Light Source Tutorial

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A light source is a non-physical object that shines a light. Its light does not cast shadows (only the sun or the moon can) and can go through walls. It can be of one of these two types:

  • A light point (glowing light source) is an all-directional light source, like a floating lightbulb, that emits light all around it.
  • A light reflector, much like projectors or vehicle headlights, is a beam-shaped light that was introduced in Arma 3 logo black.png2.06 (see this example below).

Such light source is local to the computer where the script has been called; one player could see a light in the dark while another would not have such light "object" created.

Lightpoint with red colour, and blue ambient. Note how the red and blue hues mix to create purple.


Colour set via setLightColor determines the lens flare effect colour, as well as light's first colour.


Colour set via setLightAmbient determines the outer colour shone by the light source.

Light colour does not affect AI spotting ability, but ambient does.


The flare is the "colour point" centre that emits light. It can be visible or invisible (set by setLightUseFlare).

Flare is not visible by day, even using setLightDayLight.

How To

The list of all light source commands can be found in the Lights command group category.

Create a Light Source

private _lightSource = "#lightpoint" createVehicleLocal player modelToWorld [0, 2, 1.5]; // alternatively, a light reflector (cone) can be created since Arma 3 v2.06 private _lightSource = "#lightreflector" createVehicleLocal player modelToWorld [0, 2, 1.5];

A light source is local (and all the light commands take a local argument too), hence createVehicleLocal's usage.

Set Light Colour


_lightSource setLightColor [0.25, 1, 1]; // also defines Flare colour

Ambient Colour

_lightSource setLightAmbient [1, 1, 1]; // sets the colour applied to the surroundings

Set Flare

For the flare to be visible, all the following values (use flare, size, visibility) must be defined and light colour set by setLightColor must not be [0,0,0].

Enable Flare

_lightSource setLightUseFlare true;

Set Flare Size

_lightSource setLightFlareSize 1; // in metre

Set Flare Visibility

_lightSource setLightFlareMaxDistance 100; // in metre

Set Light Brightness

Set Brightness

_lightSource setLightBrightness 8;

Does not work with #lightreflector - use setLightIntensity instead.

Set Intensity

_lightSource setLightIntensity 3000;

Set Attenuation

_lightSource setLightAttenuation [0, 2, 4, 4, 0, 9, 10]; // [start, constant, linear, quadratic, hardLimitStart, hardLimitEnd]

Formula is 1 / (constant + linear × dist + quadratic × dist × dist) - see setLightAttenuation for more information.

Make Light Visible by Day

_lightSource setLightDayLight true; // only for the light itself, not the flare

Set IR

_lightSource setLightIR true;

Set Reflector Angles

Set Cone Parameters

_lightReflector setLightConePars [90, 45, 1];

Set Reflector Volume Shape

_lightReflector setLightVolumeShape ["a3\data_f\VolumeLightFlashlight.p3d", [1, 1, 1]];

Delete Light Source

deleteVehicle _lightSource; // as simple as that


Dark Souls

skipTime -dayTime; _lightSource = "#lightpoint" createVehicleLocal [0,0,0]; _lightSource attachTo [player, [0, 0, 1.5]]; _lightSource setLightColor [0,0,0]; _lightSource setLightAmbient [1,0.8, 0.25]; _lightSource setLightBrightness 0.15;


skipTime -dayTime; private _position = player modelToWorld [0, 20, 1.5]; private _lightSource = "#lightpoint" createVehicleLocal _position; _lightSource setLightColor [0,1,1]; _lightSource setLightAmbient [0.2,0.0,0.3]; _lightSource setLightUseFlare true; _lightSource setLightFlareSize 3; _lightSource setLightFlareMaxDistance 3.5; _lightSource setLightBrightness 4; _lightSource setLightDayLight true; _lightSource spawn { while { sleep 0.05; player distance _this > 2 } do { _this setLightBrightness 4 max (40 / (player distance _this)); }; deleteVehicle _this; };

Heli Spotlight

private _reflector = "#lightreflector" createVehicleLocal [0, 0, 0]; _reflector attachTo [myHeliVariable, [0, 0, 0], "light_l"]; _reflector setLightColor [1, 1, 1]; _reflector setLightAmbient [1, 1, 1]; _reflector setLightIntensity 1e6; _reflector setLightConePars [60, 10, 1]; private _vector3D = [[[0, 1, 0], [0, 0, 1]], 0, -45, 0] call BIS_fnc_transformVectorDirAndUp; _reflector setVectorDirAndUp _vector3D; private _light = "#lightpoint" createVehicleLocal [0, 0, 0]; _light attachTo [myHeliVariable, [0, 0, 0], "light_l"]; _light setLightColor [1, 1, 1]; _light setLightAmbient [1, 1, 1]; _light setLightUseFlare true; _light setLightFlareSize 5; _light setLightFlareMaxDistance 500; _light setLightBrightness 1000; _light setLightIntensity 10;

See Also