Highlight shader nodes

Today I was starting to question my sanity looking for a node in the FFT help patch, which I had copied over into my project.

Finally I got some help and it turned out the node was a Shader node and I had not copied over the file into the folder of my project. It says “Shader” in the name of it, but it was not clear to me that it is an external file. Hovering over the node shows:


So could we make it a bit easier to spot nodes that are Shader nodes loaded from a file? It could be a tiny icon in the node or even only appear on hover. But any hint that it is an external reference and the file it belongs to or is missing. There is already the mouseover tooltip. I dont see why it could not say something like

“FFTQueueShader [Stride.Rendering.ComputeShaders]
Dependency: C:\Users\seltz\Desktop…\FFTQueue_ComputeFX.sdsl”

If it is missing the file it could show “Last seen at: C:\Users\seltz\Desktop…\FFTQueue_ComputeFX.sdsl”

Also it would be nice to have the same “Show in Explorer” option as .vl files, when right-clicking such a node.

Also when I copy such a node from a help file into another file and it is now missing, shouldn’t there be a modal that tells me what happened (a file reference is no longer there) and it gives me options like “Copy dependency”, “Reference dependency” or “Ignore”? That would be nice. Because then I don’t just get an error, but I can start to figure out what is/will be causing an error and have a way to immediately remedy this. It’s almost like there should be some basic principles of UX which should contain this… oh wait, they have been around since 1994… 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design (it’s number 5 in this case). :D

I think it goes very much in the same direction of Vvvv Projects - self contained vs. global package repositories - #10 by joreg. The pain point is the same: I have errors in my patch, something is missing and I am not sure what it is or how to remedy the situation.

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looks like beta does it like that

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yes, i feel the pain. when i tried teaching gamma at uni, students often tried to copy things from helppatches, which then didn’t work because of referenced stuff. i think i already mentioned this at some point here in the forum. a problem which persists.


Turns out there is almost a solution to it already. I found there is a setting in VL called “Show symbol source”, which shows the path to where it is defined.

Quick sidebar: So what I would call a node is called a “symbol” or “code element”? What happened to “node”?


It would do what I want but of course there are 2 issues. Firstly, it doesn’t show the full path, only the first part, rendering the information useless unless you are working directly on C:

Secondly, it doesn’t show the file source for a shader it seems:


So I think if the devs could add a way for shaders to show their file path and for the file path to be actually shown completely (like it was in beta), it would work with existing mechanisms.

I think for showing the complete path I would just shrink the font size in the tooltips a bit. Not quite beta level font sizes, but a bit smaller would be fine.

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Boom, found another one of those “hidden” keyboard shortcuts to reduce the font size: Cmd-Scrollwheel while a tooltip is showing will change the size of the tooltips. Unfortunately it scales the whole thing and not just the font size, so you can’t read any more or less, just the overall tooltip changes size.

Some improvements for the upcoming 5.0 release:

Wording of the setting is hopefully more human readable:

With the setting enabled, shader nodes now show the full path (with a center ellipsis in case too long):

You can rightclick a shader to go to the location of its file:

When a shader file is not found, the error is a bit more helpful:


we already using this feature already a lot. very helpful