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Hi. I'm Josh Ols. Lead Graphics Developer for RUST LTD.


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Now that I've got Radially Symmetric Reflection Maps (RSRMs) figured out, it's time to tackle the rest of my ambient lighting solution. So the next logical step for improving lighting quality is to introduce Ambient Occlusion (AO). As my plan is to go the route of deferred shading, the natural choice for getting the best visuals is Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO).



My long-time readers might recall that I have touched on this topic before, getting acceptable results for the time. However, I recently came across a new implementation that is both cheaper and more visually pleasing than my previous choice. For implementation details, check out the gamedev.net article "A Simple and Practical Approach to SSAO".


Here you can see the results I got when I combined this technique with RSRMs. In each shot, the AO is correctly applied to just the ambient diffuse & specular contributions. The direct lighting is currently unshadowed, so it is not as good as it could be.



[RSRM, SSAO] ssao only [SSAO] ssao, old implementation

Figure 1. 1, New; 2, Old

(Model by Ben Mathis)



[RSRM, SSAO] Ambient diffuse w [RSRM, SSAO] Ambient diffuse wo [RSRM, SSAO] Ambient specular w [RSRM, SSAO] Ambient specular wo [RSRM, SSAO] composite w [RSRM, SSAO] composite wo

Figure 2. 1, Diffuse w; 2, wo; 3, Specular w; 4, wo; 5, Composite material w; 6, wo

(Model by Ben Mathis)


Future Plans:

As nice as SSAO can look, even the cheapest implementation can still be a performance hog even on newer hardware. So for older GPUs I will likely be using a textured AO fallback, with min blending to combine model and detail AO maps. It may not look as good, but AO in any form is still a huge step up from no AO at all.


Sorry for the delay folks. That "real life" thing has a habit of getting in the way of my leisure activities. :p

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