Hardware rendering query

I was just thinking the other day while blending how I used to use Maya’s hardware rendering to preview animations. The real-time playback on my machine is too slow most of the time in Blender and animations look choppy. Now I know I can just reduce lighting and turn off OSA etc. and software render and it comes close to the same speed but I just came across this site about hardware AO:

Is there any possibility that hardware support even if not full hardware use could be incorporated into Blender’s rendering pipeline? I’m not sure if this has been spoken about before but I searched and didn’t find a thread. I just feel that my graphics card’s sitting doing nothing while my puny processor’s burning away.

Don’t Yafray use AO ?

Don’t think so. It has a full GI thingy. AO is a quicker implementation used by loads of people to get a similar effect.

Still, it doesn’t use the graphics card for any parts of the rendering either. What would be cool is if AO was used in hardware for rendering the background and the live characters composited on top using software.

Yafray uses the “hemilight”. It’s just a hemisphereical global area light, same thing as AO.