Light of Night by holbrook
Fallout 3 » Gameplay Effects and Changes
Added: 28/05/2010 - 04:23PM
Updated: 13/12/2010 - 10:09AM

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Uploaded by holbrook


Last updated at 10:09, 13 Dec 2010 Uploaded at 16:23, 28 May 2010

* currently this mod is not designed to work in tandem with fellout. fellout has been updated, but i'm preoccupied with new vegas at the moment. it may or may not work with fellout, i haven't tested it since its update. *


few players seem to ever be satisfied with the default night.

simply... it's bright; very bright.

so of course, this has been addressed and tackled before several times over already, but then... we often if not always reach another problem.

it's dark; unplayable and unrealistically dark.

either by making adjustments and not knowing when to stop/practice moderation leading us to the effort turning into 'overkill', or by putting realism over the ability to actually play and enjoy the game. it's much too dark no matter what the reasoning behind it was.

you can be standing on bright concrete, shiny pavement, or among reflective rocks which would bounce light around; sitting under a clear sky, a full moon, a slew of stars, and among streetlights and fires, yet... despite all these light sources, the world is as dark as the inside of a coffin.

in other words, for a long time it seems, fallout players have had 2 choices for venturing the capital wasteland at night; either "eat your heart out night-vision goggles" brightness, or "i just got blinded by a magnesium flash and then stumbled out into the night" unplayable darkness.

one way is as unrealistic as the other, and even if it was realistic to have the world pitch black despite plenty of light sources, the fact that it's unplayable remains unchanged.

lower levels of light affect your ability to see, that is a fact i'm not trying to dispute. however, your eyes adjust according to the level of light available, and that is also a simple fact that has been repeatedly overlooked.

in low light conditions, your pupil dilates and becomes larger to allow much more light to enter the lens than it would in the middle of a sunny day. it is the same reason why when you walk into a house after being outside in the bright sun for a while, the inside of the house seems very dark despite even turning on the lights (presumably 60 watts). once your eyes have time to adjust though, all is well, and what seemed normal outside before you entered and adjusted would now instead seem far too bright and force you to squint until you've adjusted once again.

the changes in the time of day are drawn out and your eyes easily have enough time to adjust as the day cycles to night and back again, though just after sunset you are at your most blind. yet, either by mods making it seem as though we spent our childhood staring at the sun until our retinas burned out instead of living in a vault with "average at best" lighting for 19 years, or the default game making it seem like someone dropped you and a cat into a FEV tank at the same time, nights in the game have plenty of room for improvement.

so here i have 2 offered solutions, one that is about 50% of the default lighting, and one that is around 30% of the default; they are "moonlight", and "starlight" respectively.


what this mod is not

this mod is not fellout.

it's not made to compete with fellout, it's not made to supplement fellout, it's not made to mimic fellout, and i'm not trying to convince you that you shouldn't be using or enjoying fellout.

at the same time, this mod exists in a lot of ways because of my using fellout before.

fellout had a bigger goal in mind than i did, and our goals were different, but our goals led us to click many of the same buttons.

fellout exists largely in part to make our green and nuclear ridden wasteland a beautiful 'lush green and blue' normal looking world; from the sky, to the land, to the water.

while there's some logic behind that and been debated heavily for both sides, the canon lore in this game says the world has not recovered simply from time passing, and since we've never annihilated most of this planet yet, the ability to prove how things will be after a few thousands nukes is easily debatable. not to mention the main quest you start out on involves purifying the water of the wasteland (both in cleanliness and in terms of radiation) whereas with fellout all the water looks like it came out of an aquafina bottle.

this is however not my concern, what i want to stress is that this mod is not attempting to do what fellout did. which was an entire environmental overhaul based on standpoint of "what the hell are you thinking bethesda? the dust should have settled long ago.".

so the real issue for me isn't the pretty part, it's that fellout's main focus was never satisfactory for what mine and many others' main problem and concern was (the nights).

breaking what the canon lore is isn't a big deal for most of us that use mods, as most of us look at mods at "you made it good, but we'll take care of the finishing touches you overlooked" (or find unprofitable to further effort into~). in the end though, fellout didn't work for me regardless of how much i might agree with the reasoning behind it or how undeniably pretty it may look. during the day when you can actually see it at least.

that being said, and while this isn't the first time someone has attempted to this very same thing, i as well am also including versions of starlight and moonlight that can replace your current fellout.esp so you can "nearly" have both of these at once if you happen to like how i have made the nights.

"nearly"... said in the sense that fellout is such a massive overhaul, that just changing the lighting for nights won't make 'starlight' and its 'fellout counterpart' look identical.

reason being, i can't make fellout's nights look further like my nights without undoing what fellout achieved in the first place. if you want both you're going to have to compromise on one end or the other, all i've adjusted in the fellout esp is the luminosity at night to match this mod. basically, what the light is shining on and in what way will be different, and in many ways.

but as i said, this mod is not fellout, i'm neither made this mod to be lore friendly (though it happens to be) nor to do what fellout did better. all i intended was to make nights satisfactory for once and ran into conflicts (not to mention learning much) with fellout.

screenshots are provided for comparisons between everything concerned.

if you want fellout you can get it here~


you owe it to yourself to at least have a look at it, because as i've said, these two mods are much different in what they were intended to do, and even if related in the types of things they change, all i'm offering you are changes to the night.


what this mod is

options for making the nights in the game more enjoyable, realistic, and immersing to play.

there are 2 options to be precise; starlight, and moonlight.

moonlight: the brighter of the two, and only exists because i think many may still find starlight to be to dark for their play style (shoot first ask questions later) but still want their night to feel like night rather than a cloudy, gloomy day like you'd see around a storm.

more or less it could be thought of as retaining the full playability the default nights offer without it looking like mothership zeta is floating overhead. the nights are definitely darker, but the highlights are the main target here, where midtones and shadows stay pretty much at their previous levels of brightness. leading nights to simply feel much more muted without impairing your ability to see.

starlight: this is my personal preference, and much more accurately depicts your ability to see the world under the night sky, as well as your ability "not to see". it is darker than moonlight, and will affect both visibility and playability, but not render you incapable of playing by any stretch, it will however affect "how" you play though.

this one targets lighting as a whole, killing most of the highlights and a lot of the mid range tones, leaving you with very low contrast lighting like you have in the natural world. your nights will be littered with silhouettes, and you may have to question what this shadowy figure you see is. unlike the other night options though, you can actually see the silhouettes as they're dancing around.

thus, while your ability to easily identify friend from foe in the things you see at night may notably disappear (especially at distance), your ability to fight them does not.

this was the main problem i had with other mods; you're left utterly reliant on v.a.t.s. just to be able to kill so much as a common bloatfly unless you had another mod such as night vision goggles or kept your pipboy light on, begging to be seen and shot by every actor in your cell frame and eliminating the ability to be stealthy at night.

with starlight you will have a nice combination of low light and no light. a building will be visible to your sensitive eyes on the side that is being hit by light, and cloaked in shadow on the other. (exemplified in the screenshots)

the main change you will have in playability is whether you approach from the direction of the light source, or towards it. will they be a shadow to you while your actions are visible, or will you be the shadowy silhouette creeping up on the creatures that are lit up under the light of the moon?

while this unfortunately plays little importance in your ability to sneak (still governed entirely by your sneak skill), it will make a big difference in fighting or pulling off a long range shot.


both of these versions leave everything else but the lighting of your nights the way the developers intended. the water is dirty, the land is dead, and it's up to you, the geck, and possibly good old harold to do what you can to heal the world, if anything is done at all. till then, it's the wonderfully depressing, ravaged, and green wasteland fallout fans have come to love. (unless you do use the fellout version which can only replicate so much)

when browsing and comparing the various screenshots i recommend you open all corresponding comparisons up at once in separate tabs so that you can cycle between with instant effect making the differences apparent. also that you look at them while your browser is maximized so that you have as much of the picture covering your monitor as possible, and as little outside light entering your eyes from whatever else the monitor is displaying.

reason being is that much as i explained above, your eyes adjust to whatever lighting is provided, and in order to see contrast in dark tones well, you need to eliminate as much other light as possible. even the background of this site which is probably considered dark by most, is enough to impact how these screenshots look to you and how well you can see them; let alone what your browser window or desktop may be set to and look like. the difference between looking at these images at night or when sunlight is coming through your window blinds will even make a huge difference as well.

comparison 1 is in the citadel courtyard.
comparison 2 is near the bridge that leads to agatha's house.
comparison 3 and 4 is at the bridge between the citadel and the jefferson memorial.

all other screenshots will be using starlight exclusively unless otherwise noted, but starlight is the one i play with and moonlight is merely the alternative i offer if you still find starlight "too dark".

at first glance, most of these screenshots will look like a bunch of black boxes. in fact depending on your lighting conditions and so forth, some of the comparisons between the other mods might not be visible at all, as you'll see i make no exaggeration at how utterly unplayable they were, but that's the entire concept of what this mod is for. assuredly you can at least see the sky even in the darkest of them though.


one final addendum, as i've mentioned that the daytime conditions and other things will be able to affect your view, so too are your settings, and they are no less important.

there are several things which can affect and potentially already are affecting the end display you see in game for better or worse. they are your graphics card settings (a lot of people often enough never mess with), gamut settings for your operating system (often a pain in the ass to mess with), your monitor's settings (often good and easy to mess with), and the in-game settings.

the best accuracy you can hope for is 'pretty close' usually, as getting "perfection" in calibration requires things like a colorimeter, which even the cheap ones give cheap results, and is highly unnecessary for simply enjoying your display.

my advice to anyone not familiar with altering such things is to never mess with one of these 3 things that doesn't have a nice "restore default" button until and unless you feel comfortable in doing so.

the first place to start regardless of your confidence and know-how is in the game itself. as your monitor, os, and video card settings will affect everything you see, in the game and outside; even this sea of text. the game settings however will only affect your game, and will more or less "imprint" in your screenshots so that one screenshot can not accurately be compared to another without knowing the game's brightness setting. the other 3 will change every thing you can possibly do with your computer, so if you're happy with how your computer displays for everything else, you may want to limit yourself to only changing fallouts options, but you should always at least start with the game settings.

to those curious, i play with the brightness in game set to 0 and all of my images were taken with the brightness in game set that way.

in other words, if my images look too dark to you, you could always easily make it more bright unless you already have the game brightness set as high as it will go.

in the game, you will see a panel with a few shades and tints at the top of your screen when you adjust the brightness settings. on this panel, you want black on the left, white on the right, and to be able to see each step in between these clearly. if you can do that in the game great, if not you may want to adjust your monitor and so forth, and you may just want to put it to what looks best to your eye as well.

remember, being able to play and enjoy the game is more important than being able to say "this seems unequivocally accurate and realistic, and is unquestionably calibrated to perfection". what works for you is always most important.

unfortunately i think this is why bethesda made nights so bright in the first place. they may have tried to make sure it was bright enough for everyone in every condition imaginable. i wonder if they anticipated how many would be unhappy with the nights for the exact opposite though.

anyway, on that chart shown when adjusting the game display...

if the two on the left are completely black/seem to blend with each other/are indistinguishable without eye strain or when you squint, it's too dark.

the same goes for the two blocks on the right, if they are hard to tell apart, the game is too bright.

if the ones in the middle don't make clear and substantial steps, you don't have enough contrast.

now, if no matter how bright or dark you set the game to, you still have trouble with the very dark or very light blocks, you need to adjust one of the other 3 settings.

if contrast is a problem (the middle areas) you'll always have to adjust one of the other 3 as well, as the game doesn't give you many options to adjust visuals unfortunately.

now... every monitor, graphics card driver, and operating system is a case by case basis; so i can only tell you so much on how to go about editing. mostly however, i recommend you don't mess with them unless you really have to, as sometimes things can be a pain to revert back to how you had it, and definitely find what info you can on google or by some other means that will help you to understand your particular situation and how to alter it.

other settings such as hdr [and possibly bloom] can make things brighter by manipulating the final render in how reflections and light is perceived, these were not present in most of my screenshots, but don't be afraid to fiddle with these and other settings as well.

if you do use hdr, the increase in brightness will likely leave you better off with starlight.

in the end, i can't promise you'll be happy with my mod, but i can make one simple guarantee, and it is that my mod (both versions) will be brighter than the other mods listed, and darker than the default game, regardless of how your computer or game is ever calibrated.

that... i can unquestionably assure you because of the raw numbers contained within the data of the game and the mods.

so if you've found the default to be too bright, or other mods are too dark, i hope you'll find that one of my two options provides you with a nice fit for how you want your nights to look.

i also recommend the these two mods greatly...


thank you, and i hope you enjoy it~



moonlight makes the nights in game roughly 50% the original brightness.

starlight will make them about 30% of the default.

both are several times over more bright that any other mod i've tried which left you 1 step above pitch black.

there's an esp to replace your fellout one if you swear by that mod but aren't happy with how dark it made your nights.