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Ambient occlusion - new nV drivers - examples

Discussion in 'NVIDIA' started by lemonadesoda, Apr 2, 2009.

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What do you think about Ambient Occlusion?

  1. meh! I care more about FPS than visual tweaks/improvements

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Interesting, but not excited

    9 vote(s)
    40.9%
  3. w00t! This will make gaming (incl. older simpler graphics engines) look fresh! :) Lemme at it!

    13 vote(s)
    59.1%
  1. r9

    r9

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    Screens please.
     
  2. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    Have just got HL2 reinstalled, gonna compare a couple of games, but beta testing one of Ketxxx's mBIOSes screwed my system up bad and I have just spent two hours fixing it, so I'll do some comparisons tomorrow with FPS and screenies. :)
     
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  3. Jeffredo

    Jeffredo

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    Seen a number of screenshots that look very good - a marked difference. Still, I reserve judgement until I can try it out on my favorite games with my present system. If it chugs I won't use it. If its a fairly unnoticeable FPS hit I will.
     
  4. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    ^ Agreed. If an older game, currently at 150fps gets hit to 90fps, then it could still be OK. But if a modern game, currently at 50 fps gets hit to 30fps, then it will spoil gameplay.
     
  5. nafets New Member

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    Here's a pic, regarding Ambient Occlusion, from the Tomshardware preview of the GTX 275;

    [​IMG]

    Seems like a feature that is best utilized in older games, as newer ones may see a big performance hit...
     
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  6. DarkMatter New Member

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  7. alexp999

    alexp999 Staff

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    Does anyone know of any good timedemo's or BM tools for HL2?

    Rather than me just trying to do the same thing and commenting on the average FPS I saw?

    EDIT:

    NVM just found out how to record my own :)

    EDIT2:

    185.65 completely breaks HL2 :roll:

    Thats that over! Guess I'll be going back to 182.50. I know its beta, but their pre-WHQL drivers are not usually that bad.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  8. sapetto

    sapetto

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    So AO is only supported by nvidia cards

    A screenie :
    [​IMG]
     
  9. DarkMatter New Member

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    In what sense? I've only seen screenshots, but it should work isn't it? If they took screens, it worked. Try reinstalling if it's not too much of an annoyance, please, I want to see some more screens and videos (yay!) of that in action. I can't, because I'm in XP and I don't want to go to a friend's house just for that.
     
  10. DarkMatter New Member

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    When talking about the driver forced feature, yes it's Nvidia only.

    You know how much better that shot in the right looks and yet I'm sure there's a lot of people that would be unable to see the difference. And I'm sure many of those people would say that anything below 1920x1200 4x/8x AA is unacceptable...
     
  11. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    Ambient occlusion seems to work best (have greatest visual impact) on the example I gave in the OP - rooms and corridors, walls and solid objects.

    In the "monster" example given by sapetto above the effect is small. But there are already thousands of polygons and light maps in the design of that NPC. And for the scenery, it is already complex.

    To get the most out of ambient occlusion, we see it in "simple" lightmap structures, e.g. a room with one or a few light sources, and the AO will improve the light/shadow casting.

    If AO is on in open spaces and is applied to complex NPC's then I'm not surprised it is hitting performance so badly.

    It needs a smart-driver. To apply it to large polygons (typically walls and boulders etc.) and not apply it to tiny polygons (typically NPC and scenary candy like leaves and grass etc.)

    For these reasons, I can see that an "unsmart-driver" would be best suited to older games. For newer games it is "overrendering", if that makes any sense to-ya.
     
  12. DarkMatter New Member

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    There's a huge difference in the monster IMO. Look at the abdominal area. Without AO it looks like the character wasn't lit. But specially in the ground and the foliage it makes a big difference. It looks like a uniform or even deformed mass without AO.

    And look at the borders of the character, without AO it's as if the character had been put there like in a collage*. That's something that always has happened in games, objects seem to be glued in a 2d fashion and as if they were hovering above the ground. But AO completely fixes that.

    *I don't know if that's the proper tranlation, google says so, the word it's french in origin but it's used in many languages. It's when you copy and paste photos or pieces of paper to form a picture.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  13. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    "collage" is correct. I think we took the word from the French many years ago.

    Re the monster. Yes, it is different/better. But I can also understand such a model under AO will make a huge hit on performance. And, IMO, the "immersion"/impression is greater when fixing the statics (eg. interior rooms and corridors) than the moving monsters in vegetation. Again, I'm not saying it doesnt significantly improve the monsters in vegetation, but fixing the "maps" is the first need. And if we can do that without a huge performance penalty, then there is every reason to use it.

    Therefore a "smart engine" should first implement AO on the "map" rather than the NPCs. This would need to be done in the engine. If not in the engine, a "smart driver" would have to guess what was map and what was NPC. There may be clever ways to do this; the simplest being, small polygons are NPCs, large polygons are maps.
     
  14. DarkMatter New Member

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    We can agree to disagree. IMHO if you want to improve only stationary things it might be even better to use the old school painting in the corners of the textures that are going to be close to another wall, etc.
     
  15. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    ^^ come on DM, you know that isnt practicable. Every wall is a different length, so you would need a different texture for every wall to put such hand rendered shading in. You might be able to do that once or twice, but it would be WAY TOO much work to try and do that using a regular map editor for every single static object. And just think about the size of data on the HDD and the GPU memory getting trashed. A new texture for every single wall. (or object whatnot). No you couldnt implement that technique.
     
  16. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    They do that in Gears of War One. Every terrain shadow is drawn into the texture on most multiplayer levels.
     
  17. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    Thanks for the info DrPepper. Wow, what a lot of work and what a lot of data. Makes for good "virtual effects" and high framerates!
     
  18. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    Indeed it does. There are sneaky ways of using such textures twice. Imagine a car with a concrete road and the shadow is painted onto the road and the car model stuck on top of it and can be used in other scenes.
     
  19. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    Yep, reusing the car is obvious. But the problem is this: moving objects and distructive environments. What happens when that car moves? Shadow still painted on road. LOL

    Painting shadows onto terrain for known objects is a much easier exercise than painting shadows into EVERY corner of every room/corridor. That's the issue with the technique. OK for hard static shadows around a few objects. But not EVERY vertex in the map!
     
  20. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    The car doesn't move its static. That's why it can be planted on the texture and increase performance.
     
  21. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    We need to get this thread back on track! PICTURES of AO improving graphics in newer and older engines please!
     
  22. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    Indeed. I don't have a nvidia card atm its dead but screenies will come when its back.
     

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