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Is there a way to render strings as a light function?

I really want to be able to randomly select from a set of predefined text strings at runtime, and then project a material including that text as a light function.

Is there any way to do this, preferably through Blueprints? If not I can just bake each one into a big texture and select the text based on UV coordinates, but being able to type whatever I want right into a parameterized field seems so much more elegant.

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asked May 02 '14 at 09:53 PM in Rendering

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There is a Render to Texture feature that can be used to create textures from strings. Unfortunately, it's only available via c++ at the moment.

If the strings are predefined and you are not familiar with c++ I might recommend going with the uv approach.

A material function called debugScalarValues does something similar. It can be found in the material functions folder here: MaterialFunction'/Engine/Functions/Engine_MaterialFunctions02/Utility/DebugScalarValues.DebugScalarValues'. It manipulates the meshes uvs to display the correct n digit number with only a few texture samples.

If you're going to make something a bit more straight forward and only have a few strings to display than the "debug scalar value" approach may be overkill. In that case you could create a much simpler version of the same shader to pick from a series of strings that were stored in a texture.

Here is some info regarding the c++ tools I was mentioning earlier:

UE4: Canvas Render Targets - There is a new C++ class called CanvasRenderTarget2D.
- You can use it to create render targets that are updated every frame by some C++ code that draws to it using the Canvas interface.
- You can then apply the render target texture to 3D models in your scene.
- This gives you a way achieve in “in-world” UI without using TextRenderComponents.
- However, it does not work with Blueprints yet.

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answered May 07 '14 at 05:08 PM

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