I'm currently totally at a loss as to how this effect is done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp8MHUNp7Cg

The glowing on the ship and the changing color. I want to do this effect in XNA 4.0 any hints and tips?


1 Answer 1


It looks like simple vertex colouring where the colour index is function of the distance to the centre of the ship, plus time.

This can be implemented using a texture storing a palette. It could also be done proceduraly if the desired colour gradients are simple enough.

If using a palette, the vertex shader would be something like this:

uniform float4 in_ShipCenter; /* Centre of the ship */
uniform float in_Time;        /* Elapsed time */
/* ... */

void main(float4 in_Position : POSITION,
          uniform sampler1D in_Palette,
          /* ... */
          out float4 out_Color : COLOR)
    /* ... */
    float distance = length((in_Position - in_ShipCenter).xyz);
    float time = in_Time;

    /* Simple distance/time combination */
    vec2 colorIndex = vec2(distance + time, 0.5);

    /* Other possible effects:
     * vec2 colorIndex = vec2(A * distance + B * time, 0.5);
     * vec2 colorIndex = vec2(distance, time);
     * vec2 colorIndex = vec2(distance + A * time, time + B * distance); */

    /* Query the colour in the two-dimensional texture palette. */
    out_Color = tex2D(in_Palette, colorIndex);

Edit: account for the fact that XNA doesn't support 1D palettes. If you still want to access the pixels of a 2D palette as if it was a 1D palette, see this question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It might also be a Manhattan Distance. \$\endgroup\$
    – user712092
    Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 0:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The colour waves look very circular to me. A Manhattan distance would create square waves. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 10, 2011 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Problem: you can't use a Texture1D in XNA; but otherwise a very good answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right, I wrote my answer thinking GL+GLSL in my head and just assumed it would be the same in XNA... Then in the meantime I learned that tex1D didn't exist on XNA. I'll fix that, thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 15:46

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