Vanilla maps are quite dark during nighttime, but not so dark that you can’t see anything.
Here’s how PEI looks at night.
You might have an urge to use a flashlight but if you are playing on multiplayer you likely don’t want to do that because you will be easily spotted, nightvision goggles might be a better solution for your visibility problem, or are they really?
If you are somewhat knowledgable with the game, you will do what is referred to as ‘gamma-boosting’ to enhance your visibility. Here’s an edited screenshot with exposure turned up to reflect what you can achieve by tuning couple sliders in your graphic drivers software (be it your Geforce Experience or similar AMD software).
It has always caused me a bit of uneasiness that the poor nighttime visibility can be entirely ‘cheated’ and is arguably even better than with nightvision goggles which come with their own disadvantages (such as glowing on your head or imposing a slight fog).
I always think of scenario of being a poor new player getting disproportionaly affected by the fact that they are not aware they can go into Geforce Experience and just turn gamma slider up, something most experienced/tryhard players are well aware of.
So what are the solutions?
The quick and dirty solution is the simplest one - making nights brighter. This is a solution that a fair amount of recent curated maps have implemented due to the above thoughts being well understood by me and some of my fellow creators. Here’s a collection of unedited nighttime screenshots taken on various maps.
You can clearly see what is happening, without straining your eyes like on vanilla maps. There is little to no benefit to gamma-boosting.
There is a downside to this that is worth the mentioning, flashlights and nightvision become fairly redundant, even with that considered, I think the trade-off of visibility being more fair to all players is well worth it.
As a bit of verification I put lighting from Kuwait into PEI and took a picture at night.
It still conveys feeling of nighttime but the visibility is greatly improved.
Other solutions and ideas
There is ofcourse a possibility of making nighttime ‘vantablack’, this is possible to do within Unturned but it would not make great sense without making changes to the maps, such as adding starter loadout that provides a lightsource item or making nights shorter. While this gets rid of gamma boosting I don’t think it’s an ideal solution for vanilla maps.
Another idea I have revolves around making nightvision useful while keeping ‘bright’ nights showcased on images. That idea would require adding a new fog that would be less gradual than current one but rather one that “kicks in” after set distance and is 100% solid after, another, set distance (as example, you could see up to 30m clearly, then it would become a gradual fade towards 100m after which the fog is entirely solid, currently the fog seems to fade out from wherever you’re standing to unverifiable distance adjustable only by a ‘Fog’ slider in the editor). Along with this, nightvision instead of providing fog of its own, could simply remove the fog imposed by nighttime, a greatly ‘unrealistic’ idea but I think it could work. This solution ofcourse would require adding two new features, and doesn’t resolve flashlights being fairly useless, which is why I firstly suggest the easily implementable solution.