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 Back to Tutorials Page   Other Tutorials by pilpaX 

Lights, lighting and lighting effects
By pilpaX  Last changed Oct 18 2001

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Hello! Now I want to talk about lights, lighting and lighting effects, as I think they are one of the most important components of map design.

In this tutorial I hope you know some mapping basics, like how to make enities, and vertex manipulation, but thats not so important at the moment.


When making a map, there is different ways to make a light. The easyest way probably is to just add entity named "light" its called "pointbased lighting" and place it where you need a light.

I dont recomend to use "pointbased lighting" to just make lights, use "texture lighting" for that, incase you dont wanna use some features(dynamic effects) that "pointbased lighting" has.

1.1 Features:


You can switch it on off, anytime with simple trigger. Easyest way is to use func_button.

Make a small(optinal) brush, and make it to "func_button" ,open "func_button"Žs properties(by right click on brush and then selecting properties) find cap "Target" and for example type to there "light_1" (without "")

Now locate your "pointbased light" if you cant find it manually you may go in WC(World Craft) to "Map > Entity Report" then :

(click to enlarge)

... and name it to "light_1"

So now when youŽll "use" this func_button you made in game you can turn your light on/off, you may also make multiple lights and name them "light_1", then all these lights gonna go on/off at the same time.


Select your light, open its properties, go to "Brightness" and youŽll see some numbers like "### ### ### ###", the 3 first numbers are color code(Red-Green-Blue) and the last ### is the lights strenght, eg how much light it will make/glow, also how big area will be lighten up.


For example lets make a flickering light to map. Open your map properties, select "Appearance" and open "pulldown menu" then select "Fluorescent flicker", now your light will flicker like a broken light, you may also use other effects, to have a live fire effect, or just slow fade in-out.

2. Environment lighting

Environment lighting is used most for outdoor lighting, and well then you map must have a "sky", its a brush with all faces covered with texture "sky". Then the light will not come directly from entity, but from sky. To add a "Environment lighting" to your map, youŽll need to add a pointbased entity named "light_environment" to your map, you can do it same way you added "light" but just select "light_environment"


There is not much settings, so its pretty simple to use "light_environment". Important is "Pitch", the angle of light, you may have very dramatical results with trying different ## there. And deal with brigthness is same, as with pointbased light.

3. Spot lights

Spot lights are used when you want to make a spot light.

(click to enlarge)

or if you wanna have effect when light is coming in form window.

how to? : Add a pointbased entity "light_spot" to your map, to the place from where you wanna light come from, then open light_spot properties

Target: target_1
Inner(bright)angle: 20
Outer(bright)angle: 20
Brightness: 255 255 121 200

then add a pointbased entity "info_target" to where you wanna light go to. And from its properties:

name: target_1

With these options I got effect like in previous pic, you may change them, like color, angles etc.

Also, you may use spotlight as a environment light, then just you cant use info_target, and you must specify the lights angle with "pitch" and "angle" options, also you must select "is sky" from its properties.

4. Texture lighting

I already wrote a tutorial about it, so check it out from HERE

5. Lighting effects

I think its pretty boring to just make a light... some effects make them a lot cooler.


To have a glowing effect you need to place a pointbased enity named "env_glow" to your map.

now, open its properties and do like shown in the next series of pics :

FX Amount - The strenght of glow

FX Color - Color code,(Red Green Blue) I recomend to use "Pic color" option.

Sprite Name- location of the sprite, you may also try using some other sprites if you want to.

Scale - Sise of the glow

OK, now when all settings should be allright(the ones I didnt mention, leave just default). Make a lightball, you may just make a small cube or complex brush with vertex manipulation. Now you have 2 options how to make it. First is to make your lightball with texture that glows light, or just put a "pointbased light" into your lightball. DONT forget to make your lightball to func_wall, beacuse when its just a usual brush, the pointbased light donŽt get out :P . So if you now have a lightball, place a "env_glow" inside it.


First, you need to have some vertex manipulation skills. Tutorial HERE

ok, now make a brush and modify it with a vertex manipulation, actually you dotn have to, but it will give better effect:

(click to enlarge)

You have to use "halflife.wad" file, couse there are textures what you need. Offcource you can make your own custom texture for that if you want to.

Now, make it to a "func_illusionary", couse its a lighting effect and I think you dont want it to be solid. If you have made it to " func_illusionary" open its properties:

Render mode: Addive
FX Ammount 60

All other settings leave as they are, and you may change FX Ammount, "60" is just my version.


(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Combinig effects

To have a exelent and full effect sometimes is good to combine effects, like if you make a lightpost, then use "fade" ,"glow" and also spotlight.

have fun, wrote by pilpaX, sry abut typos and grammar

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