Sample Lighting Settings

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This page documents some sample lighting settings. These must be entered into the optional command line parameters to have any effect. Best results are always achieved using the MediaVPs and with glowmaps, shinemaps, normal maps and environment maps turned on. Please consult the Command Line Reference page for specific notes on these settings.

FreeSpace Engine Default Settings

These are the Engine defaults used when no settings are specified as shown here, for easy reference.

  • -ambient_factor 128
  • -spec_exp 16
  • -spec_point 1.0
  • -spec_static 1.0
  • -spec_tube 1.0
  • -ogl_spec 80
  • -bloom_intensity 75

Modern lighting presets

FrikgFeek's Settings

A compromise between space darkness and playability.

Focusing on star-based lighting with relatively high bloom to help glowpoints illuminate ships. This setting provides a highly contrasting light-darkness look that puts a lot of emphasis on star position. Light and shadow are emphasized and very distinct.

  • -ambient_factor 55
  • -spec_point 0.7
  • -spec_static 2.12
  • -spec_tube 1.2
  • -bloom_intensity 45
  • -no_emissive_light


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 55 -spec_point 0.7 -spec_static 2.12 -spec_tube 1.2 -bloom_intensity 45 -no_emissive_light
Similar idea to the previous setting, adding more ambient to reduce the contrast. Still somewhat dark but never fully black.

Omnidirectional ambient lighting is more emphasized while still darker than static lighting. Bloom is reduced to de-emphasize glowpoints. Compared to the previous setting there's a lot less light-dark contrast but overall visibility is improved.

  • -ambient_factor 91
  • -spec_point 1.2
  • -spec_static 0.55
  • -spec_tube 1.3
  • -bloom_intensity 19
  • -no_emissive_light


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 91 -spec_point 1.2 -spec_static 0.55 -spec_tube 1.3 -bloom_intensity 19 -no_emissive_light
Extremely dark setting exclusively focused on glowpoints and dynamic lighting from weapons and beams.

This setting contains more screenshots since its look rapidly changes as action happens. Ships switch from very dark to very bright when engaged in combat. The beams also light up nearby fighters. The very high bloom(at least compared to other settings, still reduced from the default setting of 75) provides extremely bright and bleeding flashes of light during explosions, further emphasizing the dynamic nature of this preset.

  • -ambient_factor 45
  • -spec_point 1.5
  • -spec_static 0.7
  • -spec_tube 1.8
  • -bloom_intensity 56
  • -no_emissive_light


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 45 -spec_point 1.5 -spec_static 0.7 -spec_tube 1.8 -bloom_intensity 56 -no_emissive_light

Rhymes' Settings

Generally dark but not pitch-black environments, with a heavy emphasis on lighting from weapons fire and the in-mission sun.

  • -ambient_factor 80
  • -spec_point 0.3
  • -spec_static 2
  • -spec_tube 0.7
  • -bloom_intensity 10
  • -no_emissive_light


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 80 -spec_point 0.3 -spec_static 2 -spec_tube 0.7 -bloom_intensity 10

Recommended Diaspora Settings

These are the recommended light settings for Diaspora. For now, you'll only see them available in Diaspora's version of the launcher.

  • -ambient_factor 90
  • -spec_exp 0.7
  • -spec_point 0.7
  • -spec_static 1.0
  • -spec_tube 1.0
  • -ogl_spec 15
  • -bloom_intensity 20


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 90 -spec_exp 0.7 -spec_tube 1.0 -spec_point 0.7 -spec_static 1.0 -ogl_spec 15 -bloom_intensity 20

Deprecated lighting presets

Note: These settings are obsolete as of FSO 3.8.0

DaBrain's Settings

DaBrain's settings feature relatively even lighting with a low specular value.
  • -ambient_factor 10
  • -no_emissive_light
  • -spec_exp 7.0
  • -spec_point 8.6
  • -spec_static 12.8
  • -spec_tube 5.0


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 10 -no_emissive_light -spec_exp 7.0 -spec_point 8.6 -spec_static 12.8 -spec_tube 5.0


Herra Tohtori's Settings

Herra Tohtori's settings feature high specularity and glossiness.
  • -ambient_factor 35
  • -no_emissive_light
  • -spec_exp 15
  • -spec_point 1.2
  • -spec_static 1.5
  • -spec_tube 1.5
  • -ogl_spec 20


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 35 -no_emissive_light -spec_exp 15 -spec_point 1.2 -spec_static 1.5 -spec_tube 1.5 -ogl_spec 20


CKid's Settings

CKid's settings adds emphasis on glowmaps and normal maps.
  • -ambient_factor 35
  • -no_emissive_light
  • -spec_exp 16.7
  • -spec_point 0.6
  • -spec_static 0.9
  • -spec_tube 1


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 35 -no_emissive_light -spec_exp 16.7 -spec_point 0.6 -spec_static 0.9 -spec_tube 1


ColeCampbell666's Settings

ColeCampbell666's settings result in a very dark environment with most of the lighting coming from weapons fire.
  • -ambient_factor 0
  • -no_emissive_light
  • -spec_exp 11
  • -spec_point .6
  • -spec_static .8
  • -spec_tube .4
  • -ogl_spec 80


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 0 -no_emissive_light -spec_exp 11 -spec_point .6 -spec_static .8 -spec_tube .4 -ogl_spec 80


Castor's Settings

"The thing with 'darker' settings is that the lower you go, the more dependent it will be on the quality/settings of the particular display you are viewing it on." -- Castor
  • -ambient_factor 75
  • -spec_exp 7.0
  • -spec_point 8.6
  • -spec_static 3.0
  • -spec_tube 5.0


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 75 -spec_exp 7.0 -spec_point 8.6 -spec_static 3.0 -spec_tube 5.0


Spidey's Settings

Spidey's settings nicely balance emphasis on diffuse, specular, and normal maps.
  • -ambient_factor 5
  • -spec_exp 15
  • -spec_point 1.2
  • -spec_static 1.7
  • -spec_tube 1.5
  • -ogl_spec 50


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 5 -spec_exp 15 -spec_point 1.2 -spec_static 1.7 -spec_tube 1.5 -ogl_spec 50


Woolie Wool's Settings

Woolie Wool's settings use a very focused specular lighting to emphasize the normal maps and model contours, and a high ambient light setting to make lighting more dependent on the mission settings.
  • -ambient_factor 105
  • -no_emissive_light
  • -spec_exp 9
  • -spec_point 0.3
  • -spec_static 0.8
  • -spec_tube 0.7
  • -ogl_spec 120


Note: Copy and paste this line into your launcher's custom flags box to make it work: -ambient_factor 105 -no_emissive_light -spec_exp 9 -spec_point 0.3 -spec_static 0.8 -spec_tube 0.7 -ogl_spec 120