Just ran across this on necros' blog, simulated area light for Quake's light.exe: ...by just placing 24 lights in a roughly spherical shape in the center of the room, all with a brightness of 5.
The accumulated shadows give a little more depth than a single light would, even with aguirre’s -soft option. I think there could be something really cool in this. Say, an editor keyval that tells light.exe to replace the single light with an array of lights to make effects similar to mental ray area lights. You would have to account for dividing the light brightness across the replacement array and you could also factor a sort of ‘internal attenuation’ for each of the lights in the array such that array lights that were closer to the original light had more brightness, and those farther away less.