Occluding the ambiance

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The past few days I've been experimenting with integrating static / precalculated lighting into Nerve, and I just wanted to drop some images I have so far. I've been focussing on Ambient Occlusion, and I'm currently using a hardware (GPU) based technique for precalculating per-vertex AO amounts as described here. This technique was also used (as far as I can tell) by RGBA's 64k '195/95/256'. The results so far seem quite promising, it appears to be quite fast and with some filtering/smoothing the visual results are quite okay. So it could be a quite useful addition to Nerve's lighting model. But I still have to figure out how to handle dynamic/deforming objects, since precalculated lighting won't quite work there.

I do have another alternative, which seems quite cool too: SSAO, which is just a (quite heavy) postprocess effect applying a form of local ambient occlusion. Anyway, that's probably still a bit too hard, so for now I'll stick to precalculated, static, AO lighting.

ps. calculating the AO lighting for the scene in the images above took around 1 second. For around 20k vertices.

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