The Shader Debug tools allow you to evaluate material-related issues on your map, providing a preview of how various materials will interact with the current set of shaders being used.
This can be useful if you are trying to create a specific look for your map in terms of lighting and atmospheric effects, and want to make sure it will look the way you want when in-game.
This guide covers what these shader debugging tools are, what they do, and how to use them.
Opening Shader View
To open the visual shader debug tools, navigate to: View > Debug > Debug View
Each of the options in this drop-down menu change the Render View to reflect the selected shader debug view. These modes are covered below.
Shader Debug View Modes
This section covers the various options within the shader debug options.
Turns off any currently active Debug Shader Modes, causing the map to appear as it would in-game. This is the default view that replicates what the player sees.
Allows you to view the true colours of materials without the effects of any lighting applied. This is useful for establishing a baseline for comparing how different shaders affect materials.
Highlights props such as units and buildings as it shows the normalmap textures for objects as they exist on disk, revealing where all the custom object textures are located.
Shows the normals for the standard map transformed into proper world space.
Texture Ambient Occlusion
Shows a black and white view which highlights the hand painted ambient occlusion on buildings. This is useful when evaluating how light interacts with the building.
A black and white view of the 0 UV channel.
A black and white view of the 1 UV channel.
Shows the Metallic Map texture on all meshes and terrain, highlighting all reflective materials. This is useful for isolating all elements that are composed of reflective metallic textures, as these are the most reflective surfaces in the game.
Shows the Dielectric Reflection Map texture, providing a clearer view of the ground and reflective surfaces.
Shows the roughness contribution within the metallic parts of materials. Darker patches are smoother and lighter patches are more rough, showing what will reflect more light and what will reflect less.
Shows a view similar to Roughness Metal with the map adjusted to reduce specular aliasing.
Terrain Blend Mask
Shows the terrain blend mask on props and buildings to help blend them with the ground below. Useful for seeing the boundary between objects.
Base Normal Map
Highlights only objects with a Base Normal shader, such as rocks and trees, and blacks out everything with a more complex shader. This is useful for highlighting simple materials.
Mask to Normal
Similar to Base Normal Map but also includes objects with more complex shaders such as buildings. Useful for highlighting the objects that reflect light and to see where shaders are being used.
Shows the geometry normals from the mesh vertices in world space without any normal maps applied to them. Useful for seeing the exact geometry of objects.
Shows the terrain tri-planer directions of cliffs, highlighting east-west and north-south facing cliffs. Useful for evaluating how light will affect cliffs depending on their angle.
Adding Debug Shader to Toolbar
To more easily switch between the various shader debug modes, you can add these modes to your toolbar.
This is a faster, more efficient way of using these view modes than using the drop-down menu.
To cause the shader debug tools to appear on the toolbar, perform the following steps:
- Navigate to: Main Menu > Tools > Customize ToolBars
- Check the box beside EssenceEditor.Debug.
- The shader debug tools will then appear along the top of your toolbar. Pressing any of these buttons now activates that shader debug mode, allowing you to quickly cycle through them.