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Shadow control.png

shadow_control is a point entity available in all Source games. Defines the direction, color and attenuation distance of Dynamic Shadows for the entire map.

The properties of this entity apply to the whole map. Multiple instances of this entity within a map may cause errors.


Skybox Lighting enters the map through every toolsskybox-textured brush, representing direct sun/moonlight and diffuse skylight. Its basic properties are controlled by three entities used in combination (four in some games):

  • light_environment defines the direction, color and intensity of the direct sunlight, and the color and intensity of the diffuse skylight.
  • shadow_control defines the color, direction, and attenuation distance of the dynamic shadows that are created by light_environment. Dynamic shadows will be buggy and unconfigurable without this entity.
  • env_sun places a glowing sprite in the skybox to represent the Sun's apparent position in the sky.
  • env_cascade_light casts harsh, real-time shadows onto the map, usually copying settings from the light_environment. <Counter-Strike: Global Offensive><Insurgency><Black Mesa (Source)> only.

To make sense of it all, just make sure you have only one of each of these entities in your map, and that the Pitch and Yaw <angles> are set the same for all three of them. (Pitch is equivalent to the Sun's angle of elevation from the ground, and Yaw is its compass bearing.)

These lighting settings - direction, color, brightness, etc are fairly specific to the actual image used for the 2D skybox. The Sky List article suggests some settings for official game skyboxes. The worldspawn entity defines which skybox to use. Also note that fog will look wrong if env_fog_controller's settings don't correspond to the particular skybox in use.

Note.png Note: Pitch can be overriden for light_environment and env_sun, but not shadow_control. The Pitch override also cannot be switched off and its rotation is measured counter-clockwise from the horizontal (so straight down is -90°) whereas the <angles> Pitch's rotation is clockwise (so straight down is +90°). The workaround for this is to make sure your Pitch override merely repeats the <angles> value; for example, if your shadow_control, light_environment and env_sun <angles> are "45 -60 0", set the Pitch override to "-45".

use with light_environment and env_sun



Pitch Yaw Roll (Y Z X) (angles) <angle>
This entity's orientation in the world. Pitch is rotation around the Y axis, yaw is the rotation around the Z axis, roll is the rotation around the X axis.
Tip.png Tip: Pitch is the Sun's Angle of Elevation from the ground, and Yaw is its Compass Bearing.
Shadow Color <color255>
This is the color of the shadows.
Maximum Distance <float>
This is the maximum distance the shadow is allowed to cast, in inches.
Tip.png Tip: Shortening this distance can be used to approximate the effects of Diffuse Lighting.
All Shadows Disabled <boolean>
This feature is only available in Half Life 2. [confirm]


Name (targetname) <string>
The targetname that other entities refer to this entity by.
Entity Scripts (vscripts) <scriptlist> (in all games since <Left 4 Dead 2>)
Space delimited list of VScript files (without file extension) that are executed after all entities have spawned. The scripts are all executed in the same script scope, later ones overwriting any identical variables and functions.
Script think function (thinkfunction) <string> (in all games since <Left 4 Dead 2>)
Name of a function in this entity's script which will be called automatically every 100 milliseconds (ten times a second) for the duration of the script. It can be used to create timers or to simulate autonomous behavior. The return value (if present) will set the time until the next call.
Note.png Note: Try to avoid expensive operations in this function, as it may cause performance problems.


color <color255>
Set the shadow color.
direction <vector>
Set the shadow direction.
SetDistance <float>
Set the maximum shadow cast distance.
SetAngles <string>
Set the shadow direction.
SetShadowsDisabled <integer>
Set shadows disabled state.


Removes this entity from the world.
Removes this entity and its children from the world.
Note.png Note: Entities already remove orphaned children upon being removed, but this input removes all children on the same frame, being marginally faster than Kill.
AddOutput <string>
Adds a keyvalue/output to this entity. It can be potentially very dangerous, use with care.
KV Format: <key> <value>
I/O Format: <output name> <targetname>:<inputname>:<parameter>:<delay>:<max times to fire, -1 means infinite>
FireUser1 to FireUser4
Fire the OnUser outputs; see User Inputs and Outputs.
Use  !FGD
Same as a player invoking +use; may not do anything depending on the entity. Can also be invoked by firing an output that does not specify an input.
RunScriptFile <script> (in all games since <Left 4 Dead 2>)
Execute a VScript file from disk, without file extension. The script contents are merged with the script scope of the receiving entity.
RunScriptCode <string> (in all games since <Left 4 Dead 2>)
Execute a string of VScript source code in the scope of the entity receiving the input. String quotation may be needed when fired via console.
Bug.png Bug: In <Left 4 Dead 2>, the code is executed in the script scope of the entity that fires the output, not the one receiving the input.
Warning.png Warning: Never try to pass string parameters to a script function with this input. It will corrupt the VMF structure because of the nested quotation marks, which then must be removed manually with a text editor.
CallScriptFunction <string> (in all games since <Left 4 Dead 2>) !FGD
Execute a VScript function in the scope of the receiving entity.
SetLocalOrigin <coordinates> (in all games since <Alien Swarm>) !FGD
Send this entity to a spot in the map. If the entity is parented to something, it will be offset from the parent by this amount.
SetLocalAngles <angles> (in all games since <Alien Swarm>) !FGD
Set this entity's angles.



OnUser1 to OnUser4
These outputs each fire in response to the firing of the like-numbered FireUser1 to FireUser4 Input; see User Inputs and Outputs.
OnKilled  (only in <Left 4 Dead><Left 4 Dead 2>)
This output fires when the entity is killed and removed from the game.