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Prune

Which SSAO?

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Trying to decide between http://www.iquilezles.org/www/articles/ssao/ssao.htm and http://www.gamerendering.com/2009/01/14/ssao/ and the initial difference I see is that the latter uses normal information whereas the first one doesn't, and looks like the loop is slower due to more instructions and the use of step/smoothstep/sign functions. Both seem to do the same number of texture lookups. Any insight on how to choose which algorithm to use? My goal is to use SSAO for high frequency detail to complement low frequency dynamic global illumination.

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As always, it depends :) It is always a trade off between performance and quality. I tried to use SSAO with depth and normal, but have to discard the normal approach. The reason was, that when you add high detailed normal maps, the normals in the g-buffer changes a lot which results in very ugly ssao artifacts (turning the camera results in walls getting very dark).

My advice: choose one algorithm which seems to fit best to your requirements and is easy to implement. After getting it to work, add new features and try to refine and modify it until you are happy with quality and performance. Eventually SSAO is just a fake of a fake (ambient occlusion is already faked global illumination) and there're just too many parameters.

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