Dynamic lighting is a rendering feature in Roblox that provides shadow effects, ambient lighting, and customizable light sources which can be added to places where it is enabled. Dynamic lighting can be activated by activating the "GlobalShadows" property of the Lighting service inside a place. Since it is a scripting accessible property, it can be enabled or disabled whenever the user wants. Unlike in most games, Roblox's dynamic shadow and lighting engine utilize the CPU of the player's computer, rather than the GPU. It does this by creating lighting as part of a voxel system. When a new place is created, it is automatically enabled and set to Technology.Voxel.
Dynamic lighting was first mentioned in a blog post onJanuary 20, 2012. It was released into the Test1 game environment on April 19, 2013, for player testing, and was finally officially released into the main platform on May 9, 2013. A video showcasing dynamic lighting was released by Shedletsky prior to the launch of the new system. This video was later used by Roblox on the announcement blog post.
On September 30, dynamic brick shadows were implemented.
On May 29, 2014, dynamic character shadows were released. This uses a shadowmap technique.
On December 3, 2018, improvements were made to the lighting system as part of the Future is Bright update.
On May 8th, 2019, a new lighting system was released to the public known as Technology.ShadowMap, building upon Technology.Voxel by implementing shadowmapped sun shadows.
Technology.Voxel/Future is Bright Phase 1
On December 3rd, 2018, Roblox introduced enhancements to the current voxel lighting system as part of the Future is Bright update. This new update introduced anisotropic occupancy, which allows light to be blocked by very thin walls, HDR lighting and a new tone mapper that can handle extremely bright lights better than before, and a reworked post-processing chain. Low-quality bloom has also been implemented, resorting to a very low-resolution bloom effect on lower quality levels. Developers can choose between these enhancements and the legacy system through Technology, under Lighting. You can also configure ExposureCompensation, or how much light is able to enter the camera.
Technology.ShadowMap/Future is Bright Phase 2 (Sun Shadows) and Technology.Compatibility
On March 27, 2019, Technology.Compatibility was released, which simulates Technology.Legacy (the original 4^3 voxel system) with little changes in engine code and no changes in shaders. Although it does not perfectly simulate Legacy, it comes close to it. This is meant as a replacement for Legacy, whose removal date has been postponed.
On April 18, 2019, Roblox introduced a Studio-exclusive update that allows for shadowmaps to be cast from the sun. This update also introduced the ShadowSoftness setting (exclusive to ShadowMap), where the shadows' opaqueness can be adjusted. Parts also received a new property called CastShadow, which toggles shadows for an object on or off (available on all lighting modes). The distance at which these shadows appear also depend on quality level, however for quality levels 1 & 2 Roblox will fall back to the 4^3 voxel lighting instead. As of May 8, 2019, ShadowMap has been released to the Roblox Player, and any games published with Technology.ShadowMap will receive the new sun shadows.
During the introduction of Dynamic Lighting, an event was made. During this event, the Games page had games with Dynamic Lighting featured on the sides of the page. One of the games featured was Bloxburg with LIGHTING. This event was poorly documented and was available on the Internet Archive for a limited amount of time for unknown reasons.
- Some developers hate Dynamic Lighting due to the fact that they have to add Light objects to every part.