What should I do to get the best looking realtime shadows in Unity Pro?

I'd like this question to serve as a hub for all things realtime shadow related.

What setups and techniques are you guys using to achieve reliable and good looking realtime shadows in your Unity Pro based games? How are you avoiding such pitfalls as giant pixels, shimmering, and overall ugliness? The docs are good, but what isn't mentioned that is must know?

To avoid the pitfalls I always try to avoid using realtime shadows, especially hard shadows.

What I do:

Indoor scenes:

  • lightmaps (take a look at the Sewer Control Room)

  • no lights

  • only geometry with self-illumination (with or without halos)

  • no realtime shadows

Outdoor scenes:

  • one overall lightmap (painted by hand)

  • one directional light as the sun with low intensity

  • projectors for blob shadows (advanced: aligned with the direction of the sun light)

  • realtime soft shadows with low intensity

  • soft shadows only enabled for ‘farer away’ 3rd person cameras

  • projectors for extra spot lights

  • no self-shadowing

Give it a try to lightmaps with the external lightmapping tool http://masteranza.wordpress.com/unity/lightmapping/

Many game reviewers are looking for realistic lighting effects (even in fast paced racing games). So we could provide two 'light mode'-versions of our games.

One ‘offline’ version for nice looking snapshots and game play movies. And one for the player where shadow and light usage or intensities are reduced to a minimum (depending on camera distances/angles, speed, …).

the documentation is complete. if you need to know more take a look at this link in wikipedia.