What Is SSAO In Games?


SSAO stands for Screen Space Ambient Occlusion.

It is a shading technique used to approximate the way light radiates in and around objects in a scene, adding realism by darkening the corners of objects and crevices.

This effect can be seen most clearly when looking at an object from an angle, as opposed to looking straight at it.

Screen Space Ambient Occlusion is often used in video games because it can be rendered in real-time on gaming hardware.

Other, more expensive methods of approximating ambient occlusions, such as ray tracing or global illumination, are not typically possible in real-time.

Is SSAO Good For Gaming?

Absolutely! SSAO, or screen-space ambient occlusion, is a great way to add depth and realism to your games.

Not only does it make lighting and shadows look more accurate, but it can also help to hide some of the underlying graphical noise that can often be seen inCG imagery. 

There are some trade-offs to using SSAO though.

Firstly, it generally requires more computational power than traditional methods like z-buffering. This means that if you’re targeting lower-end hardware, SSAO may not be viable.

Secondly, SSAO can sometimes produce visual artifacts known as ‘creeping shadows’, where shadow edges appear to crawl across surfaces. 

Overall though, SSAO is a great tool for game developers and artists alike, and can really help to bring your game world to life.

Here are some pros and cons to consider: 


  • SSAO can render scenes with very detailed shadows without requiring a large number of light sources, which can save on processing power. 
  • SSAO can create realistic looking ambient occlusion effects, which can adddepth and realism to a scene. 
  • SSAO is often faster to render than traditional shadow rendering techniquesand therefore can result in better performance for real-time applications such as video games. 


  • SSAO can sometimes result in shadow artifacts (such as “haloing” or “creeping shadows”) which can be visually distracting. 
  • SSAO requires more computational power than traditional shadow rendering techniques, which can result in lower performance on lower-end hardware.

Does SSAO Decrease FPS?

SSAO can definitely decrease FPS. In fact, SSAO is one of the most demanding post-processing effects in terms of GPU performance.

This is because SSAO requires sampling every pixel in the scene multiple times in order to calculate its effect, and this increases the load on the graphics card.

There are a number of ways to reduce the impact of SSAO on FPS.

One is to adjust its intensity (the higher the intensity, the more GPU resources it will consume). Another is to disable SSAO altogether if you don’t need it.

Finally, you can use a hardware-based anti-aliasing technique such as MSAA or FXAA which will help to smooth out the appearance of SSAO without consuming as many resources.

SSAO definitely has its trade-offs, but overall it’s a great tool for game developers and artists alike. Just be sure to keep an eye on your FPS when using it!

Does SSAO Cause Lag?

No, SSAO does not cause lag. However, it can decrease FPS if your GPU is not powerful enough to handle the increased computational requirements.

If you’re concerned about performance, then you can always adjust the intensity of SSAO or disable it altogether.

Should I Turn On SSAO?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors.

Firstly, what kind of hardware are you using? If you’re targeting lower-end hardware, then SSAO may not be viable due to the increased computational requirements.

Secondly, what kind of game are you making?

If you’re making a fast-paced action game where every frame counts, then you might want to consider turning off SSAO in order to improve performance.

Finally, how important is realism to your game?

If you’re aiming for photo-realism then SSAO can definitely help to add depth and realism to your scenes.

However, if you’re going for a more stylized look then SSAO might not be necessary.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to turn on SSAO. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision!