Texture lights or entity lights?

Personally I use whatever is appropriate (which is usually entity lights) but what do you guys think?
Any reasons to avoid texture lights?

The real question to me is is there any reason to avoid entity lights? So far I haven’t found a good case where texture lights were clearly superior. They’re a vestigial element from goldsrc in my opinion.

For long strip lights that aren’t models?

The only reason I could see the use texture lights would be to be frugal with entities (like if you were near the entity limit), but that doesn’t always work of course.

In my opinion I would rather use two (maybe three) light entities than fiddle with .rad files (simple as they are); it’s another level of complexity that can usually painlessly be avoided

… Now I guess there are extreme cases where using multiple entities can add up, but in general I don’t think that’s a common scenario

Texture lights actually just generate light entities along the texture surface, so they still count towards the entity limit.

so essentially the only case in which they’re useful is where you’d wish to have lights along a large illuminated surface and didn’t want to spend the time placing them.

[editline]10th October 2014[/editline]

I think I’ve seen a grand total of one map that’s done this, that bluehills sandbox map. Too bad the train circuit in which they’re used is only a boring round-cornered rectangle.

Radiosity based lights (light, light_spot, light_environment) don’t count towards the entity limit. They may count towards some entity limit if they’re named for switching.

The only two issues with texture lights is making them look good and getting the lightmap scale on them right so they don’t eat all of the lightmap data. Large texture lights like what I did on lavagiant:


Can quickly eat all of the lightmap data if you make the lightmap scale too small.

Entity lights are good to make artificial lights, while brush based are good to imitate natural, sun lighting (windows, etc).

I really like the way brush lighting can look depending on the style of map you’re going for. This was a map I made up pretty quickly to test some mechanics of a gamemode I was working on.


$selfillum is great for things like tv screens, instrument panels, etc where you need more control over when a surface needs to look like it’s giving off light.