Trying to get Ambient Occlusion working

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#1 Edited by DJJoeJoe (1415 posts) -

No info on the engine the game uses other than it's almost all in-house apart from using Havok and some audio middle-ware. No info on past game as far as flags that can be used that may work here, no hints at anything...

So here I am going through Nvidia Inspector, flag by flag, looking for something that may work. So far I've tested these:

0x00000000 (Dragon Age 2)

0x00000020 (Mass Effect)

0x00000029 (Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

0x00010000 (Assassin's Creed(DX9), Assassin's Creed)

0x00000023 (Fable: The Lost Chapters)

0x00000002 (Mirror's Edge)

0x00000003 (Fallout 3)

0x0000000F (Dead Space)

0x00020000 (BioShock, BioShock 2)

0x00080000 (Cryostasis)

0x00000021 (Gears of War)

0x0000001C (Dragon Age: Origins)

0x00090000 (Devil May Cry 4(DX10), Devil May Cry 4(DX9))

0x00000014 (Left 4 Dead 2)

0x00000013 (ArmA 2: Operation Arrowhead, Take-on helicopters, ArmA 3, ArmA 2)

0x000C0000 (Biohazard 5, Resident Evil 5)

If anyone has done this before, has insight as to what to look for, or 'anything' I'd greatly appreciate it. This game, like many, would look great with Ambient Occlusion.

EDIT: aaaannnd I'm done. :( Fuck the internet! Why isn't there already some crazy dude that's done this already?

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#2 Posted by JoeyRavn (5200 posts) -

I don't have the game yet to try it, but I assume that enabling SSAO through the NVIDIA Control Panel, not through Inspector, doesn't work, right? You could try using the same settings that the Darksiders profile had. Other than that, I guess you'll have to wait until either NVIDIA Inspector gets updated with the proper flag for SSAO on Darksiders, or that someone with more technical knowledge than me can get it :P

In the meantime, have you tried with an FXAA Injector? Granted, it doesn't really enable SSAO, but the boost in visual quality is considerable. It may quench your thirst until a proper solution arrives. And if you don't mind tinkering with cfg files, ENBSeries has several modes SSAO, but since there's no specific configuration for Darksiders/II, you'll have to tweak it yourself.

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#3 Posted by phrali (677 posts) -

this is why im a console gamer no effing clue what you crazy guys are even talking about

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#4 Posted by CannonGoose (394 posts) -

@phrali: They're trying to force graphical features that the game does not natively support. The ability to do (or attempt to do) that is partly why I love PC gaming.

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#5 Posted by mosdl (3422 posts) -

Have you tried the beta nvidia drivers? They might have a Darksiders 2 profile

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#6 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1415 posts) -

@JoeyRavn: SSAO is not natively supported, it's not in the Nvidia Control panel etc. There are no SSAO settings for the original game, I feel like I mentioned that off the top or at least it's implied? I don't really like tweaks that come from FXAA, I don't need the colors or sharpness of the game to be tweaked it's fine the way it is originally and I get plenty of anti-aliasing from standard methods (though trying SMAA early on seemed to crash the game pretty quickly). I might just try ENB but honestly I've never had good experiences with ENB, at least trying it on games that are fully supported already. Seems almost impossible to track down an older version of enb that would work and then tweak it so it just uses ssao especially when those features are mostly in the newer versions of the thing. That's a bit too much work I think, at least without proper knowledge.


@phrali: Basically objects in real life do things that can be shown in game via SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion). If you think about it hard enough the name makes sense, it's blocking out ambient light on object based on other objects proximity. Like if you put your hand next to a wall the wall darkens, this is different from a straight up shadow from a direct light source as it's more about blocking the ambient light rather than direct light. In video games this really helps meld objects into the world in a way that looks very appealing, especially once you've seen it done before.

@mosdl: Having a game profile, and having one that has specific none-native features are two very different things. Almost all major game releases have profiles before day of release, but for features not supported up front a new profile has to be worked on by Nvidia. An example is SSAO in Skyrim which wasn't actually available officially from Nvidia right away, but after a few months they worked on it and released it officially. This will not happen for Darksiders 2 if we go by how these things normally happen (SSAO was being hacked manually in Skyrim, that's why it was pushed through officially later since it was actually possible and relatively easy) since the first game has no SSAO either it's not very likely to happen here.

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#7 Posted by JoeyRavn (5200 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe: That's why I said that I didn't have the game and couldn't try it myself. I assumed it wouldn't work, but there's no harm done in double checking. As for the profile in NVIDIA Inspector, my bad. I confused the line that controls Antialiasing (which has a proper profile for Darksiders) with the one for SSAO.

It seems that you're out of luck for the moment until someone can come up with a way to enable SSAO without having to wait for Vigil to do it. But since Darksiders 1 never got the option and that Vigil seems to have their hands full with the problems of Darksiders II on PC... I wouldn't hold my breath for them.

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#8 Posted by DJJoeJoe (1415 posts) -

@JoeyRavn: What problems is the game having? I've not run into anything noticeable so far, but I also don't really read forums and stuff so I'm ignorant to any complaints the game may be garnering, besides the usual 'This game doesn't have options' one.

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#9 Posted by JoeyRavn (5200 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe: Apart from people claim it's pretty buggy across all versions of the game, the PC version has its fair share of "issues" of its own (your mileage may vary, though). The VSync option not working, for example. Then there's all the stuff about the .ini file that Vigil promised for PC users, which supposedly would enable a shitload of configuration options.

And then they have the console versions, which are a world on their own...

Nothing game-breaking, really, but I guess that Vigil will not even think about something as "superfluous" as adding SSAO to the PC version before solving most of those problems. Unless they include it with that holy grail of .ini file everyone is clamoring for...

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#10 Posted by RedRavN (418 posts) -

I find it odd that space marine uses a modified version of the tech that darksiders uses has full support for SSAO. So I am not sure why it would be difficult to implement that feature in darksiders. Both Relic and Vigil are both published by THQ so it would seem like the programers would have no reason not to share their work in between studios.

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#11 Posted by JoeyRavn (5200 posts) -

@DJJoeJoe: Some people over at the Steam forums seem to have found a compatible flag for SSAO in Darksiders II:

Edit: Do not use Darksiders 2 flag if you're on the new driver. It's not implemented properly as it seems.
Also if your GPU is up to business, you can enable ambient occlusion flag in Inspector to have at least some portion of what was promised.
You can use:
-all Call of Duty flags, they differ in tone (lighter/darker) also in drawing distance, least demanding
-Skyrim flag, higher quality SSAO with nicely balanced tone - more resource heavy
-Diablo III flag, looks similar to Skyrim, little less demanding (talking about +/- 1-2%).
Regarding occlusion being more resource heavy on my part is because I play on 2560x1600. If you game on standard 1080p you should be good to go to some extent.
Above applies if you have forceware driver version 305.53 and below.
New beta (305.68) wich adds support for GTX660Ti also adds Ambient Occlusion flag for Darksiders 2.
Hope this helps.

I can't test it (the game hasn't been unlocked in Europe yet, yay!), but looks like it works for some people.

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