the games begin! 🚀

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