Setting Up Dynamic Lighting Barriers

When purchasing an Adventure, most Customers expect battle maps to include Dynamic Lighting already set up for them. Dynamic Lighting is a lighting system that updates players’ lines of sight in real-time, as you play. It’s available to our Pro and Plus subscribers. The owner of the game will need a Plus or Pro subscription to set up Dynamic Lighting in the game they're using for their Module/Addon template.

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Step 1: Enable Dynamic Lighting for the Page

As noted in the previous article about Creating Pages, the Page Settings menu has a tab dedicated to Dynamic Lighting.

  1. Click on the paper icon button at the top of the Tabletop to reveal the Page Toolbar
  2. Click on the gear Icon of the Page you want to add Dynamic Lighting to. This will open that Page's Page Settings menu
  3. In the Page Settings Menu, click on the Dynamic Lighting Tab
  4. Toggle the Dynamic Lighting setting from "Off" to "On"
  5. (optional) If you currently have this page loading on the Tabletop, the scene will appear darker than it was before once Dynamic Lighting is turned on. If the effect is too dark or too light to see well, you can adjust the visibility by using the slider under GM Darkness Opacity setting. This slider is available on both tabs of the Page Settings menu.
  6. The remaining settings under this tab aren't necessary until later on once your barriers and light sources are in place. Save your menu changes by clicking on the Save Settings button at the bottom of the menu. This will automatically close the menu and return you to the Page Toolbar. 
  7. Collapse the Page Toolbar by clicking on the X button at the bottom of the toolbar.

Step 2: Drawing Walls, Barriers, Doors, and other Obstructions

To create walls and line-of-sight barriers on the Dynamic Lighting layer, you will be using the Drawing Tools found on the Tabletop Toolbar. You can review the various drawing tools available and how to use them in the article here: Drawing Tools

Reviewing Your Map

Before you start creating barriers and placing lights on the Page, take a moment to review your map.

Ask yourself the following questions about your map and make note of what you find:

  • What areas of the map have unmovable Walls?

  • Where are there Doors or other movable vision obstructions?

  • Where are there Secret Doors?

  • Are there levels of elevation that would obstruct vision only in One Direction?

  • Where are there Columns, tree trunks, or other smaller objects on the map that would still block line of sight, but you want Players to still be able to see them?

  • Are there objects like Windows or Cell Bars on the map where Players could see through, but still impede their movement?

  • Where are there Light Sources here? Are they a specific color? Brightness? Is it a narrow beam of light or a radial glow?

Drawing on the Dynamic Lighting Layer

  1. On the Tabletop, click on the Layer button of the Tabletop Toolbox and choose the Dynamic Lighting option to switch to that Layer.
  2. Click on the Drawing Tool button.

Selecting any drawing tool while on the Dynamic Lighting Layer, will reveal a unique context menu to the right of the Tabletop Toolbox. This menu is for drawing the various types of Dynamic Lighting Barriers.

The first drop-down of this menu is to select the Barrier Type. The default selection is Wall, but there is also One Way and Transparent barrier options.

On the second row of this menu is a color picker for Line Color and a drop-down for Line Weight (Thin, Small, Regular, Large, Extra Large).

All of the Drawing Tools are available on the Dynamic Lighting Layer; HOWEVER, we highly recommend NOT using the Freehand Draw Tool nor Text Tool for creating barriers on the Dynamic Lighting layer. This can create a lag-heavy experience when Dynamic Lighting is being calculated and displayed.

We recommend using the Polygon/Line Drawing Tool for most of your barrier drawing needs. Rectangles/Squares and Circles/Ellipses also work here without issue too.

Recommended Line Settings

Here are the barrier settings we use internally on our own marketplace conversions. The following line weight and differing colors for the various barrier types are approved for the accessibility of people with colorblindness and make it easier to tell where a line can be removed without the GM having to remove whole sections of what's drawn on the Dynamic Lighting layer to find what they need.

  • Use the “Regular” Line Weight selection
  • Use Blue (Hex #0000ff, RGB: 0,0,255) for walls and immovable objects like tree lines.
  • Use Orange (#ff9900, RGB: 255,153,0) for doors, secret doors, curtains, and other movable line-of-sight breaks that the DM may want to be able to move/remove manually.
  • Use Pink (Hex #ff00ff, RGB: 255, 0, 255) for one-way lines
  • Use Cyan (Hex #00FFFF, RGB: 0, 255, 255) for transparent barriers such as windows, cell bars, and portcullises.

Draw Your Immovable Walls

Basic Drawing Guidelines
While using the Drawing Tools, select the “Wall” barrier type and start tracing the contours of your walls with left mouse button clicks. Wall Barriers are represented on the Tabletop as solid lines. Right-click or left-click on the starting point of your drawing to complete it.

Shift-Click while drawing will snap your line to the grid.

Plan Your Linework in Advance

You can't erase portions of a line after it's drawn, so purposely leave openings for doors, secret doors, and other movable objects.

Where to Draw the Wall Lines

For the best setup, a Dynamic Lighting line should run through the middle of a wall (or slightly behind the exterior wall edge). That way a Player can always see the edge of the wall on the artwork and see where entrances and exits are located.

The following two images will show the difference of the Player's view with Dynamic Lighting Enabled. We've used one of Meditating Munky’s Modular Mansions Maps with a Token from Devin Night’s Heroic Characters 2 collection.

Map_Wall_Location_Down_the_Middle.jpg

If you trace exactly along the edge of the wall, the players just see their vision end at a black abyss and will have a hard time discerning where doorways are located or what sort of surface the wall of the room is made of.

In this second image, we shifted the map art so that the gridlines sit on the perimeter edge of the wall. With Dynamic Lighting on, you'll note that the only visible portion of the door is the far right edge of the doorknob. The Player will likely find it very difficult to find this door unless the GM manually points it out on the Tabletop. If this had been an open entranceway with no door graphic at all, the Player would not have seen any indication of its location unless they were close enough to peer through the opening.

Map_Wall_Location_On_the_Edge.jpg

Optimize Your Linework

Draw your lines for cave walls, curved walls, and other irregular wall shapes in as few segments as possible to help with rendering performance. You don't need to be exacting with contouring the wall since your map's artwork will do most of the heavy lifting to represent the walkable space.

Draw Your Doors

For doors, continue to use the Wall barrier type, but choose a different line color so you can easily differentiate between the two. See Recommended Line Settings above.

  • Secret doors must be flush with the surrounding wall lines and hidden so players can’t tell there’s an abnormality in the artwork.
  • If the line section would be particularly difficult to grab due to size or placement, add angled "feet" to the ends of the line in an unobtrusive place so the DM has a handle to grab it.
  • For curtains, place a single straight line ‘behind’ the curtain to block vision, but allow the players to see it is a curtain on the artwork. If it’s a curtain over a solid wall, you do not need to create a separate wall segment for it.

Draw Your One-Way Barriers

While using the Drawing Tools, select the “One Way” barrier type.

"One Way" barriers are represented on the Tabletop as solid lines with triangles that line up on one side. The direction the triangles point to lets you know which way light and vision will bypass the barrier. Like with doors, you'll want to choose a new color for this barrier type. See Recommended Line Settings above.

Use this line type to draw areas such as:

  • Cliff and Balcony Ledges
  • Walkable/Climbable Rooftop edges
  • Bridges
  • Fort Palisades & Castle Battlements
  • Two-Way Mirrors

Additionally, columns, tree trunks, boulders, and other large objects that would block the line of sight can benefit from being enclosed in One Way barriers. For these features, you want the arrows to point toward the center of the object. This way Players will be able to see the vision-blocking object on the artwork, but won’t be able to see past it.

If you find that the triangles on your linework are pointing in the wrong direction, click on the rotary icon that displays to the right of the Barrier Type drop-down menu when One Way is selected. This will flip the direction the triangles are pointing.

Draw Your Transparent Barriers

While using the Drawing Tools, select the “Transparent” barrier type. Transparent barriers are represented on the Tabletop as a dashed line. Again, you'll want to choose a new color for this barrier type. See Recommended Line Settings above.

The first time you choose the Transparent barrier type on a Page, a message popup will appear asking you to turn on Restrict Player Token Movement. If you are using these types of barriers on the map, we recommend choosing Yes. Choosing yes will toggle this Page Setting for the current Page to On for you.

Use this line type to draw areas such as:

  • Windows
  • Barred cell doors and portcullises
  • Fences and gates

Now that your walls have been set up, we'll next go over adding light sources to your map.

Return to Module/Addon Guide Index
<< - Placing Hidden/Secret Objects   Adding Lights to the Dynamic Lighting Layer -  >>
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