Navlight limit?

Setting aside decency and rationality for a moment, is there a limit to the number of light casting navlights I can attach to a ship?

I’m at 30 currently, and only 1-16 are casting light like they’re supposed to. All attributes are identical across all 30 navlights.

A ship can have 16 total lights applied to it. Generally, that should be kept to 4-5 navlights… though if they blink or aren’t on at the same time, higher can be okay. This leaves space for other lights (bay lights, engines, explosions, etc).

Subsystems don’t allow any lights to be cast from them in the upcoming patch.

However, also in the patch is a system to assign ‘channels’ to nav lights that can be affected by certain LUA commands - which will be documented a bit after the patch itself is out.


I had a feeling it was something like that. Time to rethink those hangar lights.

We’re talking only a light casting NavLights here, right? Not all the possition tiny red lights?

@sastrei, it’s a ship, not a Christmas tree!!! ehehehe

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Take a look at some of our ships - I think maybe in the examples and our ‘nav light styles’ files - there are many ways to balance lights that actually cast light…

  • Bake your ‘bay’ surfaces and use the sob_bay shader - but have a light in the bay that casts on anything except the host ship. We do that often.

  • Decorative lights on the main ship take away from battle/dynamic lights on the ship, but it is much worse if they bleed on to other ships and also pull them down - consider flagging those as affecting the host ship only.

  • Light gathering is a radius-based operation, ships with huge radius (MS, etc) tend to gather up LOTS of lights - so really consider the scale of your lights to not end up being considered for too many ships where they just won’t be visible on the surface.

  • Navlights ‘updating’ can actually be a notable percent of the per-frame update time when you have a large army. Avoid using Navlights on small ships where they’re likely to have huge populations. I don’t just mean ‘light casters’ in this context, I mean all Navlights (sprite and casters).

  • Thruster lights are great - but stick to frigate or larger ships to prevent those from overwhelming other lights in the scene when ships are close together.

Correct - there’s no effective limit on sprite Navlights - though you should still consider being conservative, their impact on large-population ships can add up quickly.


16 total lights including the map lights?

is there a limit on engine lights separate from the 16? I haven’t been able to get 16 working lights in a test, it seemed more like 7 or 8

  • Key/Fill/Ambiet
  • 16 Point lights (FX/engines/ships/etc)
  • 16 Beam lights (FX)

If you haven’t seen more, it may just be that the gather radius on the ships is picking up lights in that radius, but not large/close enough to visibly effect the ship surface itself. The gather logic is really just basic radius overlap tests with strength weighting.

You can edit a custom ship shader to show a flat color based on the light count for a specific ship (or add a control to show only one light at a time) if you want to debug. I’ve done that a few times when I wasn’t sure.


Did this ever get “documented” or explained to us?