Gaia comes with a water system that can simulate oceans and lakes including underwater effects. The water can be customized regarding color, transparency, wave normals, etc. to your liking.
Collections of water settings can be saved as "Water Profiles" which allows you to quickly change between different water setups and also to transfer these water settings between scenes.
In addition to look nice in your scene, the water or sea level does also play an important role in spawning, since you can define spawn rules that are relative to the sea level. In this way you can e.g. spawn a sand texture near the sea level to create a beach, and if you decide to increase the sea level later in development, your texturing will follow accordingly when you respawn the textures so that your beach will still be in the correct height on the terrain.
When Gaia does set up water in your scene from the Gaia Manager Runtime tab, it will create a "Gaia Water" object below "Gaia Runtime" in your scene. The Gaia Water object serves as a container for the water surface, and underwater post processing objects, but also contains a lot of settings to adjust the water in the scene to your liking.
When selecting the Gaia Water object, you can find all water settings for your scene in the Inspector:
The first setting is the "Water System Mode" that has 3 settings:
- Gaia is the default mode where the water in the scene is controlled by Gaia. This mode offers a lot of additional options in multiple panels which are explained in the following sections.
3rd Party is a mode Gaia will not create water, but will allow you to reference another Game Object that controls the water instead. This just serves as a shortcut to jump quickly to this object in question via the "Edit" button.
- None - Gaia will not use water
When in "Gaia" Mode, the next setting you will see is the currently active Water Profile - the Water Profile is a collection of settings for the water shader that make up the look of the water of your scene. By switching between the water profiles you can quickly change the look of the water in your scene, and you can create your own profiles as well.
The actual settings like water color and smoothness etc. for this profile are found in the Water Profile Settings Panel.
Water Profile Settings
The Water Profile Settings contain the settings that will impact the water shader directly and thus the look of the water in your scene. Upon first opening this panel, you will most likely notice that all the settings are locked initially:
This is because the settings displayed in this panel are related to the Water Profile selected above, and you will have one of Gaia's default profiles selected which are not editable. You can click the "Create New Profile" or the small "+" Button to create a copy from the current profile which you then can edit as you see fit. You can always return to the default profiles to make another editable copy, so there is no risk in exploring all the water settings.
If you need help with what the individual settings for the water shader do, you can click the question mark button in the top right corner of the panel to activate the inline help.
The Global Settings panel contains global water settings that do not have immediately to do with the water shader itself.
The water surface can reflect the surrounding scene which adds to the believability of the water effect. Calculating Reflections costs performance, but there are various reflection systems that help you to fine tune the reflection behavior to find the best "looks vs. performance" trade-off for your scene.
The reflection image on the water surface is calculated by a hidden camera in the scene, so a lot of the following options have to do with how this reflection image is being generated.
This panel holds settings related to the underwater FX (Visual effects to give the impression the camera is inside a body of water)
Please Note: Not all of these settings work across each rendering pipeline (yet). We will further refine these underwater effects in future updates of Gaia.
Mesh Quality Settings
Per default Gaia will create a water mesh for you. In this panel you can control the size, shape and quality of this mesh.
Please Note: The mesh quality is only relevant for the waves of the water shader. If you do not intend to have larger waves you can keep the quality low, or even replace the generated mesh with a flat plane to save performance.
Save And Load
The Save And Load Panel allows you to save the Water Profiles found above into a file. This file can be loaded back up again with the "Load From File" button. You can use this to back up the Water Profiles that you have created so far, or to transfer Water Profiles between scenes or projects.