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2D lighting asset comparison

Discussion in '2D' started by Silverlode, Aug 10, 2017.

?

I have used and been very happy with the following asset(s):

  1. 2DDL Pro : 2D Dynamic Lights and Shadows

    2 vote(s)
    11.1%
  2. Zippy Lights 2D

    1 vote(s)
    5.6%
  3. Light2D

    1 vote(s)
    5.6%
  4. SF Soft Shadow 2D

    4 vote(s)
    22.2%
  5. Light2D - GPU Lighting System

    1 vote(s)
    5.6%
  6. 2D Light System

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Something else - leave a comment in thread.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. I haven't found any 2D light asset I'm happy with

    10 vote(s)
    55.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Silverlode

    Silverlode

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Posts:
    40
    Until Unity directly supports 2D lighting I'm reviewing the asset store options. (Using Unity's 3D lights is often viable but doesn't suit my purposes)

    My primary needs are performance (running on mobile as efficiently as possible (including garbage collection considerations)) and general asset quality (reliable, flexible, intuitive, updated). It must cast shadows.

    2DDL Pro: 2D Dynamic Lights & Shadows. $29. 4-star average from 160 reviews. I own this asset - it's just ok. It has many edge cases where the system wholly or partially fails that despite the fact it meets my project's present needs and setup I'm motivated to look elsewhere. This general feeling is reflected in its reviews. If you're considering using this, try the free version first.

    Other assets on the store that seem to do a similar job I have not tried? Can anyone comment on the quality and performance on these assets? Especially if they have owned more than, and can give a direct comparison?

    Zippy Lights 2D. $5 (usually $10) 5-star average from 13 reviews. Claims Optimized for Mobile.. A couple review state this is easiser/better than 'other' assess. Suspect 'other' may be 2DDL. Anyone have experience with this asset?

    Light 2D. $30. 5-star average from 6 reviews. One review claims "60fps on iPad Air2", but that's pretty high-end mobile, and unsure how stressful the scenario was. Anyone have experience with this asset?

    SF Soft Shadow 2D. $35. 5-star average from 34 reviews. Claims: very mobile friendly. Anyone have experience with this asset?

    Light2D. FREE. 4-star average from 41 reviews. Claims: Optimized for mobiles. Anyone have experience with this asset?

    2D Light System. Whopping $95. 2-star average but only from 4 reviews. The 1-star review hurting the average doesn't complain about poor functionality or performance, but lack of developer support and flexibility on some specific 2D issues (fair points). Also of concern is last updated in 2014- that alone probably makes this too risky.
     
  2. Silverlode

    Silverlode

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Posts:
    40
    An update after a bit more research
    • SF Soft Shadow 2D. Actively maintained. Uses GPU, and likely very efficient on mobile. No good for sending messages to objects about being lit, as all data is on the GPU, but naturally your own raycasting code can probably do that fairly easily (if you just want a simple test with yes/no result).
    • Light2D. Free as it is no longer maintained.
    • 2D Light System. No longer maintained. Looks like its GPU-based. (Also: why so expensive!)
    • 2DDL Pro: 2D Dynamic Lights & Shadows. Maintained, but too many edge cases / not-so-great reviews.
    • Zippy Lights 2D. Looks like a good option. Maintained. Cheap. CPU-based.
    • Light 2D. CPU-based, but not sure if its maintained. Last update (at time of writing) Sept 2016, and there is no support thread referenced in the store description.

    I will probably try a few of these when time/money allows: my summary would be:

    Zippy Lights 2D looks like the safest bet for a CPU based option - although Light 2D may be fine, just not sure if its still active. Zippy Lights is so inexpensive, its worth a shot.
    SF Soft Shadow 2D has the nicest visuals and is actively maintained. The best GPU based option but a tad expensive.

    If anyone has opinions to share, please do!
     
  3. Silverlode

    Silverlode

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Posts:
    40
    Update: I have since bought Zippy Lights 2D.

    It is faster, simpler and more reliable than 2DDL in my experience and use case. Its performance can be scaled, its Inspector interface neater, its code cleaner (just one file, but my goodness a lot of thought and efficiency has gone into designing it - I could never have produced something as elegant) and it really was 'drop in' and it works. Even when Zippy Lights 2D isn't on sale, its a 1/3 of the price of 2DDL.

    The documentation is ok. (Which is enough).

    My recommendations are
    • Zippy Lights 2D
    • 2DDL Free (if you must have something free)
    • SF Soft Shadow 2D. (if you must have something using the GPU, or you must have soft shadow, and you don't need illumination data for your game simulation (or can gain that some other way (you're own raycast system etc))
     
  4. StarShipMan

    StarShipMan

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Posts:
    88
    Hi Silverlode,

    Thank you for the detailed analysis, I am also on the look out for a 2d lighting solution. I just have a question, I would like to get the below 2d lighting effect. I initially decided to go for 2DDL Pro however now I feel that Zippy Lights 2D would work better after I read your analysis above.

    Would it be possible to get a similar effect to the below screen shot using Zippy Lights 2D?

    Thanks.

     
  5. Silverlode

    Silverlode

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Posts:
    40
    The image is too small to clearly see what his happening there. If there are shadows with soft edges (looks like there maybe, but perhaps its just image compression), then Zippy Lights 2D can't do that, I think. (At least not out of the box; if you're not on mobile, you maybe able to afford to apply a blur effect somewhere to help, but you'd have to do that part yourself)

    Will the forums let you upload a high-res image?
     
  6. StarShipMan

    StarShipMan

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Posts:
    88
    This is the highest res I could find.

    I know Zippy Lights 2D has collisions already, I just want to get a similar effect to the attached game. Even if Zippy Lights can't do the soft light edges like below, it would be okay. Im working on a horror game so my lighting solution is crucial.

     
  7. Silverlode

    Silverlode

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Posts:
    40
    If you are using Collider2D for your level geometry, then I think Zippy Lights 2D would be fine. I do suspect, looking at the screenshot that a fair amount of the horror feeling may actually come from soft-shadows - where you can 'almost' see if something is there or not.

    But if you need a solution, try Zippy Lights 2D while its $5! The alternative is to try SF Soft Shadows, which is considerably more, so start with Zippy Lights and find out - trying is ultimately the only way.
     
  8. qqqbbb

    qqqbbb

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2016
    Posts:
    109
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  9. username132323232

    username132323232

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    Posts:
    439
    Is it true that 2D lighting is coming in Unity 2018.3?
     
  10. dvdarias

    dvdarias

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Posts:
    7
    No, I have been testing the 2018.3 Unity beta in for the last month and 2D lights are not there. Although in the UnityLA roadmap video they talked about releasing it in the 2019.x cycle.
     
    username132323232 likes this.
  11. orb

    orb

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Posts:
    2,960
    2D lighting is for the current alpha series (whenever it's released), most likely coming as packages with 2019.x as the minimum requirement.