A Game of Thrones • A Song of Ice and Fire NWN2 Persistent World • Low Magic Role Play

NWN2 Area Lighting: Advanced

Resources - Technical Documentation
Tuesday, 06 January 2009 00:00

Exterior Options

This sets the amount of cloud covering the sky. A higher number means fewer clouds.

This is the rate at which clouds move from East to West. A negative setting moves them from West to East.

This is the rate at which clouds move from North to South. A negative setting moves them from South to North.

This is the light emitted from the ground up towards the sky. This will color all ground facing surfaces.

This is the light reflected off objects, typically metalic objects like weapons and armor.


This is the intensity of all ground lighting. The higher the number, the stronger/more visible the light source will appear.

This is the distance in feet from a player's current position at which fog starts.

This is the color of the fog. It will also colour the sky ring and interact with Sky Color.

This is the distance in feet at which a player's visibility goes to zero.

This is the distance in feet from a player's current position at which the fog ends.

This sets the darkness level of shadows cast by objects. The higher the number, the darker the shadows will appear.

This is the light emitted from the sky down towards the ground. It is similar to GroundLight but in the opposite direction. It will color all sky-facing surfaces. It does not affect sky color.

This is the light reflected off objects, typically metalic objects like weapons and armor.


This is the intensity of all sky lighting. The higher the number, the stronger/more visible the light source will appear.

This colors the sky and clouds, but casts no light on the ground.

This is the main source of light for an area. It is the light emitted from the Sun and Moon. It colors the clouds, the ground, and objects (depending on SunMoonDirection), but does not seem to color fog. It interacts with the SkyZenith and SkyLight colors, but not as much as with GroundLight.

This is the light reflected off objects, typically metalic objects like weapons and armor.


This is the intensity of all sun/moon lighting. The higher the number, the stronger/more visible the light source will appear.

This is the direction in which the sun/moon light shines at any given stage. In the direction setting tool, clicking -Z will shine light directly from above the area. Rotating then around the X axis moves light North-South (you can see by shadows cast). Rotating around the Y axis moves light East-West. Clicking Y places the light due south shining north, -Y is reverse. Clicking X, places light due East, shining West, -X is the reverse.


Bloom is an attempt to simulate the way cameras (and to a much lesser extent, eyes) pick up bright light. The intent is to create a film-like quality to the lighting, and it does that by letting bright light sources bleed and saturate into adjacent areas in the image. This is a very dramatic effect which is why it's dialed to 11 in a lot of games lately, to the point of overuse.

Bloom effects change the quality of the lighting to create a more saturated, richer and hazier looking game world. However aside from making the game world seem more vibrant, it also works to reduce the appearance of aliasing (jaggedness) at far less impact than enabling Antialiasing.

Technically speaking, if you crank bloom up then it will blur everything you see a little, but it will blur bright things far more than dark things. If you crank it really high it will create a dreamy sort of effect, where the bright lights are a little too bright and everything is a little blurry. If you turn it off then the area will seem darker and more sterile.

The main ways it's used in the Neverwinter Nights Toolset that I've seen is with the "hazy" effect. For example, the Githyanki house in the OC has the bloom cranked up really high so the whole area feels magical and dreamy. It is also cranked higher during daytime lighting settings to reproduce the haze of the sun. I think the default morning setting that you see first-thing when you don't adjust the time-settings has it running pretty strong.

As I understand it, the bloom effect is a filter applied to each frame by the 3D card.  More precisely, it sorts of make a blurred copy of the frame and mix it together with the original. (Consequently, dark parts of the frame spread around as much as bright parts (depending on the BHT). There is no direct link between light sources and the bloom effect.) The toolset gives us some control over the blur filter and how the blurred framed is mixed (I would say 'multiplied') with the original frame :

BloomSceneIntensity (BSI):
This sets the overall brightness level of all lights. With this setting, individual light intensity values in effect become relative rather than absolute. As it brightens light, it will not brighten places where light does not reach. A setting of 0 eliminates all light except the highlights (see below). A negative value creates negative brightness which effectively darkens highlights. A BSI of 1, with other bloom settings set to 0, has the same effect as if bloom was disabled.

BloomHighlightThreshold (BHT):
Sets the size and quantity of highlight hotspots. Models and tiles have defined zones (“hotspots”) where light causes highlights when it hits them. Different hotspots will be highlighted depending on the angle of the light (e.g. GroundLight vs SkyLight). A higher BHT value will result in bigger and more numerous hotspots. A negative value (regardless of the number) sets hotspots to their maximum. The minimum value at which hotspots appear seems to be about 0.5.

BloomHighlightIntensity (BHI):
Sets the intensity of the highlights. Highlights will expand/flare more and more as the value is increased. A very high BHI value (e.g. 1000) with a low BHT (e.g. 0.5) will show clearly where the hotspots are located. Increasing BHI and BHT will eventually burn out the entire scene. A negative BHI value creates darker and darker highlights (eventually creating a negative effect if BSI is positive)

BloomBlurRadius (BBR):
Multiplies each individual highlight and spreads these “clones” around the original, like petals of a flower in… bloom. (Original highlight size though seems to be reduced in this operation, making it seem that the highlight might be broken down and its pieces spread, rather than it being cloned.) A higher value increases the distance (i.e. radius) between the center of the original and the center of the clones/pieces. The clones/pieces are spread regularly in a flat grid pattern around the original highlight. Typically, 8 clones/pieces appear to be created. The angle of the flat grid remains perpendicular to the point of view, while the distance between the clones/pieces varies with viewing distance. BBR value is an absolute, so prefixing a negative has no impact. BBR, BHT and BHI combine to create a blur effect. Increasing the BBR up to a point where the additional highlights detach themselves from their model will result in a ghosting effect.

BloomGlowIntensity (BGI):
No effect in interior areas. (In fact, the default interior DayNight stages settings have it set to 0.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 09:59