lightmapping in free version

So I have Unity 3 free version, and ive recently started looking to making maps for my FPS. While researching making maps i have stumbled upon the new Beast Lightmapping feature. The videos on youtube make it look so impressive and wonderful to use, but, is there any reason to use it in Unity free version? As you cannot have either soft or hard shadows on? Or maybe I am just misunderstanding this, does anyone have any insight?

The difference between Pro and non-Pro is that non-Pro doesn't have global illumination when using Beast. It does have shadows.

Well, using lightmaps can increase performance when used the right way. Since the lighting don't have to be calculated at runtime. Even if shadows are not calculated, you can add them "manually" if you want. You can edit the lightmap with eg. photoshop.


Well, in fact, Eric is right ( like always ;) ). The Beast-Lightmapper is a 3rd party lightmapper that is integrated in Unity. The calculation of the lightmaps is completely seperated from Unity. Unity just exports all geometry, lights and relevant data that's needed to bake the lightmap and provide this "datapackage" to the Beast-Lightmapper.

Make sure you enable shadows when baking. Unity will warn you that you need pro for realtime shadows but in the end it's Beast that do the calculations. And don't forget: only GameObjects that are marked as "static" are included in the calculations. But all that's explained in this youtube video about Beast in Unity.

Indie lacks real-time shadows (right?). So if you want good looking shadows, radiosity, and otherwise really nice looking spaces that generally don't move, lightmapping is a good way to go.