Old School Lighting


I was wondering on how to do old school lighting the same as ID Tech 3s or similar in Unreal Engine 4? example would be Quake 3 Arena


The shadows are barely even noticeable which is what i’m trying to aim for at the moment, if there is a way to build lighting which makes it look like the shadows exactly in the picture would be great as that’s the only thing i’m looking to do right now, nothing to do with the textures, or anything just that low barely noticeable/low quality shadows.

Quake 3 doesn’t have shadows in the environment at all, which is why it looks the way it does. I would experiment with removing shadow casting entirely and relying solely on lights with a single bounce, or possibly no bounces at all.

Try enabling Ambient Occlusion and tweaking the settings to reduce the shadows to nearly gone or not that noticeable, as intended. Lower indirect bounces in World Settings Lightmass to 1-3, and disable shadow casting for all lights except skylight / directional light.


The game absolutely has environment shadows, all of the Quake games did.

If you want to get a lightmapping effect similar to Q3A my advice is to:

  1. Make sure your lights are set to STATIC, not stationary. If you use stationary lights the cast shadows will be sharpened.
  2. Use an extremely low lightmap resolution. Apparently in the base Q3A game they used 1 texel per 2 sqft

You’re not going to get something that looks exactly like Q3A, because it does not use HDR. But you should be able to get pretty close.

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1 - Lowest Lightmap resolution possible.

2 - No bounce lighting! Remove all secondary bounce lights from lightmass (I don’t know if you could entirely disable this feature). In short Remove all GI which is essentially boucne lights but also color bleed.

3 - No area lights or HDRI used during lighting, Only point lights spots and directional.

4 - Lowest shadow map resolution during baking to get just enough blurred shadows.

5 - Use Ambient light with no shadows or AO. Back in the days they simply had one point light you could up ambient color uniformly, this was used to avoid any 100% black areas in the map.

Sometimes this was used with attenuation radius to have some ambient areas brighter than others.