Upcoming Underwater Lighting Improvements

This update sounds spectacular! A couple of questions, though:
Will this change affect how SurfaceLights, PointLights, or SpotLights appear underwater? If so, will it work with Voxel/ShadowMap, FiB3, or both?

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An amazing lighting effect to have is underwater rays and shimmering floors. This is in contrast to this “night update”, where daylight will be used instead. IK that the rays are there right now, but they don’t reach the bottom (for shallow bodies of water) and create brilliant shimmering patterns on the floor:

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This would be amazing for beach related and water park type games, or ones that have outdoor swimming pools.

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Good question! Is the WaterTransparency parameter is not giving you enough range for what you want? As per your other post. I’ll have to raise this internally, since there are multiple people asking about the range of the fog.

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We want to be cautious that we don’t break games with this change and that it is what people want. If there are no major blockers on this it can be live really quickly (as in the next update or two)

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@Sentross is speaking on much more than the time of day impact.

I agree with them, that the terrain feature needs to be expanded upon. It is still using legacy features before smooth terrain was implemented, and is in a pretty different setting compared to where Roblox is trying to go.


Back when Standard Terrain was a thing, water and other objects were simply blocks. They were used in stamper tools, and have a much different feel than today. Documentation can be found here.

In this documentation, the properties of BasePart are applied here. Properties such as:

Before Smooth Terrain, Standard Terrrain could be unanchored, and was unanchored after a certain region of the workspace was reached. The others are self explanatory on them being blocks.

Nowadays, Smooth Terrain aren’t exactly blocks, but their properties still act like them. I agree with @Sentross that terrain needs to be updated far beyond this lighting update.


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These features are legacy. Legacy. A most comparable one is that WaterColor is based on the old legacy lighting, prior compatability, voxel, shadowmap, and future.

As with Roblox’s roaadmap, terrain features will be updated more and more. I’m hoping that stuff can be added, spouting a few random ideas:

  • Custom/select region coloring.
  • Light emitting terrain.
  • Mirrored surfaces.
  • Falling water.
  • Scriptable interaction abilities.
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Thank you for your interest! I love staff responses and I appreciate your attention. The topic linked in my reply has many more examples, but here’s a prominent one:

That’s transparency at max!

WaterTransparency should honestly, at the max, let you see through the water as if it was air, to make underwater scenes look pristine instead of dark and murky all the time.

Attention to FogDistance underwater would be awesome!

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Thanks for the heads-up :heart: This definitely looks better. In my game I was doing some weird fog tinting to try and communicate to underwater players that it was night, but this should help with that.

However, I think this transition looks pretty weird. I think underwater fog shouldn’t just darken like this, maybe there should be a hue shift towards the night skybox or whatever is creating that purple-blue effect, or a second underwater fog color property for when it’s night. This is another reason why I’m tinting the underwater fog in my game at night.

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Also, really really want to see some attention towards the fog distance if you guys are working around this stuff right now.

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No changes have been made to the Depth of Field for this. So the isues that are there will still be there. It does work with it how it used to work with it. This should not affect performance as the exact same code runs, just with slightly different parameters.

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Will properties be added to make changes to lighting, for the most part? How will this be handled and affect water?

We went this route because I am a new employee and this was a good simple task to get started with to get familiar with the code. I agree with you that having more expressivity in general is a good thing to have. But building something like the volumes you are mentioning is a larger amount of work, that requires a lot more careful thought on how to integrate it into the editor (requires work flow, documentation, etc), than a simple tweak to the lighting that we believe will make it look better.

I will take your feedback about volumes, because it is good feedback, and see where it fits in the overall greater plan of improving the quality as a whole. I obviously can’t promise you when we will address it, but rest assured that your feedback is valued and appreciated.

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The color is affected by the ambient term. In order to not have completely black screenshots at night I added some ambient in the screenshots. Which is why it is not near pitch black.

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Will this update give the ability to change the water direction as well?

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Ah, that makes more sense. Thank you for adding this! I mostly just wanted to know the reason for this route. Thanks for valuing my feedback. I appreciate your quick reply. Welcome to the Roblox community. :slight_smile:

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No changes to the direction of the water with this change. I’m not aware of any other change surrounding the direction of the water.

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No, this setting is wholistic. If we enable it it will always be on, without the option to turn it off. The reason for this is that we’re trying to come up with solutions that are easy to use and do not have a lot of individual components that need to be configured.

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It should work as before. The change only changes the color of the ‘fog’ that is used underwater. So it makes the ‘fog’ color darker, but should not affect any other lighting conditions.

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I have both my ambient properties set to 0 and instead use the Diffuse and Specular values. So it should be dark at night then?
… and why base it off of the ambient values in the first place? I thought that they were already being phased out.

I agree that that would look amazing! But this change does not have that in scope. What is currently available looks pretty cool too I think:

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Terrain wise this is awesome. But I beg you to make terrain easier to put in games, the brush sizes are huge even at 1. I would really like to see a fit item size, that way you can fill an object with terrain in one click.

Really cool update, but I’ll have to avoid using terrain water and keep my huge SpecialMesh that spans across the entire map until proper transparency is introduced.

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