Updated Dynamic Lighting

Updated Dynamic Lighting is the new system for Dynamic Lighting and Advanced Fog of War. It features a stronger framework for future feature enhancements, is more performative, and has been updated for more current computing technologies. As this is a feature for Plus and Pro subscribers, if you'd like to try it out for yourself, please consider upgrading your account.



Updated Dynamic Lighting  


What are the system requirements?

Updated Dynamic Lighting uses WebGL, which is available in most computer systems and is supported by all the web browsers that Roll20 supports (Chrome and Firefox). The Legacy Dynamic Lighting has always used WebGL, so the change here is that Explorer Mode (previously Advanced Fog of War) now runs on the same system.

WebGL leverages the power of your computer's graphics processor to make rendering much faster and smoother. 99.9% of Roll20 users already have WebGL enabled on their systems, and you can check whether it works for you simply by clicking this link. Because it's the same system that Legacy Dynamic Lighting always used, if you were able to use that feature before, you will be able to use it now.

If your system does not support WebGL, you will not be able to access the Updated Dynamic Lighting or its features. We want to make sure you're aware of this now, because the old system will be eventually be deprecated and removed from Roll20. We believe this change will be worthwhile not only because it makes the lighting system work for more people, but also because it opens up potential for new lighting features down the road that are even more robust (and frequently requested by our userbase). That said, this change is not happening immediately, and we will make sure that our users have ample time to try the Updated system and prepare for the Legacy system to go away. During the testing phase, we'll accomplish this using a new approach: parallel systems.

Please note that, while many web browsers support WebGL, Chrome and Firefox are the only browsers supported with this release. In addition, Updated Dynamic Lighting has not been tested on Table on Tablet.

Parallel Systems

While we continue development on Updated Dynamic Lighting and support for licensed products, both the Legacy system and the Updated will exist in parallel. However, when you switch from one to another, the revealed areas are not transferred over. So, for example, if you and your crew have been crawling through a dungeon with Advanced Fog of War on, and you decide to switch to the new Dynamic Lighting with Explorer Mode, your players won't see anything they had previously explored. Players can fix that by moving their tokens around to re-reveal the area.

Similarly, if you switch to Explorer Mode and then decide to hop back over to the Legacy system, anything you had revealed in the Updated system will be hidden. If you then switch back to the the new Dynamic Lighting, the revealed areas that you had revealed will still be there.

The Dynamic Lighting layer, where you can add barriers that block light and movement, continues to function for both systems, and you do not need to change anything on that layer.

How do I use it?

Open your game or create a new one. Navigate to a page that has Dynamic Lighting barriers in place, or create a map with Dynamic Lighting barriers, as explained here.

For Explorer Mode: When you are logged in as the GM of a game, moving tokens will reveal the area for that token for the players who are assigned to it. However, the area will not be revealed for the GM even if the GM is explicitly named as assigned to the token, because the GM can always see everything, including what the players reveal. As a result, the token will not "remember' what was revealed for it if you rejoin as a player and have control over that token. If you are a co-GM playing a game, remember to login as a player if your campaign uses Updated Dynamic Lighting to avoid this issue.

Set Up the Page or Map

Open the Page Settings. You'll see there's a new "Dynamic Lighting" tab in the settings.


Click the Dynamic Lighting toggle to turn on the Updated Dynamic Lighting system. If you had the Legacy Dynamic Lighting, Fog of War, or Advanced Fog of War enabled in the Page Details tab, turning on the new Dynamic Lighting will automatically disable those.

Turning on Explorer Mode will allow the players to see a grayscale "history" of where they've previously been. Toggling this off means they will only see what their token can see, based on the token's vision and available lighting.

Turning on Daylight Mode means the whole page has Bright Light. This is the Updated version of what used to be labeled "Global Illumination" and works the same way: all tokens with vision will be able to see. It's perfect for when you want to set up Dynamic Lighting barriers (like the walls of a house) but don't want to create individual light sources (like torches) to reveal bits and pieces of it.

Set Up the Tokens

Now that you have the Dynamic Lighting options enabled, set up your tokens. Double-click the token or right-click it and select Edit from the context menu. The Token Settings dialog box will pop up. There's a tab for Updated Dynamic Lighting.


If you want this token to be able to see, turn on Vision. When a token has Vision, it can see all the way to the edge of the lit area, unless blocked by a Dynamic Lighting barrier. So, if your whole map is lit, any character with vision can see all the way to the edge of the map.

But what if your map isn't lit? Turn on Night Vision and your token can see in darkness, up to however many feet you specify.

Set the token's light settings for Bright Light and Low Light. Note that, unlike the light settings for Legacy Dynamic Lighting, where the low light starts somewhere in the main light settings, the two values here are added together. So a token with 5 of Bright Light and 10 of Low Light would have 5 and 10 put into those fields, respectively, and the total light displayed would be 15.

Bright Light on its own has a feathered "edge" starting at 1/2 of a grid cell before the edge of the Bright Light. Low Light gradually fades out starting at its origin (the center of the token). When you have Bright Light and Low Light on, the Low Light starts fading where the Bright Light would (1/2 of a grid cell width before the edge of the Bright Light).


Make sure that you also set the token's "Controlled By" field (under the "Basic" tab) if you want your players to be able to move this token and see what it sees.

Negative numbers in the vision distances results in either the token's square being illuminated only, or no illumination at all.

Note: The Updated Dynamic Lighting does not use the Legacy light and sight settings (the "Advanced" tab in Token Settings). For now, you will need to change settings on all your tokens. You can have both set at the same time; you do not need to remove your token's Sight from the Advanced tab in order to give it Vision in the Updated Dynamic Lighting tab.

Is There a Guide to Common Settings?

There is a guide to some common settings available in the Help Center!

Selecting your Default Settings

Adding Updated Dynamic Lighting to your game should be easy and simple, that's why we have provided the option to select and apply default settings for Updated Dynamic Lighting to both your Tokens and Pages! 

To get started, navigate to your Game Details Page, find the dropdown titled Settings, and click on the Game Settings link. From there, you will be greeted with all the various settings that are available in your game. For more information regarding this page, check out this guide on Game Management. Otherwise, go ahead and navigate down to the collapsible-section titled Game Default Settings and click on it. 


From there, you will see all the default settings which are available for you to change. To change default settings for Updated Dynamic Lighting, click on the Dynamic Lighting tab at the top of the section. The settings for this section are grouped into two categories; Page settings (left-hand side) and Token settings (right-hand side). Go ahead and select whichever options you want applied in your game from both sections respectively. Keep in mind that in Updated Dynamic Lighting, these settings work in-tandem, so you should have options selected for both Page settings and Token settings. Whenever you are ready to save your changes, click the Save Defaults button at the bottom of the section.


NOTE: The default settings you selected are only applied to new Tokens or Pages you create in your game. To have these settings be applied to all existing Tokens and Pages, see the Applying Default Settings section below.

Applying Default Settings to Existing Content In-Game


The Default Settings In-Game Applier

Default Page Settings for Updated Dynamic Lighting, along with any other default settings that you changed, can be applied to existing content within a game. With the game launched on your browser, go to the Sidebar and click on the cogwheel icon to bring up the My Settings tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the tab until you find the Apply Default Settings button underneath the Experimental Features section. Clicking on this opens up a dialog box that's sectioned off by Page, Token, and Sheet settings. For each default setting you have changed, a checkbox will appear under its relevant category. Check each option you want to apply across the entirety of the game. When you're ready, click on the Apply Settings button. A confirmation alert will appear telling you how many Pages, Tokens, or Character Sheets will be altered. Click OK through the alert to begin the settings conversion. A process bar will appear at the top of the Apply Default Settings dialog box as Roll20 begins converting your existing Tokens, Pages, and Character Sheets to the desired changes. Depending on how many items are in your game, a settings conversion may take anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes to complete. You can cancel out of the application process at any time by hitting the ESC key.

NOTE: Applying Settings will literally alter ALL Characters, Pages, and Tokens you have in your game. Related attributes of these items will be overwritten with the settings you have checked off in this applier. This process can't be undone!

Was this article helpful?
74 out of 84 found this helpful