Standing by the hill-side gazing over the Cool Culture of Otakuism!

Enhancing an Online Phantasy

Ever since the introduction of my Phantastic new rig, many fellow ARKS have wondered how did I managed to turn the graphics option on Phantasy Star Online 2 up to the eleven, seemingly amazed at the sheer visual porn that is  the various screenshots posted in the subsequent look-back at the previous year I’ve spent within the free-to-play virtual world… w

pso20130629_201316_000

I’ve mentioned of the use of Ambient Occlusion, but I never did explained how I did it. So for here we are now we’ll look at how to tackle and change some settings that made all these beautiful screenshots possible. :3c

For the uninitiated, please read the wiki article on its origin and application towards computer graphics. 

Credits to a certain ARKS from the PSOW forums who’ve provided this tutorial in the first place. ^_^

Anyway, first and foremost there are a few prerequisites before you can apply Ambient Occlusion onto your PSO2:

  • nVidia brand GPU (Graphic Processing Unit)
  • nVidia Inspector
  • Up-to-date driver for your nVidia GPU

Basically what we’re going to do here is forcing the built-in Ambient Occlusion feature on the nVidia GPU to render it onto PSO2, which normally had it turned off by default. ^_~ Since this is an nVidia GPU only feature, you cannot apply the same effect onto your ATI GPU system (Which incidentally Tamamo utilised)… orz

A note of warning: Enabling Ambient Occlusion will severely impact the performance of your rig especially on lower end GPUs. If you’re already having performance issue I do not recommend to force Ambient Occlusion on your game.

Now to the fun part:

  • Run the nVidia Inspector program.
  • Click on the wrench/screwdriver button beside the “Driver Version” field.
  • From the drop down menu select Phantasy Star Online 2. Update your drivers if it’s not found.
  • Under “Compatibility”, click on “Ambient Occlusion Compatibility” and select “0x00000026 (Warmonger)” from the drop down list. Alternatively you can try any other selections that uses Unreal Engine 3 (Mirror’s Edge, Mass Effect, Gears of War, etc. I used Mirror’s Edge myself). Each will offer varying results, so just experiment and take your pick.
  • Important: Under “Common”, set “Ambient Occlusion Usage” to “Enable”. Else you won’t have Ambient Occlusion applied at all. ^^;
  • Under “Common”, set “Ambient Occlusion Setting” to “Performance” or “Quality”. Do not set to “High Quality” unless you have high-end GPUs coupled in SLI.
  • Click “Apply Changes” on the top right of the program.
  • Enjoy your graphic porn! XDc

Note that by updating your nVidia driver at later dates will reset your Ambient Occlusion settings. So it is best you export the setting and import it back after every updates.

Now for some comparison screenshots from PSO2. www

Screen resolution: 1027 x 576 running on full settings minus Ambient Occlusion on my ATI based lappie.  

pso20130620_220248_001
pso20130620_220455_087pso20130620_220353_046

Screen resolution: 1360 x 768 running on full settings with forced Ambient Occlusion on my new rig…

First thing you’re going to notice between the comparisons is how objects cast shadow upon themselves, especially clear when close to a vertical surface of another object like a wall.

pso20130623_130253_006
pso20130623_130500_024pso20130623_130436_018

However as mentioned during my last PSO2 post, running the game at lower resolutions will make the game seem blurry in a dreamlike state when forcing Ambient Occlusion on it.

Running at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 eliminates the blurriness altogether and creates a sharp-looking screenshot, at least in my case. Do experiment to find the perfect median of effect you want. ^_^

pso20130629_155912_001

A couple of more comparisons, this time in video format

The following Emergency Quest run have no Ambient Occlusion on. This was an accident as I only found out about the lack of Ambient Occlusion after updating the driver of my nVidia GPU.

素晴らしく運がないな、私は… orz 

And this live event by Quna have Ambient Occlusion forced upon…

Meanwhile while trying earn more Meseta by doing the Meseta-making Time Attack Client Orders, me along with my random Party were abducted and crash-landed upon the crimson Darkers’ Den, not even one week after my earlier encounter!

Did SEGA actually loosen the lease on this rarest of the rare Escape Quest?  

Anyway, hope the enhancement guide will help you with more beautiful in-game printscreens! :3c

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3 responses

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you

    8th August, 2013 at 16:44

  2. Pingback: Procurement of Loots at AFA14 | オタクールチャーの坂

  3. Teetoku

    Thanks a bunch.
    I didn’t know what to do with inspectpr until I found this.

    18th November, 2015 at 16:41

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