Shader Debugger by arigo - 2

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Simple Unity framework to debug shader code

Unknown VersionMIT LicenseUpdated 129 days agoCreated on May 10th, 2019
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Simple Unity framework to debug shader code. Right now, supports only pixel shaders. Here’s an example:


We have a custom shader rendering the red ball, and the goal is to debug it. We add a few lines to it (see below) and then choose “Window”, “Shader Debugger” in the Unity menus. A small number of pixels that use this shader are automatically sampled and displayed as yellow dots. For each yellow dot, the extra information that we chose to record from the pixel shader is displayed.

In this case, this info is (what we think to be) the normal vector, displayed in a color between red and orange; and add at the end of that vector, a custom label with some numerical value. This is done by writing the following code in the pixel shader (this example comes from the Demo directory):

#pragma target 4.5                                 /* needs at least 4.5 */
#include "../../ShaderDebugger/debugger.cginc"     /* relative path to that file */


fixed4 frag (v2f i) : SV_Target
    float red = i.localPosition.x;

    /* Start of debug code */
    uint root = DebugFragment(i.vertex);     /* 'i.vertex' is the SV_POSITION field */
    DbgSetColor(root, float4(1, i.localPosition.x, 0, 1));
    DbgVectorO3(root,;     /* a 3D vector in object coordinates */

    DbgChangePosByO3(root,;  /* move to the other end of that 3D vector */
    DbgValue1(root, red);                         /* draw a label with one float value */
    /* End of debug code */

    return fixed4(red, 0, 0, 1);


Note that this only works in the Scene view, not in the Game view (nor in builds).

In general, we must call uint root = DebugFragment(i.vertex); once, and then any number of DbgXxx() functions by passing the root value as first argument. The whole list of supported functions is in debugger.cginc. (If you need to add more, you need to edit that place as well as DisplayHandle() in ShaderDebugger.cs. Please issue pull requests if you add something generally useful!)

Note the naming convention: function names ending in O4 or W4 expect coordinates as float4 in object or world space, respectively. Function names ending in O3 or W3 are the same but expecting a float3, and interpret it as a vector instead of a position. There is a “current” position and color which affect what you draw next; you can change it with DbgChangePosXxx() and DbgSetColor(). In the example above, the final DbgValue1() writes one float numerically on screen, at the position that was just changed in the previous line.

You should remember to remove or comment out all the code from the shader—including the #include "debugger.cginc"— when you are done.

If the shader is more complicated, just make sure you call DebugFrament() once, typically at the start of the fragement function, and then pass around the root variable to all places where you need DbgXxx(). Feel free to add conditions, like if (x < 0) DbgSetColor(root, float4(1,0,0,1)); to make the next thing red if x < 0. You’re writing a shader, but in this case you don’t have to worry about performance 😃

Have fun!

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