Source Shader Editor - Download & Installation

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This article will describe how to install the editor libraries into your own mod. You will be required to compile the client library at the end, so make sure that you can compile the source code from the SDK successfully.

Note.pngNote:Currently the Source SDK Base 2007, Source SDK 2013 and Alien Swarm mods are supported.
Confirm:Some AMD/ATI hardware seems to show erroneous behaviour when reading negative values from textures. This solely affects the 2D preview on the graph.

Swarm info

The Alien Swarm support is based on a ported 2007 SDK since there is no official shader/materialsystem implementation source for swarm. Therefore you might experience inconsistencies primarily with scene shaders, some known differences are listed here:

  • Applying alpha blended shaders to geometry in the scene which was opaque before may require you to reload the map, the entities might just disappear first.
  • Swarm is capable of supporting custom vertex textures.


Version 0.5 Changes:

  • Added support for Source SDK 2013 (Windows)
  • Added the possibility to override all relevant editor paths in code
  • Fixed flashlight not working on custom shaders in Alien Swarm
  • Removed auto copying to platform/ in Alien Swarm

Version 0.4 Changes:

  • Added startparam '-graphrtsize' to allow changing the resolution of the RT used for the node graph preview
  • Fixed param error getting triggered by locked textures (i.e. framebuffer)
  • Fixed some nodes drawing text implicitly after being culled
  • Fixed error in GetPPEMaterial
  • Fixed crash on shutdown in swarm
  • Fixed crash when loading a canvas that references a userfunc which is missing locally
  • Fixed recompile all dialog not being removed properly

Version 0.3 Changes:

  • Added support for SWARM SDK
  • Added more primitive types to the 3d preview
  • Added tabs for flow graphs
  • Added some help texts to the general tab in the node properties and a tooltip to the flowgraph
  • Added unique texcoord dim setting for each stage of the vs input semantics
  • Added support for alpha to coverage
  • Added custom grass rendering code with morphing (optional)
  • Added vertex compression support to the fallback shader
  • Added vertex texture sampler implementation (SWARM ONLY)
  • Added dialog to recompile all shaders that were selected for precaching. You will have to recompile old shaders once yourself first though.
  • Added Miscellaneous nodes: group
  • Added HLSL nodes: custom code, vertex decompress
  • Added post processing nodes: RT, Material, Copy RT, Draw Material, clear buffers, update FB copy, Render view, push VP, pop VP, set RT

  • Changed layout and color scheme (old scheme can still be found as ShaderEditorScheme_Old.res)
  • Changed Skinning node to flip the binormal automatically (to compensate the inverted green channel in normalmaps)
  • Changed flowgraph screenshots to use jpeg compression

  • Fixed some memory leaks
  • Fixed packed editor materials to unpack 'insert' keys improperly
  • Fixed custom texcoord dimensions not being applied correctly
  • Fixed mutable vparam node not updating hierachy on datatype change
  • Fixed max amount of pixelshader constants being displayed as 14 instead of 13
  • Fixed vparam static ignoring first occurance of '-' in the vmt string
  • Fixed tangentspace being broken on sphere mesh under certain conditions (will only work while you use the default texcoord input dimensions in the VS Input node!)
  • Fixed flashlight code not binding cookie texture from dynamic flashlight state
  • Fixed post processing shader preview + 2D preview not performing FB copy properly

Version 0.2.1 Changes:

  • Fixed parallax amount being dependent from relative uv/world scale
  • Fixed shaders on prop_static requiring $bumpmap to be defined for lighting
  • Fixed gaussian weights being calculated wrongly in some cases
  • Fixed a crash with morph node

  • Added nodes: clip

Version 0.2 Changes:

  • Added nodes: array, condition, sampler object, flashlight origin, parallax uv, parallax shadow
  • Added undo/redo to file menu, ctrl+z/ ctrl+shift+z
  • Added custom matrices: projection, view projection, view inverse, projection inverse, view projection inverse
  • Added sampler datatype
  • Added ( 4x3 * 4x4 ) for multiply node
  • Added examples: lightmap_parallax, postproc_depthglow, postproc_gaussblur_2d_singlepass (note: really just a POC for previewing!)

  • Fixed datatype of custom matrix - view
  • Fixed hierachy not updating when float3x3 was toggled on the multiply node
  • Fixed lightscale settings of Final output node not being applied correctly
  • Fixed lightmap lookups not automatically enforcing SRGB read in LDR mode

  • VS texture samplers are now identifiable. This may break old shaders using the Morph node, re-compile them.
  • Exposed datatype of texcoords/color for VS input semantics
  • Bridges of input jacks can now be overridden more easily
  • Changed refraction example to use newer float3x3 cast on multiply + user matrix in PS
  • Improved solver algorithm for stacked containers
  • Changed default texture names of fallback textures
  • The precache dialog will now sort all entries by name

Version 0.1.2 Changes:

  • Fixed binary path being cut off
  • Fixed solver crash
  • Added 3dskybox support for the skymask (viewrender.cpp needs to be updated)

Version 0.1.1 Changes:

  • Fixed framebuffer copy texture 0 staying undefined
  • Fixed potential stability issue for fast material reload
  • Fixed material picker errors in singleplayer mods

Implementation files



  • Copy the contents of source_shader_editor/mod to the directory of your own mod (Steam/steamapps/SourceMods/MY_MOD). Among these files are the libraries that contain the editor and shader implementation, content resources and script files. The folder ../mod/shadereditorui will contain all content generated by the editor; for example your canvases can be located in ../mod/shadereditorui/canvas and temporary plus final HLSL source files will be stored in ../shadereditorui/shader_src.
  • Copy the folder source_shader_editor/code/ShaderEditor and its contents to the codebase of your mod into ../src/game/client/. If you want to change the directory, make sure that you adjust the #includes in all files accordingly! The folder source_shader_editor/code/ShaderEditor/Grass does not have to be copied along, only if you plan on using it. If you're wondering what it looks like, check out the map sdk_vehicles in the demo below. For its specific installation instructions, refer to the readme in the same folder.


Warning.pngWarning:The Alien Swarm code may look slightly different, but you should be able to find the correct places easily.
  • Open Visual Studio and load your mod's solution.
    • (optional) Add a new filter in the Source Files folder of your client project.
  • Add all implementation files (and headers) from ../src/game/client/ShaderEditor to your new filter or elsewhere into your client project. For the SDK 2013, you should add the files to your client VPC project with the following snippet (place it right after $Folder "Source Files" { ):
		$Folder "Shader Editor" [$WIN32]
			$Folder	"Header Files"
				$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\ISEdit_ModelRender.h"
				$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\IVShaderEditor.h"
				$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\ShaderEditorSystem.h"
				$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\SEdit_ModelRender.h"
				//$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\Grass\CGrassCluster.h"
			$Folder	"Implementation Files"
				$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\ShaderEditorSystem.cpp"
				$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\SEdit_ModelRender.cpp"
				//$File	"$SRCDIR\game\client\ShaderEditor\Grass\CGrassCluster.cpp"
  • If you're using the SDK 2013, add the following definition to a $PreprocessorDefinitions variable in your client VPC project: SOURCE_2013. The default projects already have this variable in their $Compiler blocks. Add the new definition at the end, after a semicolon.
  • Open viewrender.cpp and add the include #include "ShaderEditor/ShaderEditorSystem.h" at the top, right above #include "tier0/memdbgon.h".
  • In viewrender.cpp go to the function void CViewRender::RenderView(...) and add the three lines highlighted at the respective position:
		// if the 3d skybox world is drawn, then don't draw the normal skybox
		CSkyboxView *pSkyView = new CSkyboxView( this );
		if ( ( bDrew3dSkybox = pSkyView->Setup( view, &nClearFlags, &nSkyboxVisible ) ) != false )
			AddViewToScene( pSkyView );
			g_ShaderEditorSystem->UpdateSkymask(false, view.x, view.y, view.width, view.height);
		SafeRelease( pSkyView );


		// Now actually draw the viewmodel
		DrawViewModels( view, whatToDraw & RENDERVIEW_DRAWVIEWMODEL );

		g_ShaderEditorSystem->UpdateSkymask( bDrew3dSkybox, view.x, view.y, view.width, view.height);



		// Draw fade over entire screen if needed
		byte color[4];
		bool blend;
		vieweffects->GetFadeParams( &color[0], &color[1], &color[2], &color[3], &blend );

		// Draw an overlay to make it even harder to see inside smoke particle systems.

		// Overlay screen fade on entire screen
		IMaterial* pMaterial = blend ? m_ModulateSingleColor : m_TranslucentSingleColor;
		render->ViewDrawFade( color, pMaterial );
		PerformScreenOverlay( view.x, view.y, view.width, view.height );

		// Prevent sound stutter if going slow
		if ( !building_cubemaps.GetBool() && view.m_bDoBloomAndToneMapping )
			pRenderContext.GetFrom( materials );
				PIXEVENT( pRenderContext, "DoEnginePostProcessing" );

				bool bFlashlightIsOn = false;
				C_BasePlayer *pLocal = C_BasePlayer::GetLocalPlayer();
				if ( pLocal )
					bFlashlightIsOn = pLocal->IsEffectActive( EF_DIMLIGHT );
				DoEnginePostProcessing( view.x, view.y, view.width, view.height, bFlashlightIsOn );


		// And here are the screen-space effects

		if ( IsPC() )
			// Grab the pre-color corrected frame for editing purposes
			engine->GrabPreColorCorrectedFrame( view.x, view.y, view.width, view.height );

However, at this stage, you'll notice that UpdateSkymask is throwing an error in visual studio as there's too many arguments in the function call. There's multiple steps to fix this.

First, go into ShaderEditorSystem.h and change the following line of code from this:

              void UpdateSkymask( bool bCombineMode = false );

To this:

	      void UpdateSkymask(bool bCombineMode, int x, int y, int w, int h);

Next, go into IVShaderEditor.h and find this line:

	virtual void OnUpdateSkymask( bool bCombineMode ) = 0;

Change it to this:

	virtual void OnUpdateSkymask(bool bCombineMode, int x, int y, int w, int h) = 0;

Finally, go into ShaderEditorSystem.cpp and adjust this block of code.

void ShaderEditorHandler::UpdateSkymask( bool bCombineMode )
	if ( IsReady() )
	shaderEdit->OnUpdateSkymask( bCombineMode );

Change it to this:

void ShaderEditorHandler::UpdateSkymask(bool bCombineMode, int x, int y, int w, int h)
	if ( IsReady() )
	shaderEdit->OnUpdateSkymask(bCombineMode, x, y, w, h);

This should resolve the problem.

Go back into viewrender.cpp and go to the function void CViewRender::ViewDrawScene(...) and add the highlighted lines at the respective place:


	DrawWorldAndEntities( drawSkybox, view, nClearFlags, pCustomVisibility );

	VisibleFogVolumeInfo_t fogVolumeInfo;
	render->GetVisibleFogVolume( view.origin, &fogVolumeInfo );
	WaterRenderInfo_t info;
	DetermineWaterRenderInfo( fogVolumeInfo, info );
	g_ShaderEditorSystem->CustomViewRender( &g_CurrentViewID, fogVolumeInfo, info );

	// Disable fog for the rest of the stuff
  • Compile the solution.
Note.pngNote:If you will have LNK2019 error with ShaderEditorSystem.obj, then try to remove inline in viewrender.cpp CViewRender::ShouldDrawEntities function.
  • To enable the shader editor add -shaderedit to your mods launch options.

Stand-alone demo

Download a precompiled mod based on the Source 2007 SDK.



Copy the mod folder into Steam/steamapps/SourceMods/ as usual. The editor should show on startup without further ado. The demo won't allow you to immediately use the shaders elsewhere, however you can still take the HLSL source files and implement them manually in your own shader library.