Getting Started Guide (Version 1.10)

Placing Environment Probes

Before you add lights, it's helpful to learn about environment probes and time of day settings, which affect lighting and appearance in your level. Environment probes are critical to achieving great-looking lighting. For example, you may have noticed that the shadows cast by objects are very dark. Adding an environment probe helps to produce more realistic ambient shadow intensity and reflections.

Environment probes are important for a variety of features including reflections, ambient diffuse values, particle diffuse values, and shadow colors. When you build a level file, place multiple environment probes to achieve the right visual quality for the space. After you place an environment probe, you will use the Generate Cubemap function. Generate Cubemap creates three textures in textures\cubemaps\your_level—one for the diffuse map, one for the specular map, and one for the source .dds file. A cubemap is a set of six squares that represent reflections from the environment. The six squares form the faces of an imaginary cube that surrounds an object. This step adds realism to your level by incorporating object reflections.

This tutorial helps you set up an environment probe.

To add an environment probe

  1. Right-click in the Entity Outliner, and then choose Create entity.

  2. In the Entity Inspector, click in the Name box and type LightProbe.

  3. Click Add Component. In the Rendering section, click Environment Probe.

  4. The environment probe appears as a square volume entity.


    If you cannot see the environment probe as a square volume entity, click the ? icon in the upper right corner of your viewport to display objects.

    To quickly focus on a selected object, press Z.

  5. Position the probe approximately in the center of the area that you want it to encompass. The following image shows an environment probe in the center of a large room.

    You can adjust your environment probe by modifying the following settings:

    1. Color – The ambient color of the probe. Adjust the color based upon the ambient lighting that you want to achieve. Starter Game, for example, uses a white probe.

    2. Area Dimensions – The dimensions of the probe. Adjust the dimensions so that the probe boundaries surround the entire volume that you want the ambient light to flood.

    3. Cubemap – The cubemap for the probe, as described in the introduction to this section.

  6. With the probe still selected, zoom out from the level so that you can see the entire area that you want to light. Adjust the position and dimensions of the probe to cover the volume of interest.

    In the following picture, which is taken from Starter Game, the environment probe entity's boundaries encapsulate the interior of the building. You can see the boundary lines of the box, however, only from the exterior of the building.

  7. To generate the cubemap, click Generate.

  8. Save your level file.