Battlefield 3 night time mod is a tense stab in the dark

    Modder Kiwidog has turned out the lights on some of Battlefield 3′s brightest maps. The mod snuffs out the sun, but surfaces can still be illuminated by gun fire, street lights and explosions. The results are surprisingly tense and, thanks to Frostbite 2′s extraordinary lighting capabilities, strangely beautiful. Smoke seems to have its own gentle illumination, which makes it possible to pick out foes as silhouettes among the debris. Check out these videos of the mod in action, spotted over on PCGamesN.

    The mod will be running on private, punkbuster-free servers for now, but the night time mod demonstrates that it’s possible to monkey around with Frostbite 2. Months before Battlefield 3 came out, DICE exec Patrick Söderlund poured cold slime over the possibility of mod tools. “If you look at the Frostbite engine, and how complex it is, it’s going to be very difficult for people to mod the game,” he said.

    But WHY, Patrick? “Because of the nature of the set up of levels, of the destruction and all those things… it’s quite tricky. So we think it’s going to be too big of a challenge for people to make a mod.” Oh.

    Not too big it seems. Here’s a trailer, and footage of some chaps fighting on a pitch black Grand Bazaar:

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    CLUTCH says:

    01:23pm September 3 2012

    EA/Dice patch out new mod...Release 'night time' DLC...only £11.99!

    Fearpoint's avatar

    Fearpoint says:

    07:32pm September 3 2012

    Never going to happen. DICE doesn't comprehend the concept of "night" being dark in Battlefield games. Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 both have "night" maps yet neither are truly dark like this mod.


    Battlefield 2 had legit night maps in Special Forces but it looks like the guy who understood what night means was probably let go years ago.

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    draphius says:

    08:07pm September 3 2012

    i think the guys who understood what battlefield was were also let go cause BF3 is a direct sequel to bad company 2 and in no way resembles BF2

    user has no avatar

    Circa_War says:

    04:24am September 4 2012


    If that is true, then they didnt do a very good job of making it any Bad Company 2. And I really, really wish they had...

    user has no avatar

    DaGleese says:

    12:13pm September 4 2012

    @draphius, i disagree, but for all the right reasons.

    they didnt make it like bf2, but it also wasnt like bfbc2 either... it was more like a steaming pile of horse manure that keeps screaming GIVE ME MORE MONEY, AND ILL BECOME GOOD FINALLY! I PROMISE THIS TIME!!!

    Sir.Talbot's avatar

    Sir.Talbot says:

    06:38pm September 6 2012

    @Fearpoint You speak the sad truth about BF3 as a whole.

    Anonymous's avatar

    The Original Neurotic says:

    02:32pm September 3 2012

    I love how DICE spent years as gaming heroes, working their way up from the gutters of modding to the highest echelons of corporate bankrolling, and now they're just another whipping post.

    contrapositive's avatar

    contrapositive says:

    02:22am September 4 2012

    This made me smile.

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    sproyd says:

    09:20am September 4 2012

    You are so right and I am honestly gutted about this. It just goes to show - even if you are the coolest indie in the world if you sell out to a publicly listed giant eventually your soul will be eroded in favour of corporate profiteering which prefers repetition to innovation.

    user has no avatar

    HadToLogin says:

    01:23pm September 3 2012

    Can't wait for official DICE/EA statement. Here's my guesses:

    a) banning for breaking TOS which disallow modifying game files

    b) "told you Frostbite 2 is way too hard for modders, he needed nearly one year to change sun into moon, which we can do with our maptools in 5 seconds".

    0ktane's avatar

    0ktane says:

    04:12pm September 3 2012

    ^--- This guy only needed USAS-12 + Frags. :)

    user has no avatar

    PS2viciado says:

    01:19pm September 3 2012


    If we can do this much without mod tools, just imagine if we had them....

    damn greedy assholes and their DLCs

    adspie's avatar

    adspie says:

    08:36pm September 3 2012

    "stop you fool! we still milking hard the BF franchise, mod SDK for only $39.99" -DICEA

    Anonymous's avatar

    COGlory says:

    01:18pm September 3 2012

    Just thinking how much better this could be is DICE couldn't sell us map packs.

    Err, I mean, made mod tools.

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    Racshasas says:

    02:13pm September 3 2012

    the dumb thing is the 2 aren't mutually exclusive. Look at oblivion which

    is incredibly modable but the shivering isles is thought of as one of the

    best expansion packs ever and tons of people bought it. You can still make

    dlc/expansions with map making tools available you just have to make sure

    the maps are something special.

    user has no avatar

    HadToLogin says:

    03:43pm September 3 2012

    @Racshasas: Exactly, "something special". Without modtools they can also release bunch of more-or-less shitty stuff and people will buy it anyway... And with modtools you have to watch out what you release - Bethesda is still also remembered for releasing most hated DLC - horse armor. And lately there was a bit of shitstorm after they announced they will basically sell us a mod (maybe it will be something better than mod, but really, right now it feels like it's just one more house to buy and one new line for dialogue about adopting...).

    SAY!Steez's avatar

    SAY!Steez says:

    07:36pm September 3 2012

    @Racshasas Yea Oblivion was good till they started milking that money train with Skyrim.. Sorry but these DLCs that they're releasing now is worse than what DICE is doing..

    RobCoxxy's avatar

    RobCoxxy says:

    08:37am September 4 2012

    Then again, BF2/ they had the right idea. Patch in some new maps every now and then, let them mod away; and oh look, they're still buying our expansion packs.

    EA seem to have had some sort of aneurysm at the idea we'd simply make their maps for free.

    Anonymous's avatar

    Wolfos says:

    03:18pm September 3 2012

    An engine is never too complex for modders. It's just code for "I'm sorry, but we're releasing a shitload of DLC so we can't have people make maps for free".


    The mod looks pretty terrible, though. All smoke consists of unlit particles, so it looks terribly lit.

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    6677 says:

    05:55pm September 3 2012

    Thats a feature of a few engines to not calculate lighting on particle effects. Lighting calculations are incredibly CPU and GPU intensive, doing it on one small map is already a mammoth of a task, let alone on particles aswell...

    Does seem to be an oversight though in a game that I would have though would have some night maps eventually (modded or DLC).

    Wolfos's avatar

    Wolfos says:

    06:35pm September 3 2012

    Yeah, most particle shaders do that.

    user has no avatar

    Galient5 says:

    07:03pm September 3 2012

    I think it looks cool, might not be realistic but it adds to it a bit, like it captures even the most minuscule light.

    user has no avatar

    SturmovikDrakon says:

    03:39pm September 3 2012

    I actually find Planetside's Forgelight lighting capabilities much more impressive. DICE couldn't even get their sun right...

    user has no avatar

    SJGSpook says:

    03:42pm September 3 2012

    The lighting in BF3 was a good reason to stop playing it. It is annoying as fuck.

    Wolfos's avatar

    Wolfos says:

    03:48pm September 3 2012

    That's just their post processing + lens flares. I have seen a picture showing BF3 without post processing and it looked a lot better than with all that bullshit.


    Forgelight is very impressive, although it should look a lot better in indoor environments. It can't compete with Autodesk Beast, though, and you can't compare the two because BF3 has static lighting and PS2 is completely dynamically lit.

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    TheVGamer says:

    05:32pm September 3 2012

    It's trickery made to impress the console crowd because those petty machines can't handle much. I have no doubts BF3 would look great if it too was a PC exclusive.

    Wolfos's avatar

    Wolfos says:

    05:52pm September 3 2012

    @TheVGamer BF3 looks great. It's just that brightness somehow makes things more realistic for some reason (seriously, I tested this but refuse to use the effect).

    user has no avatar

    Shooop says:

    11:04pm September 4 2012

    You mean you don't get a proper sun by slapping in bloom and lens flare? Inconceivable!

    user has no avatar

    R0gueHunt3R says:

    04:09pm September 3 2012

    The reason that DICE will never release mod tools is because the modding community would make an utter fool of them, in terms of comparative content.

    user has no avatar

    JayMeHD says:

    01:19pm September 3 2012

    Not to be a party pooper here but it really does not look good at all.

    I admire the effort, but it just does not look good with 100% lack of lights. Maybe if they figure out how to have street lights illuminated I'd give it a shot.

    user has no avatar

    Korey Von Doom says:

    01:23pm September 3 2012

    I think that's partly the point, because as you can see with a DICE made

    night map, there is NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE from a day map except a blue


    Edit: Yeah Street lights would make a difference, but I guess since DICE now hates it's customers, we won't know. And In real night time, in the middle of a desert, you can't see shit.

    PoulWrist's avatar

    PoulWrist says:

    01:30pm September 3 2012

    Except you're wrong about that Korey Von Doom :) but whatevs.

    user has no avatar

    stopWASD says:

    02:56pm September 3 2012

    I agree, it looks ridiculous. Go outside, look around, this has nothing to do with how night time looks. ^^

    Not only are there no weird luminescent clouds of white dust floating around in the darkness, but the blackness of everything else is extremely overdone. It's almost as if they just removed the textures and replaced them with black images.

    As Jay put it, I do also admire the effort, but I don't get how this can make it as publishable news.

    user has no avatar

    HadToLogin says:

    03:35pm September 3 2012

    This whole news is telling that even through DICE said "f*ck you modders, your 2 st00pid to mod our game" there is someone who was able to do something with it, without their help or anything.

    And now, knowing that someone can edit game files like this without DICE help, try to imagine about what we could read if proper mod tools were released. But, I'm guessing making few maps and selling them for $60 is better than having people making hundreds of maps, sometimes with even totally new gamestyles (as opposed to Valve-shooters-scene, with it's zombie, soccer, volleyball, f*ck-knows what else map/mods - and those are probably most simple things you can do...).

    user has no avatar

    debux says:

    10:29pm September 3 2012

    I think you guys don't see the potential. Why stop here? Do you think they're really going to stop there, not really caring about how bad it currently looks? The concept is great, and given enough time and motivation, as well as support, it can turn out into the best add-on for BF3, even better than the paid DLCs!

    user has no avatar

    Scaramoosh says:

    03:29pm September 3 2012

    Not really realistic night time lighting, looks as if all they did was make the skybox black and take out the environmental lighting.

    Anonymous's avatar

    TDawg55 says:

    04:29pm September 3 2012

    It would seem my original thoughts were right: The only reason DICE doesn't release mod tools/map tools/SDK is so they can sell DLC to grub more money and emulate CoD even more.

    adspie's avatar

    adspie says:

    08:40pm September 3 2012

    100% true under EA umbrella, DICE is not old DICE anymore,they sold their soul to EA already!

    user has no avatar

    SturmovikDrakon says:

    10:28pm September 3 2012

    Their DLC would still sell but both EA and DICE are stupid not to understand this

    user has no avatar

    illegallyUgly says:

    05:39pm September 3 2012

    Weird smoke aside, I find this awesome! BF3 could really use mod tools, the game would finally live up to its full potential... DICE has proven that they are not up to the task! I know they just basically turned off all the lights but still.

    Did they release a statement in reply to this? I can't wait to read their reaction given what they said pre launch regarding mod tools!

    user has no avatar

    loshon says:

    09:10pm September 3 2012

    Good lord people, everyone has completely misinterpreted a selective, out of context quote from DICE. They reason they can't' release mod tools is because the REDISTRIBUTION LICENSING is too complex, not that modders couldn't figure it out. This was clarified in the original interview. Frostbyte is a collection of 10-20 separate technologies that EA would have to shell out huge bucks for to redistribute, money that, from their perspective, wouldn't make it worth it.

    user has no avatar

    spartan0078 says:

    03:02pm September 3 2012

    It bugged me that the game only had one night level and it was only in Rush mode. The game looks so awesome at night with all the bullets and ballistics flyung through the air. They should just patch in a nighttime mode for each map!

    user has no avatar

    Korey Von Doom says:

    04:38pm September 3 2012

    Which of course will cost at least $10 for each person.

    Anonymous's avatar

    PeterTechGuy says:

    03:33pm September 3 2012

    This is more like Darkness Mod than Night Time Mod.

    user has no avatar

    DroKing88 says:

    06:02pm September 3 2012

    Lol wow... I just saw a obvious terrible slow registry system. As he ran across the alleyway and bam hes dead behind the wall? Im glad I never bought into the hype.

    adspie's avatar

    adspie says:

    10:12am September 4 2012

    hey you forget to mention how bad their "NETCODE" was, and still they didn't stop releasing DLC considering the game are still broken, they prioritized FIRST how to milk the game instead of patching the game.

    user has no avatar

    DaGleese says:

    12:33pm September 4 2012

    Yeah, im glad for you, unfortunatly i did buy into the hype, and i've had an extreme case of buyers remourse ever since...

    BF3 is one of the most epic pc title failiures in recent years in my eyes. Terrible necode, terrible graphics (not bad visuals, but i'm colour blind, and the camoflage and extremely vibrant colours in some maps just fucks with my head)

    They put a colour blind mode in there, but that only changes team overhead and minimap colours...

    Anonymous's avatar

    adspie says:

    08:44pm September 3 2012

    So where is @TacticalNuclearPenguin & @R3DT1D3 a.k.a PAID EA BF3 defenders here on PCG site?!?!

    user has no avatar

    Nocturnal7x says:

    10:11pm September 3 2012

    "the lighting is great" that looks like shit. Black everywhere with white smoke...looks fuckin dumb lol. DICE should release mod tools at the risk of everyone thinking their engine is complete shit, because this video makes it look like shit. Is this why there were no night maps? Frostbite 2 has horrendous lighting and pixel shading?

    user has no avatar

    Doomguy852 says:

    10:17pm September 3 2012

    And Dice said it took a rocket scientist to figure out the engine, nice job modders.

    Anonymous's avatar


    12:59pm September 4 2012

    i Stopped playing BF3 a while ago now, wasted money on it. One thing i hate so much, the fact that i cant talk to my team/squad by Voice. Bloody stupid that Auto sync battlelog squad chat is not available. DAMN U CRAP-A

    Anonymous's avatar

    Graill says:

    06:57am September 20 2012

    Iraq, the first go around, December 1990 (yes the year is correct). I am a sgt, we are towing an M1A1 that blew its forward mod, (sand was hell on turbines), in my M-88, its night time...Pitch black, stars in the sky, no moon, and we can see about 25 meters in front of us, no blackout or ir so we do not get detected, nightvision is nearly useless, no light, just a nice olive drab glow and grainy sandbrush and sand. A first Lewy in a Hummer is leading us via map and blackout compass....with a solid steel cold rolled broken torsion bar (part of the tank suspension)one end sticking up front next to him (the plot thickens, think about steel and compasses). We travel for hours in featureless sand, then we see lights in the distance, we hear our secure light up as the lewy tries to contact the base, nothing. We get closer, the lewy says to stop and waits for the longest damn time. My driver and i are conversing about the situation when we see green tracers start to arc up....our way but they fall well short. I contact the lewy and say, "Umm, Lieutenant, our tanks and brads dont use green/white tracers....", just then a main gun round from a tank in the distance, cant see it but you know what it is, arcs up, slowly at first and and then descends really fast, a near max range shot, hits about 50 yards in front and to the right, the concussion rock us all just a bit but it isnt bad, then nothing, they are feeling us out as they do not know who we are. About that time i hear the aux pump of the tank i am towing engage and the abrupt shake as the tank turret slews left hard and the hydralic brake engages to stop it as the gunner dumps his lead, lases to the target and the main gun adjusts, its fast and brutal movement we can feel through the towbar. My driver and i are down inside talking when all this happens and we say "Oh shit!" at the same time, we pop back out of the hatches and our maduece gunner looks at us and says "he going to fire?". The gunner, whom we forgot about briefly during this incident was sleeping in the tanks gunner seat, when the one main round hit, he switched the thermals from standby and handloaded a sabot round by himself and then got back in his gunners seat, he then told the lewy over our net "Tank, 3 oclock, identified, sabot indexed, tracking!", this happened fast and the gunner was only waiting on the lewies order to fire. The next part you had to hear, so comical, the lewy told the gunner to please take his fingers off the handles and trigger and put the gun in safe, we hear this because we have the tank on our secure maint freq, the lewy asks the gunner how many he sees, after a second or two the gunner replies he has 8 heat signatures at 4800 meters, well out of range of accurate shooting for them but not us, even with a half broke dick tank. The Lt makes the right call and we slowly do a 180, after we tell the lewy the torsion bar has been screwing up his compass for the last 5 hours, he sheepishly agrees to finally let us throw it on the back of our 88 and we travel back another 6 hours and dawn, the base wondering where the hell we were at, i told my motor sergeant we just came from the kuwait iraq border, we got shot at, it was fun (sarcastic look), he just looked over at the lt and called him stupid. And yes i thought about ATmines the whole time during that trip, Lt caught holy hell.

    user has no avatar

    SKENG says:

    02:00pm September 3 2012

    That looks awful.

    user has no avatar

    krazyxazn says:

    05:34pm September 3 2012

    Yea these guys didn't do all the much. All it seems is just light sources removed and added headlines. This isn't the kind of mods DICE was referring too in their statement :P

    Anonymous's avatar

    ObliqueZombie says:

    01:37am September 4 2012

    Man, if only this game wasn't a waste of $40 for me. Can't even play or enjoy the game without dishing out another $50 for the premium pack and get all the maps--it's the same two or three maps for me on the same two game types. All thanks to those damn player-owned servers; or a lack of dedicated servers, whichever sucks worse.


    Nice mod, though. Seems a little unrealistically dark, but I thought it was awesome all the same.

    user has no avatar

    DaGleese says:

    12:28pm September 4 2012

    This ought to stop those damn camping snipers >:-D

    Anonymous's avatar

    Ramboness says:

    01:40pm September 4 2012

    Needs some more lens flare

    Anonymous's avatar

    Highwayman says:

    04:51pm September 11 2012

    needs more cowbell

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