Text Shaders link

Ren'Py contains a text shader system that makes it possible to control how Ren'Py displays text. When enabled, the text shader system uses Model-Based Rendering to render two triangles for each unicode character. Shader parts, either specified from the creator or generated by Ren'Py, are applied to the model, and can change how text is displayed.

The text shader documentation is in three parts:

  1. How to use text shaders

  2. What text shaders are included in Ren'Py

  3. How to create new text shaders

Note that while text shaders are intended to be easily used by game creators, making your own text shaders requires some knowledge of GLSL, the OpenGL Shading Language, as well as Model-Based Rendering, and hence is more advanced than most Ren'Py features.

Using Text Shaders link

There are three ways to use text shaders:

Default Text Shader The first is to set the default text shader, using config.default_textshader.

define config.default_textshader = "wave:10"

When set this way, the text shader will be used for all text that does not specify a text shader. It will also be combined with text shaders that include the default text shader, which is most of them.

Generally, the default textshader should take care of slow text and shouldn't add more complicated effects.

Styles The second way to use text shaders is to set the textshader style property, either directly or in one of the many ways provided by Ren'Py to set styles.

style default:
    textshader "dissolve"

define goldfinger = Character("Goldfinger", what_textshader="linetexture:gold.png")

screen purchase():
        text "Buy the DLC for more!" textshader "wave"
        textbutton "Buy Now":
            text_textshader "wave" action iap.Purchase("dlc")

Text Tags The third way to use text shaders is to use the appropriate text tag to change the look of a portion of text.

"What's this? A letter from {shader=zoom}out of nowhere{/shader}?"

Specifying Text Shaders link

Text shaders are specified as strings like:

"jitter:u__jitter=1.0, 3.0"

The first part of the string, before the first colon, is the name of the text shader. The rest of the string is a series of uniforms that are passed to the shader, separated by colons. (Uniforms are parameters that are passed to the shader, that can be used to control how the shader works.)

Uniforms can be specified by name followed by =, or the name can be omitted to set each uniform in order. (Omitting the name is not supported in Ren'Py 7.) While internally all uniforms begin with u_, the u_ can be omitted for brevity.

The value of a uniform can be:

  • Between 1 and 4 numbers, separated by commas. These can be used with the the float, vec2, vec3, or vec4 types.

  • A color, beginning with #. (For example, #f00 or #ff0000 for red.) This creates a a vec4 corresponding to that color. This color will be premultiplied by its alpha channel.

  • A displayable that will be used as a texture. This creates a sampler2D that can be used to sample the texture.

Uniform values can't be expressions or access variables, though it is possible to use text interpolation to create a string that can be evaluated as a textshader tag or its parameter.

Finally, text shaders can be combined with each other using the | operator. For example:

"jitter:1.0, 3.0|wave"

This will apply both the jitter and wave shaders to the text. This only works if the shaders are compatible with each other, and do not use the same uniforms (or use the uniform in a way that is compatible with each other, in which case it takes the value from the last shader in the list).

Unless a textshader has include_default set to False, the default textshader will be combined with the textshader specified in the style or tag.

Text Shader Callbacks link

The config.textshader_callbacks variable can be used to set a callback that is run when a text shader is applied. This can be used to customize the text shader based on a preference.

default persistent.dissolve_text = True

init python:
    def get_default_textshader():
        if persistent.dissolve_text:
            return "dissolve"
            return "typewriter"

define config.default_textshader = "default"
define config.textshader_callbacks["default"] = get_default_textshader

Built-In Text Shaders link

Ren'Py includes a number of built-in text shaders. These are:

dissolve link

The dissolve text shader handles text by dissolving it in slowly, with the start dissolving in first, and the end dissolving in last.

u__duration = 10.0

The number of characters that will be changing alpha at a time. If set to 0, the wave will move across the text one pixel at a time.

Using this shader will prevent the default text shader from being used.

flip link

The flip shader flips slow text by flipping the text horizontally, with the start flipping in first, and the end flipping in last.

u__duration = 10.0

The number of characters that will be changing alpha at a time. If set to 0, the characters will instantly flip.

Using this shader will prevent the default text shader from being used.

jitter link

The jitter text shader moves the text to random positions relative to where it would be normally drawn. The position changes once per frame.

u__jitter = (3.0, 3.0)

The amount of jitter to apply to the text, in pixels.

linetexture link

Multiplies the text with a texture, one line at a time. The texture is aligned with the left side of the text. The vertical center of the texture is aligned with the baseline of the text - this meas that most of the lower half of the texture will not be visible.

u__texture = ...

The texture to multiply the text by.

u__scale = (1.0, 1.0)

A factor to scale the texture by. For example (1.0, 0.5) will make the texture half as tall as it otherwise would be.

offset link

The offset text shader moves the text by a fixed amount.

u__offset = (0.0, 0.0)

The amount to move the text by, in virtual pixels.

slowalpha link

The slowalpha shader is intended to be used with another slow text shader, like typewriter or dissolve. It causes the text that has yet to be revealed to be drawn with an alpha value of u__alpha = 0.2, rather than being invisible.

u__alpha = 0.2

The alpha value of the text that has not been revealed yet.

texture link

The texture text shader multiplies the text with a shader. This not done to outlined or offset text. The texture is aligned with the top left of the text.

u__texture = ...

The texture to multiply the text by.

typewriter link

The typewriter text shader handles slow text by making the text appear one character at a time, as if it were being typed out by a typewriter.

Using this shader will prevent the default text shader from being used.

wave link

The wave text shader makes the text bounce up and down in a wave.

u__amplitude = 5.0

The number of pixels up and down the text will move.

u__frequency = 2.0

The number of waves per second.

u__wavelength = 20.0

The number of characters between peaks in the wave.

zoom link

The zoom text shader handles slow text to cause it to zoom in from an initial size of u__zoom = 0.0 to full size.

u__zoom = 0.0

The initial amount of zoom to apply to a character when it first starts showing.

u__duration = 10.0

The number of characters that will be changing alpha at a time. If set to 0, the characters will instantly flip.

Using this shader will prevent the default text shader from being used.

Creating Text Shaders link

Text shaders are GLSL programs that are run on the GPU. These shaders are registered using the renpy.register_text_shader function.

renpy.register_textshader(name, shaders=(), extra_slow_time=0.0, extra_slow_duration=0.0, redraw=None, redraw_when_slow=0.0, include_default=True, adjust_function=None, doc=None, **kwargs) link

This creates a textshader and registers it with the name name.

This function takes the following arguments:


This is the name of the textshader. It's also used to register a shader part named textshader.`name`.


Shader parts to apply to the text. This can be a string, or a list or tuple of strings. This should be a shader part registered with renpy.register_shader(), or this function. If a shader part begins with '-', then it is removed from the list of shader parts. (For example, '-textshader.typewriter' will remove that part.)

Note that the shader parts registered with this function are prefixed with textshader., which needs to be supplied when used with this function.


Extra time to add to the slow time effect beyond what Ren'Py will compute from the current characters per second. This is useful for shaders that might take more time to transition a character than the default time. If True, the shader is always updated.


Added to extra_slow_time, but this is multiplied by the time per character to get the extra time to add to the slow time effect. (Time per character is 1 / characters per second.)


The amount in time in seconds before the text is redrawn, after all slow text has been show and extra_slow_time has passed.


The amount of time in seconds before the text is redrawn when showing slow text.


If True, when this textshader is used directly, it will be combined with config.default_textshader.


A function that is called with an object and the uniforms being passed to the text shader as keyworkd arguments. This function can set the extra_slow_time, extra_slow_duration, redraw, and redraw_when_slow fields of the object


A string containing documetation information. This is mostly intended for Ren'Py's documentation system.

Keyword argument beginning with u_ are passed as uniforms to the shader, with strings beginning with # being interpreted as colors. Most uniforms should begin with u__, using shader local variables to prevent conflicts with other shaders.

A keyword argument named variables and all keyword arguments that begin with fragment_ or vertex_ are passed to renpy.register_shader(), which registers the shader part.

Variables in Text Shaders link

In additions to the uniforms you provided to the text shader (generally beginning with u__), Ren'Py makes the following variables available to text shaders. To use a variable in a text shader, it needs to be declared in the variables argument to renpy.register_text_shader.

In addition to these, the model uniforms and attributes are available, with a_position, a_tex_coord, u_time and u_random being particularly useful.

Uniforms link

float u_text_depth

The depth of the text from the top. The topmost layer of text has a depth of 0.0, the next layer has a depth of 1.0, and so on.

vec2 u_text_offset

The offset of the text from the center of the character. This is in drawable pixels in x, y order.

float u_text_outline

The width of the outline around the text. This is in drawable pixels, and is the distance from the edge of the text to the edge of the outline.

float u_text_main

If this is 1.0, the text is the main text. If this is 0.0, the text is the outline or shadow of the main text.

float u_text_slow_time

The time in seconds since the start of the slow text effect. This will only increase until the end of slow text, when it will max out. If the user clicks to terminate slow text, this will max out. It should only be used for slow text - use

float u_text_slow_duration

The duration of a single slow character, when showing slow text. 0.0 if not showing slow text.

float u_text_to_virtual

The ratio of drawable pixels to virtual pixels. This is used to convert from drawable pixels to virtual pixels.

float u_text_to_drawable

The ratio of virtual pixels to drawable pixels. This is used to convert from virtual pixels to drawable pixels.

sampler2D tex0

This texture contains the rendered text.

vec2 res0

The resolution of the texture, in drawable pixels.

Attributes link

vec2 a_text_center

The position of the center of the center of the vertex's baseline, in drawable pixels. This is not the center of the rectangle, it's a point on the baseline and around the center of the character.

float a_text_index

The index of the glyph being drawn. This is 0 for the first vertex and goes up by one for each vertex.

vec2 a_text_min_time

The minimum time at which any vertex of the glyph should be shown. When showing from left-to-right, this is the time the leftmost vertices should be shown.

vec2 a_text_max_time

The maximum time at which any vertex of the glyph should be shown. When showing from left-to-right, this is the time the rightmost vertices should be shown.

float a_text_time

The time at which this vertex should be shown.

vec4 a_text_pos_rect

The rectangle being drawn, in drawable pixels. This is a vec4 with the x, y, width, and height of the rectangle, in drawable pixels. This can be converted to texture coordinates by dividing it by res0.

Example link

This is an example of a text shader that spins text when shown.

init python:

    def adjust_extra_slow_time(ts, u__delay, **kwargs):
        Adjusts a text shader's extra slow time to support the spinning text shader.
        ts.extra_slow_time = u__delay

        adjust_function = adjust_extra_slow_time,

        variables = """
        uniform float u__delay;
        uniform float u__offset;
        uniform float u_text_slow_time;
        attribute vec2 a_text_center;
        attribute float a_text_min_time;

        vertex_50 = """
        float l__angle = clamp((u_text_slow_time - a_text_min_time) / u__delay, 0.0, 1.0) * 2.0 * 3.1415926536;
        float l__sin = sin(l__angle);
        float l__cos = cos(l__angle);

        gl_Position.y -= u__offset;
        gl_Position.xy -= a_text_center;
        gl_Position = vec4(
            gl_Position.x * l__cos - gl_Position.y * l__sin,
            gl_Position.x * l__sin + gl_Position.y * l__cos,
        gl_Position.xy += a_text_center;
        gl_Position.y += u__offset;

        u__delay = 1.0,
        u__offset = 0,

It can be used witt the following script:

define config.default_textshader = "typewriter"

label start:

    "This is a test of the {shader=spin:0.5:-5}spin{/shader} text shader."