Bake Ambient Occlusion in the cockpit when Ambient Occlusion is disabled

Ambient occlusion is a neat effect giving a sense of reality to the geometry, especially in the cockpit when looking at the most recessed areas, like near the rudder pedals, the cabin corners etc… It is also applying to the scenery but is usually less prominent, especially if not set to ULTRA.

However when disabling ambient occlusion, usually in order to save a few more fps if possible, these cockpit recessed areas are becoming a little bit blunt.

Before video cards were able to do AO in real time, the artists used to bake the AO effect directly into the textures and this was not always good, but in general if lightly applied, it is much better than nothing.

I’d suggest when AO is disabled, FS2020 renders a baked AO texture overlay (or directly into the cockpit textures) which would be visible in the cockpit view only, in order to restore a little bit of the illusion.

PS: actually I personally find unless setting AO to LOW, it is creating surreal black halos around distinctive features such as the workers on the ground.

Not a good idea, there are people (like me) that disable ambient occlusion not to get some more fps but because don’t like the effect…


Not a bad request, but I don’t think they will get around to reworking textures for quite a while.
On the bright side I don’t think you will gain much by disabling it, the performance hit from AO is surprisingly low in MSFS.


Hopefully the devs find a better implementation of AO than the current one. It always look like dirt clouds and not only in VR. The bringer of salvation could again be DX12 with raytraced AO. You can dream… :smiley:


@Dragonscoils Actually when pushing my test system in VR and when it is running at around 30+ fps, AO can take up to about 1.25 fps on this system when closer to the ground and this can be just enough to make the simulation rendering under 30fps and loosing motion smoothing/reproj. This is particularly annoying when on final and close to landing and it starts juddering and stuttering because of this.

Please note my idea is not about re-doing the textures, it is about making 1 AO render pass (say from the default view point) and then bake the AO render pass into an overlay texture displaying atop the normal one.

Nevertheless I believe it might be a bad idea anyhow and a more efficient Shader code is probably what is most needed.

@LoeweStaub8533 Let’s hope so. I find the effect not too bad in fact and convincing in the cockpit, but only if you use the LOW setting. In my opinion, anything higher is creating surreal dark halos which are particularly visible around ground workers.

bumping for 30 additional days.

bad boy :joy:

Why is your [FEATURE REQUEST] not within the #self-service:wishlist category ?
Buimping is there not necessary :wink:

Because I’m waiting they do open a specific VR wishlist… (they are actually evaluating this request), otherwise any VR wishlist will be buried by non-VR wishlist items, for the same reasons I’ve exposed in the request below leading to a VR specific bug report in the Q&A:

[VR] Dev Q&A and Feedback Snapshot: please make a VR only category

Bumping is necessary because otherwise the topic closes without the chance for others to comment, and there might be not much comments yet because of the forum system making this item less visible in the sea of other problems.

Yes I know, sometimes… :innocent:

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ah… but movement from the existing wishlist into a possible new VR-Wishlist can you made also later, then you not need bumping in meanwhile… that I meant :slight_smile:

No because they might just move a closed topic instead of moving AND reopening it…

Anyhow what do you think about the topic?

PS: thank you for helping reviving interest in this discussion too!

I think it is to early to think about more deep ( I ) because we not know what will new with the coming DX12 implementation and how are the results :slight_smile:


I upvoted the thread but I’m all for Asobo improving the ability to use LIVE AO in VR. For me, it really makes the outside scenery a lot more real along with cranking up Texture Supersampling to 4x4, Texture Synthesis to High, and (believe it or not) setting AO to HIGH as well (Ultra is a bridge too far), and sacrificing lots of other stuff to do that. Everything Looks More Real With Ambient Occlusion But Performance Takes a Hit, Obviously

You might want to disable AO and enable Contact Shadows instead for this.

I’ll answer later to your AO topic, thank you for your feedback!

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Yeah, I was wondering about that (and thinking of trying that next). I think ambient occlusion, although it comes at a bigger cost, adds more realism on a bigger scale than contact shadows. I presume if you have two neighboring hillsides or canyon walls, one hillside or wall is in shadow but the opposite hillside or canyon wall is in brilliant sunlight, the shaded hillside and anything down in the space between the two hillsides/canyon walls is going to be lit/shaded in ways that are not accounted for by contact shadows - the Avri Lab blog post that I cite gives the example of objects that are out of the field of view affecting ambient lighting. I’ve noticed the sort of effect that I’m talking about in flying around Mann Gulch and Machu Picchu, both places have steep, rugged terrain with many nearby surfaces reflecting light and casting shadows but nothing really in contact - it’s all light and shadows dispersed over 100’s or 1,000’s of feet of distance onto other surfaces. Perhaps for trees on hillsides, yes, I can see contact shadows might enhance visual perception in relation to the connected ground but I think in a stand of trees or even for leaves on different branches of a tree, you’re going to have a light/shadow effect radiating through space that’s not a direct projection of a contact - aren’t contact shadows a much more narrowly locally defined effect? - but it’s my vague newbie understanding of ambient occlusion, too, that AO is most important in perception in close, confined spaces, e.g., a hollow tube in which shadows should get darker the deeper one peers into the tube, etc. Anyway, thanks for your expertise. I’d be very interested to learn the difference between contact shadows and ambient occlusion. As azmidi’s VR Bang-For-The-Buck analysis shows, implementing contact shadows costs far less than AO (an observation also consistent with the more limited scope of Contact Shadows dealing with the realities of visual space).

Row copied from azmidi’s Google Sheet link in his posted analysis:

Edit_Update: What I’ll do when I have time, too, is I’ll generate an identical image to the two that I’ve posted in the Everything Looks More Real With Ambient Occlusion in VR But Performance Takes a Hit, Obviously thread but make the new third image one with no AO but Contact Shadows instead. I’ll add that image to the group posted so that one can click and cycle between large versions of ~the same image to see comparatively what kind of difference using Contact Shadows vs. AO vs. neither makes to the scene.