Getting the Most out of EE Lighting

Weird enhanced lighting issues at night. You’ll see in the screenshots that everything in front of the PC and to the right is shadowed out, appearing black. Everything behind and to the left is not shadowed and visible. You can walk right up to the house at the top and it remains black no matter how close you are. It happens with any lighting presets or adjusted settings. If you light a torch, the buildings/terrain are illuminated as you would expect. Environment shadows are off. Nothing in /override, nothing in /development. I have a HAK attached - winter tileset reskin.

Any ideas?

Looking forward

Looking Backwards

Up Close in Rural (new module, no CC).

Up close should not look like this.

As you can see from my initial post, this thread started out as an issue investigation. I also posted the same info in Discord and Soren (Zarathustra217) kind enough to respond with some advice. Below is a summary of our conversation:

If anyone else has any tips feel free to chime in. I’m a bit of noob with this lighting stuff and want so much to get out from under the presets.


I can’t speak to “average radiosity of the area’s geometry. . .” but here’s some additional data points.

Symphony had suggested swapping out the Sun Ambient & Diffuse values in the Stormy preset. I’ve tested that and it does indeed look better. It got me thinking that perhaps that should be the case with the other presets. . . so after much experimenting with the presets, here is what seems to be working for me right now:

For Daytime (Sun), the ambient value should be the brightest and fog the darkest. For nighttime (Moon), the ambient value should be the darkest and the diffuse should be the brightest (this is the default in the presets).

Note that I have only been playing around with the “Grey” presets, namely Interior Dark, Foggy, Raining, and Stormy. I have not done extensive testing with the other presets to verify this theory, but my limited testing with Dark, Muggy, & Snowing suggests that swapping the Sun values does it indeed improve the presets.

Now I am in the stage of tweaking the Interior Dark, Foggy, Raining, & Stormy values to fit particular tilesets. But that is just swapping out different preset values to see which looks best. For example, All three of those tilesets use a Hue of 160, Saturation of 0, and Luminosity of X for Sun & Moon ambient, diffuse, & fog colors. Where X = 171, 160, 120, 113, 66, 56, 39, 38, 19, 5, or 0.

I realize that Soren is actually advocating for Ambient to be darker than Diffuse (“1/3 to 1/2 diffuse”) which is the opposite of what Symphony said for Stormy and my own experiments with the “Grey” presets. However, if he means that with regards to Moon only then it makes sense and does not conflict with Symphony’s advice which is regards to Sun only.

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So I did some testing with the Stormy Moon values. What I discovered is that setting the ambient to 1/3 works well if there is no skybox. When there is a skybox, it is better to set it closer to 1/2. This is because the skyboxes are brighter than having no skybox. Fog color was set to be the midpoint between ambient and diffuse.

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What this means is that we can modify the preset Moon ambient values to be 1/3 to 1/2 the preset diffuse values and modify the preset fog color to be the midpoint which should give us a better nighttime lighting and minimize the QUAKE like ‘dramatic lighting’ as seen in @Pstemarie 's screen shots.

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@Grymlorde what would be awesome is if you could post a screenshot of the lighting settings. I’m not really following all this fractional stuff because I don’t really know what baseline you’re working from. I think what you mean is that if the preset moon diffuse value is say 150/100/100 then my ambient values should be say 50/33/33?

For these screen shots, I’m using Stormy, Foggy, & Raining Moon for the examples because the math is easy. Please forgive me if some steps are obvious & elementary.

First off, Edit > Area Properties > Visual > Select Exterior Stormy, Apply, and then Customize Environment which brings up the screen above.

Next, click on Moon - Diffuse Color

Which brings up the Color screen.
Click on Define Custom Colors

In this screen is where we could override the default Hue, Saturation, & Luminosity of the Diffuse color. For this exercise however, we will only note it and not change it. Since Stormy, Foggy, & Raining each use the same values for Hue (160) and Saturation (0), we’re going to ignore them. We’re going to only play around with Luminosity.

In this instance, the Luminosity (Lum) value for Stormy Moon Diffuse is 38. Write that down and cancel until you get back to the Environment Screen again.

This time select Moon - Ambient Color > Define Custom Colors

Notice that the screen for Ambient has different Luminosity

It is zero (0). Soren’s suggestion is to use 1/3 to 1/2 of the Diffuse Luminosity value. Since that value is 38, it works out to be 13 without a skybox or 19 with a skybox. Pick one and save it.

Soren also suggested blending the Moon - Fog Color so that the values are between Diffuse & Ambient.
In this example that would be 25 for no skybox or 28 with a skybox.

And that’s it!

Here are some results:

This is a screenshot of Exterior Stormy Moon (Nighttime) with the Grass Storm skybox using all the defaults. This is from the latest EE preview with environment shadows turn on. Notice how the walls are a bit too dark?

This is after setting the Ambient Color to 19 (50% of Diffuse) but leaving Fog at 0.

In this shot, I set the Fog Color to 28 per Soren’s suggestion. Personally I think that this last step is a mistake for Exterior Stormy Moon. Even though the Fog Amount is only 3, changing the Fog Color made a huge difference, and not for the better in my personal opinion.

Let’s see how Rainy & Fog look:

This is the default Foggy Exterior Moon. Just like Stormy, the walls are a bit too dark.

Here is the Foggy Moon but with a customized Ambient and Fog Color settings. Wow! What a difference! In this case, I think Soren’s Fog Color suggestion is spot on precisely because the fog is such an important party of this scene.

Here is the default Exterior Rain Moon (Nighttime) settings with no skybox. Boy, those walls are really dark!

Here is Exterior Rain Moon with the custom Ambient but default Fog Color and no skybox. Much better!

Now I’ve added the custom Fog Color and now the black background turns grey. That’s quite different! Better? I’m unsure.

This is Exterior Raining Moon with a skybox and custom ambient, default diffuse and fog color.

Now I’ve changed the fog color from 0 to 90 and I don’t like it at all.

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Parting Thoughts:

  • Ambient Lum is 1/3 Diffuse Lum if no skybox, 1/2 if skybox.
  • Fog Color Lum is the midpoint between Ambient Lum and Diffuse Lum.
  • However, I think that if the default Fog Color Lum is 0, then leave it alone.

What about other Environments?
The grayscale ones (Exterior Foggy, Exterior Overcast, Exterior Raining, Exterior Snowing, Exterior Stormy, Exterior Windy, Interior Bright, & Interior Dark) are easy because all of them use a Hue of 160 and a Saturation of 0.

As for the others, I have no idea how to tackle them as their colors are different, i.e. are actually colorful rather then grayscale.

Also, Soren wrote in your quote about adjusting the colors based on the tileset. I have no idea how to do that either due to my lack of knowledge.

As a final thought, I think that following Soren’s advice while using the default Diffuse colors result in nighttime settings being too bright (see Foggy & Raining screenshots above). So I have been experimenting with lower numbers. Now keep in mind, that Grymwurld™ is a grey, bleak, mournful, and depressing place so my numbers are probably going to be lower than most would like unless they’re playing Ravenloft.

Heavy Fog: Exterior Foggy Environment, Moon Ambient Lum 11, Diffuse Lum 33, Fog Color Lum 22. No skybox

Raining: Exterior Stormy Environment, Moon Ambient Lum 10, Diffuse Lum 20, Fog Color Lum 15, Q Overcast skybox.

And also to recap, Symphony had told us on Discord to swap the Exterior Stormy Sun Ambient & Diffuse values, which makes the Ambient brighter and the Diffuse darker. I took it a step further and made the Fog Color the darkest color:

Exterior Stormy Sun Default: Ambient Lum 66, Diffuse Lum 171, & Fog Color Lum 120
Exterior Stormy Sun Swapped: Ambient Lum 171, Diffuse Lum 120, & Fog Color Lum 66

I’ve gone and done the same with all the other Grayscale Sun Environments and like the results. Although, I have been darkening some of the places but still keeping the same philosophy of Daytime Ambient > Diffuse > Fog Color.

Now that we’ve Soren’s advice for nighttime, I’m going to apply the ratios to daytime and see what happens. Which would be to take the Ambient as the base number, make Fog Color 1/2 to 1/3 (depending on skybox) and then set Diffuse as the midpoint. Now I could certainly be off base here. I suspect that his recommendation for daytime would be to still blend the fog color. So I should test that as well.

A (hopefully) final thought: Why is the Hue 160 rather than 0? Should we reduce the Ambient & Fog Color Hues in the same proportion? I don’t think it matters in the greyscale environments but it certainly would in the colorful ones. This also needs testing.

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While you’re at it, what about the exterior bright. As it stands, the shadows a way too dark compared to 1.69. They are almost impenetrable. This with all the simple post-processing things turned off.


@Grymlorde - those posts were EXACTLY what I needed. Thanks for taking time out of your no doubt busy day to do that!

Had a quick look at the latest version of the dev build. Exterior clear’s shadows seem to have been improved. In which case it may prove beneficial to see if this also affects the lighting schemes being discussed here.


I switched over to DEV and will be playing around with that today using some of @Grymlorde’s setting suggestions. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

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