Interesting. Are there any .ini options to improve AO other than decrese it with fGlobalContrastBoost (or whatever it was called)? Could it be that value, which is usually set to -0.20, as suggested by most, to reduce the shadowing?
Don't go crazy! That value is for the imagespace parameters, and affects the whole image.
If you want to alter the AO parameters you have INI settings...
and the console command sao
, which I think shows a parameter list when used.(Otherwise, it's the same as the INI settings above.) Although, as you'll find out, changing the values helps only as much as it reduces the effect.
I think implementing custom AO (with full access to engine parameters) would probably be more trouble than it's worth for most games. Though, SSE might be an exception because even the default AO has some really bad issues, and will likely need a lot of hacks to look good. Or maybe that places it further in the "no" category.