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Open World Tree Shadow Scheme


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May 24, 2022
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The Unity engine’s handling of tree shadows on Terrain is slightly simpler, which often fails to meet project requirements. When dynamic objects sample Light Probes, Lightmaps are not baked for the tree by default. But we know that even the light probe proxy volume of such large dynamic objects (not supported, it is also stuck if it is changed) is only richer in indirect light and large-scale occlusion, and cannot effectively express the self-shadowing effect. Once out of the real-time shadow distance, the picture is a lot worse. And the “Life and Death Sniper 2” in hand is a large-scale project with an investment of 400 million R&D. As the person in charge of graphics rendering technology, I need to list and compare several technical solutions.

The specific requirement is to use Shadowmap within 50 meters, and there must be parallel light shadows within 50-1500 meters, and the parallel light is static.

Here are 7 options that I’ve tried or learned about that meet this need.

  1. Bakes instance-reusable non-directional indirect light shadows
  2. Baking instance reuse + rotatable directional light shadows
  3. Low precision precomputed static Shadowmap shadows
  4. Sparse octree voxelized static shadows
  5. Screen space contact real-time shadows
  6. Real-time shadows based on low-precision heightmaps
  7. Distance Field Accelerated Ray Marching Shadows

More details about the 7 options to implement tree shadows: https://blog.en.uwa4d.com/2022/05/26/open-world-tree-shadow-scheme-collection/

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