I recently finished a simple office environment in Unity for a project, and wanted to share my thoughts on the process of working in Unity to design levels.
Whilst I originally did not enjoy the system(s) for Unity, a deeper understanding of them has led to substantially faster development time and overall performance increases; especially when lighting is concerned.
Intelligent use of light probes, reflection probes, and static objects and drastically reduce the strain on the system. While I am content with the lighting in this office, it could be further optimized with more time.
In order to get the shadowing I desired, I utilized several series of lights to catch the correct shadows of the model. This is most noticeable around the wall lamps in the back of the room. This same effect could be replicated using cookies and area lights, and cut down on the amount of lights rendering at once.
For a small room like this, the performance cost would be negligible, but adding further rooms and expanding a level will have negative effects, even with occlusion culling helping by not rendering objects not on the camera.
Level design is what got me interested in game development in the first place, and this was a solid starting point onto further levels with more complex systems and optimization!