The Importance (and impact) of lighting in video game design

It is often overlooked and frequently is an after thought when it comes to making video games but lighting is one of the most critical aspects of any good video game. Lighting creates atmosphere and mood. And it enhances the emotional content of your game. You have to think about the lighting right from the very beginning and integrate it right into your levels or games. This is something that movie makers know well. And it is something that every good game maker knows too.

Every type of video game design and creation software has extensive tools for manipulating the lights in a level or game. This includes Genesis 3D, Reality Factory and FPS Creator. Spend the time to learn how to manipulate the lights in your dungeons and levels and you will be very satisfied with how dramatically different your games become.

skeleton and lampThink about lighting early in your game development stage. Lighting, as in anything else will be much easier to handle if you can bring it into the early stages of development. If you have a clear idea of how rooms, areas, and sub areas will be lit you can save yourself a lot of work. For example if you are creating a corridor segment with a single dull light you can create the whole assembly of corridor segment and light together then simply clone or copy it over and over. No need to go back and change all the lights once you have set a light and then cloned it.

In this tutorial I created a room with FPS Creator and then I ran it as a test. I show you what it looks like with all of the normal light settings. I then went back and in about 2 minutes I manipulated the lights by changing their colors and intensities. Then I load up that room and show you the difference.

 

Simple example of lighting and how it affects a games feel and look

 

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