Night time visibility, gamma boosting and nightvision

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.


Looking at what players are doing to change your game might be a good indication to what you need to fix, and in most cases, it could be a fairly simple adjustment/fix (:


Instead of making the nights lighter, you can do the opposite: make them even darker so that the image is completely black, and any adjustments won’t work. You can also add post-processing filters: graininess, posterization, lower contrast and saturation, with gamma enhancement it will look like crap.


That’d just make the game incredibly unfun and annoying to play, if you’ve ever played RUST, you’ll know how bad the nights are in that game if you’re just starting out, now multiply that with Unturned’s gameplay loop and it’d ruin half of your time in game

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I did mention in the post making nights entirely black as one of the solutions (anything other than solid black will simply not work due to filters) but I’m not sure if it’s the right solution for vanilla maps, as that idea on its own won’t function that great without additions such as starter loadout consisting of a torch or something along those lines (reasoning being it would be pretty bad to be stuck in nighttime with no way to see unless you find a light source, but that does not cover joining the server during nighttime, hence the starter light).

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Antarctica night was brutal man, you legit didnt see anything

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Maybe in addition to some of the make night darker suggestions, Maybe make day brighter as well, that way if there is still an attempted gamma boost, it starts to make it harder to see during the day

probably a bad idea tho, but I think its worth testing it

For the reasons I already mentioned I don’t believe making nights darker would do anything of value (unless it was vantablack like mentioned but I have also explained why I’m not sure if it’s the ideal solution for vanilla maps). Making days brighter would not achieve anything, I believe everyone who uses filters (such as the ones from Geforce Experience) switches them only for the night as having your gamma boosted during daytime is not pleasant, the point is it takes couple clicks to switch them on/off.


make the night dark so you can’t see most things far away
make glowsticks to be usable as a flashlight
make the player only see want is close to him like in DayZ when w out a light source
some people forget this was supposed to be a survival game honestly sniping in nighttime just as daytime makes 0 sense also it would give the NV scope a purpose since it is just a throwaway item maybe it’s just me

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I think it would be wonderful if vanilla nights were as bright as they are on the newer curated maps.
New players already struggle too much with zombies as it is, now on top of that add veteran players going all tryhard with the gamma trick and suddenly its not even fair to them anymore.

I think nightvision and flashlights serve their purpose in cave locations just fine.


I did posted this a month ago, and players seems to dislike the idea basically because they dont want to everyone have the same advantages (this is commonly know that players don’t like to things that are “op” be fixed or nerfed), on this case the disadvantage from new playes who don’t know about this gamma issue vs tryhards players who plays with the gamma at 200% and others don’t so they’re at a disadvantage

So, with the facts that night bright can be “cheated” just changing the screen video settings and Unturned is supossed to be a simplistic/cartoon-look game that not necessarily needs a Rust-like night where you can’t see anything also making it annoying and ugly, and even ALL the latest curated maps have those nice brighter nights (and community speaks A LOT of what things of the game need to be fixed or added) I totally agree that this need to be changed

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I am personally not a fan of the bright nights of recent maps, but Ren is correct: This is a problem the community is attempting to address. I do not personally like their solution, but it is a problem to address since night time looting is painful as it currently stands. Personally, I think the night time “fog wall” suggestion is the best. It keeps stealth more viable at night, it makes the immediate area around the player easier to explore, and it makes the gamma cheat almost redundant.


I think making nights darker and making them have purpose (e.g. some special loot is unlocked if you are playing at in-game night) is an admirable idea for new curated content. It adds up to the map’s gameplay and enhances map’s variety.

This is how default night’s lighting looks without gamma boosting:

With gamma boosting:

Dark night, with the fog and ambiance lighting options toggled ON / to a clear black colour:

Dark night with gamma boosting:


That’s a better way of fixing the night visibility issue IMO.

Gamma boosting is always a super interesting discussion in PvP games. I’m glad so many players have been able to recognize the two most common arguments (and solutions) people have. But to reiterate them…

  • Opinion A: Gamma boosting is an advantage/exploit that renders many items worthless, and bypasses the point of darkness in a PvP game. It’s not fun to die to someone who shouldn’t have been able to see you. Nights should be maker darker to make gamma boosting more difficult.

  • Opinion B: Visibility is important in skill-based PvP games, and darkness can give an advantage to less skilled players. It’s not fun to die to someone you couldn’t see. Nights should be made brighter so there’s less of a disadvantage against gamma boosting players.

It hasn’t been touched on that much in this topic, but another common perspective has to do with accessibility. A lot of games also have mechanics based on the inability to see clearly (e.g. restricting FOV sliders). Many visibility issues also come from hardware differences (cheap monitors, poorly-calibrated monitors, etc.).

There’s a lot of ways to make nights darker, but if you want to limit gamma boosting you need to reduce contrast. If you wanted to do this without making the nights darker, you could instead use a thick black/blue fog. Capping the view distance for everyone instead. This can sometimes be a tad jarring though.

I found @Liebesleid’s point that NVG/flashlights are still useful in caves to be interesting.


Ehem, actually night vision googles on caves are useless XD You can clearly see with a flashlight, headlamp or with the tactical light, but if you use a night vision goggle (the military or civil one) you wont see anything as if you were not using one

Nightvision not working in caves may be a bug to look into, they should work just fine in them.

Nightvision goggles do function in ‘no-light’ zones:

Honestly though if their use would be delegated purely to this, they could be made brighter.

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If you can recreate this and post a screenshot of it, that’d be great. Otherwise the other posters above are correct that they should work just fine.

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Sure! Here’s an example:

No light on Germany caves

Civilian goggles

MIlitary goggles

Any light source like flashlight, headlamps or tactical lights

As you can see it affects the fog and amount of light itself, and you would probable want to have nothing instead of those goggles for caves, which is very weird since they should exist for that

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