Upcoming Underwater Lighting Improvements

We have changed the underwater lighting to match the lighting conditions above the water. Previously, the underwater color (as specified in Studio under the option Workspace → Terrain → WaterColor) would always be used regardless of if it was daytime or nighttime. This resulted in the water being overly bright at night.

To improve realism and cohesion of the world, we have added a function which will automatically match the lighting conditions with the time of day. You can still select the water color, but the intensity will now be automatically adjusted based on what time it is in-game (Workspace → Lighting → TimeOfDay)

Here’s an example (using the Pirate template) of the lighting changing from day time to night time:

It is important to note that if you already have an underwater scene at night, the environment might become a lot darker than before, possibly affecting gameplay. The ambient factor is used under water to limit this effect so, similarly to normal lighting conditions (above water), setting a higher ambient value makes the scene brighter overall and easier to see.

We have tested this with some games and did not notice any objectionable effects related to game play, mostly because they already used a relatively high ambient lighting value for night time scenes.

In addition to improving the realism of the world, this feature could also be used to add an extra eerie element to your game where the water is darker at night and visibility is more limited. If you equip a diver with a point light you can get an effect that looks something like this:

However, we would like to get your feedback to make sure we do not break your gameplay once this is rolled out. Please let us know if you foresee any major issues with this feature change.


This topic was automatically opened after 13 minutes.

It’s great that you’re making water darker at night and making underwater scenes creepier, however, what about making water clearer?

It’s a significant issue, to make water visibility higher instead of lower. Don’t get me wrong, this is great for claustrophobic situations, but not when you want transparent water. Would love attention to FogDistance, too.

For anyone who wants to see the difference with this new update:

Beautiful, nonetheless. Love the attention terrain is getting as someone who works with the medium often. :ocean:


I don’t understand the purpose of this. Terrain is currently one of the most limiting features of Roblox. It is extremely difficult to properly customize terrain, even basic features like color. Post processing is also a very obvious limited feature on Roblox. I don’t understand the purpose of continuously introducing updates that are counter productive to an inferred end goal.

As a Roblox developer, I would assume that you would want to introduce something more helpful like post processing volumes so that we can use this in underwater environments. I appreciate the effort, but in a competitive developer space both inside Roblox and out, I feel we need more features that more versatile.

Terrain is that part of Roblox, where it looks the same in every games. It doesn’t allow for many creative options, and I feel like updates like these are pushing the issue. Why should Roblox add another feature like this that handles all of the colors and lighting for us? It’d be more practical if we had features like volumes that would give us the ability to work with them as we want, while also allowing us to work with it in code.

Also, while it is off topic, I’d imagine the goal should be too release updates that solve multiple problems with one update. Using volumes would give developers more control over their game aesthetic both out of the water and under it. It could also be a path way to introduce under water effects like better fog and lighting dimming at further distances.

I am curious why Roblox went for this route. Thank you though for adding this update.


Thank you, this is great, realistic lighting is my passion.

Quick question, how does this work with Depth of Field? It’s known that Depth of Field is buggy, does this work at all with it? Also, does this affect performance while underwater?

Again, thanks for this update! :tada:


Well this is great. I’ve been wanting this update for a long time now. I really did not like the water color setting because you would manually have to change it to make it fit with day/night and different weather. One step closer to making roblox more realistic! :tada:


Now this is how a good announcement topic should be

We already knew this since this was showed on the Release Notes, but this is pretty good feature to terrain artists and builders.

Will there be any serttings for this besides normal lighting? Like a “underwater” and "underground lightning setting?


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It’s nice to see how Roblox is improving the realism! This is definately a great update, as it really improves the ambience at night. This is great for games
that are based underwater and have a daylight cycle because it looks much more realistic now!

When do you plan to make this live?


I’m hoping the water can have a certain property that filters out the light above it. Possibly something like color correction that’s used in the lighting service, except for water.

I don’t think it looks too great with the skybox lighting. We don’t have the ability to change the skybox coloring yet, like in Voxel, if it was 5:30 AM, part of the sky would be pink.

So night time would now make part of the water look pink… and we don’t have the choice to change that either.


This. Is. Amazing.
To be honest, I just realized that I always wanted an update like this and never really think about it coming. The next update for the water I probably want the most will be fading colors on water deepth and maybe light absorbition on water.
Enjoying a beautiful update once again.


Finally, I always wanted this but is there any option to configure it? What if I want to keep my water settings different for different clients while keeping the same day time?


What’s the voice-over from, seems pretty dark ngl.


This great to see, however I would like to see some settings that would affect how lighting would look underwater. Are there plans for this in the near future?


can these new settings be changed in a live game through scripting?


Maybe this isn’t some ultimate terrain update that knocks your socks off, but it’s an important update to people that use terrain. Water color should be impacted by the time of day. I fail to see how this update is without purpose.


I agree that this is a helpful update, but post processing volumes would be more helpful. I don’t understand why Roblox puts effort into an update now and releases it quickly, rather then working on a more important update which can help us in more then one situation. If Roblox releases this very in the future, this effort would be worthless to many developers.


This is amazing! I never thought about lighting underwater until now, I can see a huge difference between this and the old underwater lighting. Are you planning on dropping this with Future?


And yet the underwater is STILL too bright. Why is there a blue fog if there should theoretically be no light because it’s night time? If it’s midnight, the water should be near pitch black.


Maybe I’m too optimistic, but if one thing changes that usually means additional changes are more within reach. You and some others want more control, so I think that’ll come. I think it starts with baby steps, like this update. I’m not against more control by any means.