Games Software Tech

Nvidia Adds Ambient Occlusion

Nvidia recently added support for Ambient Occlusion to their new drivers, and I have to say that I am pretty pleased. Ambient Occlusion adds realism to scenes by reducing the intensity of ambient lights on surfaces blocked by surrounding objects. It enhances depth perception by providing a soft shadow effect for objects based on their placement in the scene.

Standard lighting models compute the color of a surface based on its properties and the lights in a scene. Objects that are in the path of a light cast shadows, otherwise, their presence does not affect the lighting of other objects. Ambient occlusion improves this model by accounting for the dimming caused by objects that block out ambient light. An example of this is the junction where a wall and a ceiling meet; while no direct shadows are cast, the corner nevertheless appears darker. Ambient occlusion simulates this phenomenon, along with all other cases where objects are close enough to block out ambient light.

Currently only 22 titles are enabled with ambient occlusion profiles, but they managed to hit most of the games I am currently playing on the PC anyway such as Fallout 3, Team Fortress 2, and Counter Strike Source. Hopefully more support for other games will be coming soon.

The following 22 titles are enabled with ambient occlusion profiles:

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • BioShock
  • Call of Duty 4
  • Call of Duty 5
  • Call Of Juarez
  • Company Of Heroes
  • Counter-Strike Source
  • Dead Space
  • Devil May Cry 4
  • F.E.A.R. 2
  • Fallout 3
  • Farcry 2
  • Half Life 2 series
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Lost Planet: Colonies
  • Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Portal
  • Team Fortress 2
  • Unreal Tournament 3
  • World In Conflict
  • World of Warcraft