01 June 2024

Course "Godot 4 Shaders: Craft Stunning Visuals" by GameDev.TV

 I am still working through the courses I bought in the Humble Bundle pack, and this time it’s "Godot 4 Shaders: Craft Stunning Visuals" from GameDevTV. Unlike other GameDevTV courses, this one is not on Udemy, so you’ll have to watch it on the GameDevTV platform. This comes with a couple of drawbacks: you don’t have English subtitles and you can’t speed up the video. Fortunately, the course instructor has good pronunciation, so everything is understandable, and he speaks at a good pace, so there’s no need to speed it up.

The course lasts about 5 hours and focuses on giving you an initial dive into shaders to dispel any fears of delving deeper on your own. It is structured into three parts:

  • Shader fundamentals.
  • 2D Shaders, focused on creating common effects in this type of game: flashes, monochrome transitions, dissolves, masking, scrolling, and distortions.
  • 3D Shaders, aimed at setting the basic properties of albedo, metallic, roughness, and normal. Although it doesn’t go very deep, it concludes with a tutorial on creating a water effect.

I had taken shader courses in Unity before, but this was my first one focused on Godot, and I must say I liked it a lot. In the shader courses I had taken for Unity, I would follow the tutorial steps, but I felt like I wasn’t really understanding the general concepts. Basically, I was repeating actions without really knowing why I was doing them. Fortunately, this was the first course where I didn’t feel that way. The instructor makes an effort to explain more basic concepts, such as fragment or vertex phases, or what UV coordinates are, and this effort is greatly appreciated. For the first time, I understood why I was doing things.

Another pleasant surprise was that I didn’t mind that the instructor did not use Godot’s visual shaders and focused on code shaders instead. Initially, I thought this might make the course more complicated, but now I think it actually simplified things quite a bit. If you’ve programmed in C#, the language Godot uses for its shader code is very similar. It doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to get the hang of it. From there, I feel that code shaders are more concise than their visual counterparts, which made it easier for me to follow the course.

Regarding content, the 2D shaders section seemed very complete to me. However, the 3D shaders section felt a bit short. The 3D part stays at the basics.

In any case, for a 5-hour course, I think it’s very good and enjoyable. The immediacy of Godot makes it very comfortable to follow the course. What a difference compared to Unity and its domain reloads every time you touch the editor!

So, I highly recommend the course.