Ok, just to make sure there isn't confusion...
When I say realtime light, I mean a light that has the '2050' spawnflag on. When I say non-realtime light, I mean a light without that spawnflag. Let's begin.
I've been making maps for a while now for tenebrae 1. I've always used realtime lights, simply because I thought they were the only ones that produced bump-maps/specularity. This is slow. I tried, just to see, if using non-realtime lights would help (because they produce a lightmap, if I understand correctly). This did indeed help, providing almost double the frames compared to realtime light WITH specular and bump... hurray.
To my shegrin, however, some lights do not light up, only providing a (very) weak 'ambient' light (no bump, no specularity). But a certain amount of lights do light up (I've counted 10 and 11). Now, whenever I try to copy/paste a 'working' light to replace a non-working light, it seems as though the working lights shift and a new configuration of working lights occurs, resulting in different areas being lit.
I thought this was a limitation on number of lights (non-realtime) or the radii of the lights cannot overlap or something, but that is ridiculous.
Please help me with this problem. (Yes, I did use the 'Search' button, so no sarcastic comments please ;) )
I've sorted it out. What I didn't understand was that lights with spawnflags 2050 were casting realtime shadows and without 2050, they weren't... something missed a step in the processes of my mind...
Anyway, there's a flag for that, pflags 1. As you all probably know. I still don't know why the other way 'sort of' works, but never mind. It works now, that's what counts ;)
When you don't do anything special to your lights they will be treated like normal quake1 lights.
That means (like you observed) some lights will be real time lit, and others not, the criteria is based on an overlap test of the bounds (like you also observed correctly). The reason for this is not an engine limitation but a hack to be compatible with original quake1 maps. If this hack would not be there literaly hundreds of lights would be rendered making the game very slow. (Because in q1 lights where precalculated and they didn't have to care about the number of lights in total, so they used lods)
Hope this solves all your questions :)
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