what is ssao in games

what is ssao in games

What Is SSAO In Games?

Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) is a post-processing effect used to simulate the occlusion of light in a 3D environment. It is used to add subtle depths and realistic lighting to a game’s environment by realistically rendering the ambient occlusion of objects in relation to the directional light sources. Used correctly, SSAO can add lifelike shadows that transition realistically and create greater depth of vision in a 3D world.

Benefits of SSAO

SSAO adds increased realism and depth to a game’s visuals by:

  • Adding realism to shadows – SSAO renders shadows in game environments that interact realistically with light sources, providing a more realistic look and feel.
  • Making objects appear closer – SSAO adds more realistic depth of field to objects in the game. This makes them appear closer to the eye and more detailed.
  • Increasing immersion – SSAO adds further details to the game environment, providing a more detailed and immersive experience.

Drawbacks of SSAO

Although SSAO adds an extra layer of realism to 3D games, it can also lead to a decrease in performance due to the extra load it places on the system.

  • Performance issues – SSAO can significantly decrease performance due to the extra load it places on the system, which can result in noticeable hitching and decreased framerates.
  • Reliance on a good GPU – SSAO requires a powerful GPU for it to work properly, and so can be limited on budget and lower-end GPUs.
  • Not available on all platforms – The SSAO effect is not supported on all gaming platforms, making it difficult to use on some consoles.


SSAO can be a great way to add lifelike details and greater depth to the 3D environment in a game. However, it can be prone to performance issues and may require a powerful GPU to work properly. Ultimately, the decision to use SSAO or not will depend on the hardware and the desired outcome of the game.



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