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Customize MME Effects by Editing .fx Files

A feature article by KillerBeer ... a New Author on LearnMMD.com!How do I customize MME effects? Can I edit an MME effect’s .fx file? How can I control the parameters of an effect from the Accessory Manipulation Panel settings? How can I fine-tune the settings of a an effect?

Customize MME Effects by Editing .fx Files!

One of the laws of the nature states that there’s no end to discoveries once you start exploring. Apparently, there are more new tricks that this old dog TV can be taught.

In my previous MME tutorial, I introduced the idea of editing .fx files as a way to get more from the OldTV Effect. Modifying parameters directly in the script, though, seems to be a crude and ineffective way to achieve it. You have to edit the .fx each time you want different settings, and as you do, you either lose your older settings by re-editing or you have to keep every version of the basically same effect, cluttering your folder with multiple copies of it. Isn’t there a more elegant and universal method to customize MME effects?

If you try to tune the effect with Accessory Manipulation Panel‘s controls like “Tr”, “Rx” or others, nothing actually happens. Transparency does not change, angle of lines does not turn, no other signs of being aware of controls (at least, other than “display”). It seems that unlike with accessories, those settings aren’t hard-coded into the MMD engine when dealing with effects. On the other hand, among other MME effects, there are those (like Beamman’s Bomb Effect, for example) that are actually *controlled* by the AMP settings… and it doesn’t seem that what the Tr “Transparency” control governs is actually transparency!

How do they do that?

Let’s take a look at ParticleEX_Bomb‘s script: PE_Bom.fx. The very first line of it says… (drum-roll)

float AnmTime : CONTROLOBJECT < string name = “(self)”; string item = “Tr”; >;

This actually *is* the code that gets us the control’s value. The “Tr” you see in the object’s parameter corresponds with the “Tr” setting in the AMP… so that statement says that “Tr” in the AMP will now control the custom variable “AnmTime”. More than that, *every* numeric field in that panel can be accessed this way. It allows MME writers a new degree of flexibility. We do not need to edit the .fx file every time we want to make an adjustment… we set The OldTV MME Effect represents a Really Olde TV! Learn how to reconfigure the OldTV MME Effect.a control variable into the .fx file once and then make adjustments, on the fly, by changing the value of Tr in the AMP!

Now we see how to customize MME effects. Armed with this new knowledge, we can turn our OldTV into a fully configurable effect.

Let’s try to change the fragment we edited earlier in the OldTV.fx file.

FIRST: COPY the original .fx file and give it a new name: OldTV_Orig.fx (or similar) and keep it so that you can always revert to your original settings. Then, get to work on your custom FX file… right-click, “Open with…”, choose “Notepad” (or whatever your poison is, as long as it’s not rich-formatting. (If you plan to make .fx-changing business a regular habit, you also may want to setup the text editor in “Choose default program…” option for .fx files permanently). Now, let’s go Frankenstein on this one!

//at the beginning:
float RudderTr : CONTROLOBJECT < string name = “(self)”; string item = “Tr”; >;
float RudderSi : CONTROLOBJECT < string name = “(self)”; string item = “Si”; >;
float RudderX : CONTROLOBJECT < string name = “(self)”; string item = “X”; >;

// … and finally distort
img.x += distortionScale * noisy * dst * RudderSi; //instead of a constant
float4 image = tex2D(Image, img);

// Combine frame, distorted image and interference
image.rgb += interference * rand * RudderTr; //can you guess how it works?

{ //instead of erasing the line, let’s make it flexible
image.rgb *= frame;

EDITOR’S NOTE: The WordPress engine used by LearnMMD site edits the posted text as it finds necessary; I can not control it. In particular, it changes straight ASCII double quotes into Unicode curved ones that MME script interpreter does not recognize. If you want to copypaste the fragment above into your own script, make sure to fix them back.

Now what we previously did by editing the script’s text can be done directly in MMD. By entering a value into the “Si” field of the AMP panel we can change the level of distortion (although for some reason it is multiplied tenfold compared to the original, it *is* adjustable, just use decimals), by setting X to a non-zero value – turn off the frame, and there’s also a new setting we didn’t do before: “Tr” now can set an effect’s visibility gradually rather than turn it on/off like “Display” does. Now we not only won’t have to re-edit the script each time we want the effect to look differently – but we can change it on the fly, involving those transformations in the video as a part of the effect itself.

Our OldTV gets even smarter!

Can we teach it to make coffee too, while we’re at it?

In the next episode: With a Smile! Learn to create unlimited amount of effect-adjusting sliders using facial expressions of a .pmd model!


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  1. Haunt Haunt
    July 19, 2016    

    I get an error message

    C:\Users\???\Downloads\MikuMikuDanceE_v739dot\UserFile\Accessory\Effects\OldTV\OldTv – Copy\OldTV.fx(186,4):error X3004: undeclared identifier ‘image’

    I do not know what that means, I have checked the code over and over again, I changed the double quotes to simple and have made sure to do everything as correct as possible…

    I would greatly appreciate your help, and I would like to apologise for my poor English in advance as it is not my first language, so if you do not understand what I’m trying to say, please tell me and I will try to clear it up.

    • Reggie_Dentmore Reggie_Dentmore
      July 19, 2016    

      I have no answer, yet… but a quick Google search led me to a similar error and its solution. … so, there is hope… just need to see why “image” is undefined. … ?

    • July 19, 2016    

      Look at the line, “float4 image = tex2D(Image, img);” This is the declaration of “image,” and it’s also the most likely place where your error is popping up.

      The most likely cause of this is making a mistake regarding capitalization. For instance, if you had instead typed, “float4 image = tex2D(image, img);” it would give you that error. Notice that the only difference here is that I’m trying to define image in terms of “image”– itself!– rather than “Image”. Or doing it in reverse! “float4 Image = tex2D(Image, img);” will leave “image” undefined.

      Line numbers are an essential start to debugging. I’d recommend using Notepad++ at https://notepad-plus-plus.org/ , because it shows you those line numbers in your code. In this case, the “186” in your error code is saying that it’s halting on line 186. What does line 186 say? Does it occur before or after the line quoted above that defines “image”?

    • July 19, 2016    

      Would you copypaste the fragment of your script around 180-190 lines with line 186 marked specifically? The advice above is quite reasonable, but it’s better not to assume what the code would be all else unchanged rather than look at what it actually is.

  2. Sara Sara
    May 28, 2016    

    I’m having some trouble. I’ve tried adding in the code to be able to change the effect in MMD remotely, but it only brings up an error screen when I load the effect. Is there something that I missed?

    • May 28, 2016    

      Apparently, there’s some syntax error in the code that you made while editing. Read the message, it must contain the number of line (and probably even column) that you should inspect.

      • Sara Sara
        May 29, 2016    

        I tried but I can’t make heads or tails of it

        OldTV.fx(24,48): error X3000: syntax error: unexpected toxen “”

        • May 29, 2016    

          24 is the line number, 48 is the column. Without seeing your modified code I can’t say what ever is wrong there.

          • Sara Sara
            May 29, 2016    

            Here it is

            // Effect File exported by RenderMonkey 1.6
            // – Although many improvements were made to RenderMonkey FX
            // file export, there are still situations that may cause
            // compilation problems once the file is exported, such as
            // occasional naming conflicts for methods, since FX format
            // does not support any notions of name spaces. You need to
            // try to create workspaces in such a way as to minimize
            // potential naming conflicts on export.
            // – Note that to minimize resulting name collisions in the FX
            // file, RenderMonkey will mangle names for passes, shaders
            // and function names as necessary to reduce name conflicts.

            // Simulation Effects
            // OldTV

            float RudderTr : CONTROLOBJECT ;
            float RudderSi : CONTROLOBJECT ;
            float RudderX : CONTROLOBJECT ;

            float Script : STANDARDSGLOBAL = 0.8;

            texture Image_Tex : RenderColorTarget
            texture DepthBuffer : RenderDepthStencilTarget ;
            float4 ClearColor = {0,0,0,0};
            float ClearDepth = 1.0;

            struct VS_OUTPUT {
            float4 Pos: POSITION;
            float2 pos: TEXCOORD0;
            float2 img: TEXCOORD1;

            VS_OUTPUT OldTV_TV_Vertex_Shader_main(float4 Pos: POSITION){
            VS_OUTPUT Out;

            // Clean up inaccuracies
            Pos.xy = sign(Pos.xy);

            Out.Pos = float4(Pos.xy, 0, 1);
            Out.pos = Pos.xy;
            Out.img.x = 0.5 * (1 + Pos.x);
            Out.img.y = 0.5 * (1 – Pos.y);

            return Out;

            float distortionFreq
            = float( 5.70 );
            float distortionScale
            = float( 3.00 );
            float distortionRoll
            = float( 0.40 );
            float interference
            = float( 0.49 );
            float frameLimit
            = float( 0.38 );
            float frameShape
            = float( 0.34 );
            float frameSharpness
            = float( 8.40 );
            float time_0_X : TIME;
            static float sin_time_0_X = sin(time_0_X);
            sampler Image = sampler_state
            Texture = (Image_Tex);
            ADDRESSU = CLAMP;
            ADDRESSV = CLAMP;
            MAGFILTER = LINEAR;
            MINFILTER = LINEAR;
            MIPFILTER = NONE;
            texture3D Noise_Tex
            sampler Noise = sampler_state
            Texture = (Noise_Tex);
            ADDRESSU = WRAP;
            ADDRESSV = WRAP;
            ADDRESSW = WRAP;
            MAGFILTER = LINEAR;
            MINFILTER = LINEAR;
            MIPFILTER = LINEAR;
            texture3D Rand_Tex
            sampler Rand = sampler_state
            Texture = (Rand_Tex);
            ADDRESSU = WRAP;
            ADDRESSV = WRAP;
            ADDRESSW = WRAP;
            MAGFILTER = LINEAR;
            MINFILTER = LINEAR;
            MIPFILTER = NONE;
            float4 OldTV_TV_Pixel_Shader_main(float2 pos: TEXCOORD0, float2 img: TEXCOORD1) : COLOR {
            // Define a frame shape
            float f = (1 – pos.x * pos.x) * (1 – pos.y * pos.y);
            float frame = saturate(frameSharpness * (pow(f, frameShape) – frameLimit));

            // Interference … just a texture filled with rand()
            float rand = tex3D(Rand, float3(1.5 * pos, time_0_X)).r – 0.2;

            // Some signed noise for the distortion effect
            float noisy = tex3D(Noise, float3(0, 0.5 * pos.y, 0.1 * time_0_X)).r – 0.5;

            // Repeat a 1 – x^2 (0 < x < 1) curve and roll it with sinus.
            float dst = frac(pos.y * distortionFreq + distortionRoll * sin_time_0_X);
            dst *= (1 – dst);
            // Make sure distortion is highest in the center of the image
            dst /= 1 + distortionScale * abs(pos.y);

            // … and finally distort
            img.x += distortionScale * noisy * dst * RudderSi;

            // Combine frame, distorted image and interference
            image.rgb += interference * rand * RudderTr;

            image.rgb *= frame;
            image.a = 1;
            return image;

            // Technique Section for Simulation Effects
            technique OldTV {
            pass TV
            CULLMODE = NONE;
            AlphaBlendEnable = FALSE;

            VertexShader = compile vs_1_1 OldTV_TV_Vertex_Shader_main();
            PixelShader = compile ps_2_0 OldTV_TV_Pixel_Shader_main();


            • May 29, 2016    

              Apparently, you edited the script in MS Word or some other rich text editor instead of Notepad or something equally simple. All minus signs in it were replaced with hyphens that MME interpreter doesn’t understand. Also several vartiable names were automatically turned into Uppercase, effectively making them *other* variables. Repeat the whole editing thing with an editor that doesn’t presume itself to be smarter than you.

              • Sara Sara
                May 29, 2016    

                Actually, I did use Notepad. Here’s a link to the edited fx http://www.mediafire.com/download/l0at3x9a01bbxq9/OldTV.fx

                • May 29, 2016    

                  I see. Sorry about that. It’s rather WordPress engine played a trick, replacing those minuses in your comment, and making me to accuse you unjustly… and the same engine tricked you previously, when you were copypasting fragments from the page into your script. In lines 24-26 all regular ASCII quotes were replaced by fancy Unicode curved ones. Change them back, and the script will work.

                  • Sara Sara
                    May 30, 2016    

                    Just did and it works great! Thank you

  3. LearningMMD LearningMMD
    January 2, 2016    

    How can I edit a “falling effect”?
    I’m trying to make ’em float and stop rotating.

    • KillerBeer KillerBeer
      January 2, 2016    

      I assume you refer to a “falling hearts” effect described here: https://learnmmd.com/http:/learnmmd.com/playing-with-mme-using-the-basic-effects-for-mmd-7-39/ (I vaguely remember there might be other “falling something” effects, but most probably they’re controlled the same way). To fix it, open the Falling hearts.fx in your Notepad and find two fragments of text:

      float Speed
      string UIName = “Speed”;
      string UIWidget = “Slider”;
      float UIMin = 0.0;
      float UIMax = 40.0;
      > = 10;


      float RotationSpeed
      string UIName = “RotationSpeed”;
      string UIWidget = “Slider”;
      float UIMin = 0.0;
      float UIMax = 20.0;
      > = 3;

      Replace “10” for Speed to 1 and “3” for RotationSpeed to 0 and save the effect. You can try other values until you find what suits you best.

      Or you can heed this article to effectively control whatever parameter you need: https://learnmmd.com/http:/learnmmd.com/take-full-control-mme-effects-editing-fx-files/ . The technique used there for Beamman’s Burner fits this one perfectly as well.

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