Nvidia’s Pascal might not be quite ready for the big time yet, even if we have had our first glimpse of the hardware and its specifications, but that doesn’t mean Nvidia isn’t laying the groundwork for it in the software department. Although not out in the wild just yet, with the 10 series GPUs set to debut in the next few weeks, the new release should be with us shortly.
The first of the major new Pascal-orientated features that Nvidia has added to its upcoming VRWorks SDK, is Lens Matched Shading. Essentially an upgrade over the Maxwell-targeted Multi-Res Shading of previous generations, Lens Matched Shading further improves the efficiency of rendering a virtual reality scene.
As Nvidia puts it, the feature “improves pixel shading performance by rendering more natively to the unique dimensions of VR display output. This avoids rendering many pixels that would otherwise be discarded before the image is output to the VR headset.”
Essentially, Nvidia is cutting back on the amount of rendering that the graphics card needs to take part in, in order to cut the performance overhead without impacting what the user sees.
Single Pass Stereo is something else Nvidia is touting as part of this SDK update. It allows the GPU(s) rendering a scene to perform a single pass for the geometry in both eyes, rather than two. This could come in handy in scenes with a lot of tessellation, which has traditionally added quite a lot of overhead to rendered scenes.
Nvidia hopes that this technology could double the performance for such scenes in certain scenarios, which is certainly worth crowing about.
Although all of the performance boosting tweaks are nice to know about, the update that is likely to get gamers most excited is Nvidia’s new set of PhysX demos. These are built especially for VR, and showcase how its physics system can be utilized to offer better hand tracking and interaction between players and objects.
Although there is no set release date for Nvidia’s “VR Funhouse,” it will operate much like Valve’s The Lab, providing a number of different virtual reality games and experiences to play with. There’s a bow and arrow target game, which showcases Nvidia Flow; HairWorks makes an appearance with a whack-a-mole game; a PhysX demonstration through a number of interactive objects around the funhouse; a WallWalker toss game, which you play with colorful blobs; and “crown creeper,” where you must use binaural audio to detect a “stealthy drone.”
A few specific games will also take advantage of VR works when available, including Eve: Valkyrie, Hover Junkers and Mars 2030.