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TyrUtils V0.11
TyrUtils v0.11 has been released:

*Support BSP2 format (qbsp requires the "-bsp2" command line option)
*qbsp: Fix animating texture bug when brushes are textured with alt-animations
* qbsp: Fix a crash in tjunc calculations
* qbsp: Exit with error if verticies exceed 65535 (BSP29 limit)
* qbsp: Add experimental "-forcegoodtree" command line option (thanks Rebb)
* vis: reduce "leaf recursion" error to a warning and continue processing

Download from the utils page as usual (Win32 / OSX / source).
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Could be anti-lights, or skip textured invisibrush 
MFX Wins 
it's a func_wall with a skip texture and _shadows 1. 
Light Thoughts 
I wonder would a radiosity solution work better for sunlight than just spawning multiple fake light entities. It needn't have bounced light (that's not radiosity, that's indirect lighting), just surfaces emitting light.

Using visdata (if present) to accelerate lighting seems to be something that nobody has ever done in the Quake tools. The Quake 2 tools do this and it should work quite well.

High res lighting could in theory be done by just taking the output of a -extra (etc) pass and using it directly. Would need engine support, dynamic lights and animated lightstyles would become slower to update, and shadows would start becoming harder-edged with more noticeable stair-stepping. I'm not sure it's a great idea. 
How hard would it be to add an option to up the resolution of lightmaps? That alone I think would improve Quake visuals a ton. I know it would require some engine level fiddling and tool changes, but I wonder how much REALLY. 
High Resolution Lightmaps 
The biggest problem with these is updating of dynamic lights and animated lightstyles. It's not a question of work, it's a question of performance. 
Just thread it? 
Nice idea for software but in GL it all happens in glTexSubImage2D. 
Sorry for noob question, but I saw some comments in the Beyond Belief in one map thread that made me wonder if I can add AO to maps by recompiling them with TyrLite? I saw some AO screenshots and it looked really nice. In short, can I recompile the vanilla game's bsp's (and other ones as well of course) and get those nifty effects - or is it more involved than that? 
Nope, it really is that easy. Extract bsp from pak, relight with -dirtwhatever, play and ogle.

Should distribute a batch file that does all the stock maps. end.bsp might even look half decent. 
BTW Lunaran 
When you have a chance to play with it, curious how the _sunlight2 in the latest build compares to what you were doing!
The actual sun positionong I took from the "skylight" feature in q3map2 
i redid the quake maps but found dirt mapping isn't as awesome in those as you would think.

the real benefit comes from outdoor areas that use the modern _sunlight method because that yields completely flat light on its own, and the dirt mapping comes in and makes it awesome.

id had done all their lighting with point lights which already gives a bit of a dirt mapping look.

so yeah, dirt mapping does improve the lighting in oldschool lit maps, but the real benefits will be maps that relied a little too much on minlight or had big outdoor _sunlight areas. 
eric, will test, recovering form hard drive replacement 
eric, will test, recovering form hard drive replacement minor surgery. 
Get well soon! :-) 
Cool, thanks! 
BSP Split Priority 
I may be talking out of my arse here, because I don't know the tools code very well, but I was thinking....

You know how face splits due to fiddly details (thin bars, steps, walltorch holders etc.) can often cut across lots of geometry, and it sucks?

I was wondering - if it was possible to influence the order in which faces get split, could it improve the situation?

To wit - imagine a key which you could put on a func_detail (or func_group) - i.e. "_split_priority" or something - then bsp uses this to order the way faces get split so you can constrain fiddly details to splitting just the immediately adjacent faces by making them func_ and giving them a lower split priority. You could even have more than one func_ butting into each other, and use different _split_priority on them to really micro-manage the order of splitting.

Caveat - just the rumblings of someone who doesn't know much about quake's BSP algorithm, but does any of this sound interesting / make sense? 
faces do not define leafs, thus in theory, it should be possible to just omit the splits entirely (maybe revert to the original surface if it got split in too many ways without being disjointed, but still clip it to any outer-edge planes of the fragments).
this would result in more overdraw (without randomly spewing into walls too much), but software rendering is supposed to be zero-overdraw anyway, while hardware renderers should be fast enough to not care.
the catch is that it would take more edges, but at least you wouldn't feel like you had to spend all your time building the bsp tree by hand only for it to mess up again when you change something. 
Sorry for another noob question, but how do I actually run TyrLite? I've used PAK Explorer to extract a bsp, but then I'm stumped. Well, I guess I must run a command line, telling it to execute light.exe and then adding lines pointing to the bsp and detailing what to do, but I don't find any info in the readmes on how to do it. And it didn't help much to google command line utilities either. In short, is there "run a command line utility for dummies" or some such guide? 
Sure, just put light.exe and the map you want to light (say e1m1.bsp) in a folder like c:\\mapping.
Launch the windows command prompt, cmd. (iirc, start->run, then enter cmd.exe, or search for "cmd" at the windows 8 start screen)

cd c:\\mapping
light.exe -dirt e1m1.bsp
those double slashes should just be one slash 
cd:\\\\\\\\\mapping\\\\\light.exe \\\\\ 
To Expand On Ericw's Post 
to relight all maps this way:
- make a folder: c:/maps
- extract all the maps into this folder
- put light.exe into this folder
- open notepad and paste this into it:
for %%A in (*.bsp) do light -threads 4 -extra4 -dirty -dirtmode 1 -dirtdepth 160 -dirtscale 2.1 -dirtgain 0.7 %%A
- save text file as run.bat

double click run.bat

also try fiddling with the numbers like -dirtdepth and -dirtscale. i think they are set really high because I was testing stuff. now my maps are really dark and I'm too lazy to try to fix it. 
uh, put run.bat in the same folder, btw 
woooooooo.... made a folder called "dirty" with all the dirty stuff added. 
Minor Update 
osx win src

Only one change, key/value "_dirt" "-1" is supported on brush model entities (func_door, etc), this disables dirtmapping on that bmodel. Useful in combination with bmodel-specific "_minlight" if you have a door that touches or sticks into the world, and you want to prevent those parts from turning black from the AO. 
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