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Updated Dynamic Lighting

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(Updated ) Dynamic Lighting (aka. UDL) is the new version of the Roll20 lightning system, which is replacing the older Legacy Dynamic Lighting(LDL). It features a stronger framework for future feature enhancements, is more performant, and has been updated for more current computing technologies.

How to set up Dynamic Lighting



Official Documentation

UDL was created after Roll20 had moved their Official documentation to the Help Center, so the Community Wiki doesn't have duplicates of these articles, so these features have better pages there:


Breakdown of the main features.

Explorer Mode

Explorer Mode & Udl-hide-icon.jpg Darkness Tool

Explorer Mode - reveal map as characters move around the map, and leave previously explored section greyed out.

With the Udl-hide-icon.jpg Darkness Tool you can create patches of explorable or permanent darkness, and it is also used for resetting Explorer Mode.

In LDL, the equivalent to Explorer Mode is AFoW.

Since April, you can also use Eclipses and freehand drawings for DL lines.

If you turn on Daylight, you can adjust the brightness of the default light on the map.

Adjust Daylight Brightness

Nocturnal Vision

Dark Vision

In April 2021, Dark Vision & Alternate Senses where released, making it possible to use D&D5E-accurate dark vision, if you turn on "Nocturnal Vision". Total darkness will by default be shown in grayscale, but you can change the tint to have a color. E.g. Night Vision technology could give you a green tint, while magic-based darkvision might make sense to have a purple tint.

Darkness Tool

The Udl-hide-icon.jpg Darkness Tool can be used for manage what players can or can't see, reset explored map back to darkness, or draw Permanent Darkness that even blocks normal vision.

It also incorporates features similar to the free Fog of War-tool, and replaces it's position on the Toolbar when UDL is active on a page. (C Fog of War isn't compatible with UDL).

Colored Lighting

Lights can have colors.

Colored Lighting

Place Light

main page: Place-light-torch-icon.png Place Light Tool

You can quickly place lights on your map, with the Place-light-torch-icon.png Place Light Tool, that can be found on the toolbar.

Roll20:Place Light Tool showcase



Main Page: Page Toolbar

Page DL settings for LDL and UDL are saved on separate tabs.

UDL Page Settings



Main Page: Token Features

Token settings for LDL and UDL are saved on separate tabs.

UDL Token Settings UDL-TokenSettings.jpg

Other Features


There is usually some delay between new UDL features getting introduced, and API scripting getting access to new object keys & functions to interact with them.

TokenMod(by The Aaron is a popular API that's been quickly updated when new UDL features have become API-accessible,

List of APIs using UDL-only features

Related APIs, which utilize UDL to various degree:

Known Issues

Fixed issues/past threads:

Comparison to Legacy DL

Roll20 have announced that LDL will be retired eventually More info:

In UDL, the old features of Advanced Fog of War have been renamed Explorer Mode to avoid confusion. 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.

On January 14th, 2021, Roll20 announced Update 1.0(Blog), saying that "Updated Dynamic Lighting has been in the works for some time, and we see the 1.0 Update not as a finish line, but a checkpoint.". Despite this, there exists still multiple known issues, such as performance issues, and visual glitches relating to Darkvision.

Parallel Systems

Currently, UDL exist in parallel with the Legacy Dynamic Lighting(LDL), so you can use either one in your game, but LDL will eventually be discontinued.

While they 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 UDL system will be reset/hidden when changing to LDL. If you then switch back to the UDL, the revealed areas that you had revealed when you last used UDL(might?) 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.

The Convert Lighting Tool making it possible to convert existing games to UDL automatically. This process can't be reversed easily, so if problems occur and you want to change everything back to LDL, you need to manually update all tokens & pages yourself. It's recommended to create a copy of your campaign, and perform the Conversion on the Copy, and keeping the original game as it is.


  •  ?? – First public info on UDL
  • March, 2020 – UDL was made available to Pro members on the Dev Server.
  • April 8th, 2020 – UDL was released as opt-in feature for Pro/Plus users, after having been available over a month on the Dev Server for Pro subs to try out.
  • July 30th, 2020 – Roll20 announced UDL to have reached Feature Parity with LDL, but still have issues and optimization to do.
  • August - December 2020 – regular updates & fixes where applied to UDL, and these minor change where communicated mostly in the UDL megathread and possibly twitter
    • There where no Blog Post or larger announcements during the time for UDL. On the monthly Community Roundtables(Twitch), questions about UDL progress was answered, and possibly some minor changes where mentioned.
    • During Roll20Con 2020, some updates where highlighted
  • January 14th, 2021 – Roll20 announced
    • "Updated Dynamic Lighting has been in the works for some time, and we see the 1.0 Update not as a finish line, but a checkpoint.". Despite this, there exists still multiple known issues, such as performance issues, and visual glitches relating to Darkvision.
    • With the Update 1.0, they also emphasized that "We will still support Legacy Lighting for a while, but we feel it’s only fair to let you know that we will be deprecating our support for the Legacy system sometime in the future. "
    • No timeline for phased out LDL was announced.
    • Roll20 would close the current UDL feedback thread shortly and start a new one for Update 1.0
  • Jan 27th, new feedback tread opened for Update 1.0: UDL 1.0 Updates, Bugs, & Feedback(Forum) (Jan 27th, 2021)
  • Feb 17th 2021, it was announced that LDL will be discontinued May 18th 2021(Blog)
    • Feb 6-17th, several updates related low light/dim light was rolled out. Adding a dim light opacity slider, setting in "Default Settings", and fixes.
    • Feb 18th, Dev comment on UDL situation(Forum)
  • April 2021 LDL removal was postponed, no new date was given An Update to the Legacy Dynamic Lighting Sunset Plan(Blog)
  • June-July 2021
  • Sep 1st Daylight brightness can be adjusted
  • Sept 8th Tutorial was updated to also showcase Dynamic Lighting, so also free users can try it out - details(Forum))
  • Sept 18th Place Light Tool(Forum) made available to tested on Dev Server
  • Oct. 1st Place-light-torch-icon.png Place Light Tool released for everyone


APIs have access to most UDL features, and some APIs such as TokenMod have updated to support UDL as best as it can.

There are some API, such as UDLWindows(Forum), which only works with UDL, and not LDL.

Check API:Script_Index#Dynamic_Lighting for list of some API that interacts with UDL & LDL.

Related Pages

See Also

Blog Posts


Old threads