Reviewed for: Gaia Version 2.2.1

The Gaia Runtime Objects are a collection of tools and Elements of your scene that enhance your scene during runtime and allow you to quickly explore your terrain like a player would in the final version of your scene.
Unlike the other design time tools like e.g. the Gaia Stamper, these elements are designed to remain in your scene for the final build. All these objects are meant as optional enhancements for your scene. If you e.g. do not like the Water that comes with Gaia, you can choose not to use it and instead use a different water asset in your scene or roll your own. It is also possible to use them as placeholders first for prototyping and then replace them later on further in development.

The Gaia Runtime currently contains the following objects:

You can choose which of these runtime elements you want to add during the terrain creation process from the Gaia Manager. But these settings are not set in stone - you can at any time re-open the Gaia Manager and execute the runtime setup step again to choose a different configuration for your runtime objects. E.g. you can choose how different combinations of lighting and / or water would look like in your scene:

The objects created in this way can be found under the "Gaia Runtime" object in the scene hierarchy. You can learn more about those individual objects by clicking on the linked help articles above, or selecting them in the scene hierarchy and use the inline help behind the question mark button.

The "Gaia Runtime" object is not just a simple container, but also has a few functionalities of its own:

The UI has a slot for the main camera in your scene - this reference is used in the runtime object where a camera reference is needed (e.g. for the underwater effects when the camera goes under the water surface).

The "Lighting and Water System Mode" settings allow you to switch to a 3rd Party system for lighting and / or water, or allow you to switch it off altogether. If you use Gaia's water and lighting system, you can quickly access the advanced settings via the respective buttons. If a 3rd party system is used, you can set up an alternative object that is selected instead. When in "3rd Party" or "None" mode, Gaia will not update  the Lighting / Water setup in the scene anymore, which allows you to set up other assets or your own system without interference.

Last but not least the Gaia Runtime object also stores settings for your water and lighting setup in your scene. You can save these settings and load them up in another scene to transfer your light and water setup between scenes. To do so, use the "Save and Load" Panel at the bottom:

Saving the settings into a file allows you to load them up in another scene via the Gaia Runtime object. You can also load only water or only lighting settings in the advanced water and the advanced lighting settings.
The "Revert to Defaults" settings removes the current customization for water and lighting and resets it back to its default values.