10 Ways NVIDIA Makes VR a Reality

My first impression of virtual reality was back in the early 1990s, in a pod playing Dactyl Nightmare in a Dave & Busters restaurant. It was less compelling by today’s standards, but enough to hook me and a whole generation of future engineers and gamers.

That generation has come of age, and so has VR.

Every tradeshow, every product launch and every news beat has a VR angle. And NVIDIA is helping to pioneer the technology that’s making it a reality.

Here are 10 examples:

1) NVIDIA is building the fastest GPUs for VR.

There are two platforms for immersive VR gaming and experiences: entry-level experiences provided by consoles and premier experiences provided by PCs. Consider the view of veteran industry watcher Jon Peddie, of Jon Peddie Research:

“VR will be a multi-tier experience, like all entertainment platforms. Consoles will appeal to the casual user, whereas the PC with three to four times the processing power will be the platform for the intense gamer. In the PC market, NVIDIA has a substantial market share in enthusiast graphics boards, the type needed for Oculus and HTC VR experiences.”

Just like with video games, a PC with a GeForce GTX GPU offers the richest VR experience, with more performance, higher immersion and great fidelity. Even the lowest VR Ready GeForce GTX GPU offers double the performance of console.1 And given that immersive VR requires seven times the processing power of traditional 3D games, you really need that performance to get the best experience.2

2) NVIDIA’s VR SDK, VRWorks, is seeing broad adoption.

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VRWorks is being adopted by cutting-edge VR developers like Sólfar Studios, creators of Everest VR.

NVIDIA has created the VRWorks software development kit to provide headset and application developers with the best performance, lowest latency and plug-and-play compatibility for VR. The top game engines that are being used for creating VR games, including Unity, Unreal Engine and Max Play, are now integrating NVIDIA VRWorks. HTC and Oculus headsets have added support for VRWorks. It’s being adopted by cutting-edge VR developers like Sólfar Studios with Everest VR, Valve Software with The Lab, ILMxLAB with Star Wars Trials on Tatooine and InnerVision Games with Thunderbird: The Legend Begins.

3) NVIDIA GPUs provide Multi-res Shading for up to 50 percent more performance.

NVIDIA Multi-res Shading is an innovative rendering technique for VR in which each part of an image is rendered at a resolution that better matches the final image a user sees on the headset. The technology is integrated and available today to developers in Unreal Engine with performance gains of up to 50 percent. That enables developers to put more visual quality into their VR games and experiences

4) NVIDIA’s Game Ready drivers means VR games ‘just work’ from day one.

Any solution is only as good as the GPU’s drivers. Our Game Ready drivers are recognized as the best in the industry. NVIDIA works closely with developers to make sure games perform well on the day the game ships. This is incredibly important for VR, as the slightest stutter or performance dip can ruin the experience. Delivering launch day drivers will be a big difference for VR games and applications.

5) Our GeForce GTX VR Ready program is more than 100 partners strong.

NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX VR Ready program makes it easy for consumers to get the right gear for VR. Navigating an emerging technology like VR can be confusing — so we’ve worked with our partners worldwide to simplify the buying process. The GeForce GTX VR Ready badge quickly shows if a PC or graphics card is capable of handling the demands of VR.  Our program currently has more than 100 PC makers, system builders, add-in card partners and retailers around the globe.

6) VR-ready notebooks are powered by NVIDIA.

Notebooks that feature NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 GPUs are the only VR-ready notebooks in the world. These powerful NVIDIA notebook GPUs enable developers and gamers to take their immersive VR experiences with them on the go.

7) NVIDIA GPUs are driving Oculus Ready PCs.

In addition, NVIDIA is not the only one with a VR-ready program. Oculus, makers of the Rift headset, has its own program. And every Oculus Ready PC to date is driven by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU.

8) NVIDIA makes immersive VR accessible.

There is a misconception that VR requires performance capabilities out of reach for most gamers. Truth be told, the GeForce GTX 970 GPU is the most popular graphics card on the Steam survey and millions already have it in their machines. This means more consumers are ready to enjoy immersive VR today.

9) NVIDIA is bringing more performance to mobile VR.

NVIDIA is continuing to push forward the state of the art for mobile-based VR experiences. You can find NVIDIA Tegra processors powering several mobile VR and augmented reality devices, including headsets from GameFace Labs and Atheer. Thanks to the performance of Tegra, developers can tackle new classes of mobile VR/AR experiences.

10) NVIDIA is accelerating 360-degree video for VR.

NVIDIA GPUs are at the heart of 360-degree video used in VR. NVIDIA’s CUDA programming model is used to rapidly stitch video from multiple cameras together into a single 360-degree panorama. At NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference in April, attendees will find a full speaker track on VR, including talks from 360-degree video companies that use GPU acceleration, such as Jaunt VR and VideoStitch.

See It for Yourself at GDC

You can see our work in VR at GDC. NVIDIA has partnered with a host of developers to feature amazing VR experiences at our booth (South Hall #824) on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets. They include:

  • A new chapter of Everest VR from Sólfar Studios that incorporates NVIDIA Multi-res Shading technology and GameWorks turbulence effects
  • ILMxLAB’s Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine VR experience, powered by two GeForce GTX TITAN X GPUs using VR SLI technology
  • Epic’s Bullet Train, Oculus Studio’s VR Sports and CCP’s EVE: Valkyrie

Beyond the NVIDIA booth, GDC attendees will find GeForce GTX GPUs powering the top VR experiences across the show floor. These include:

Company Location
Epic Moscone South Hall 1024
Oculus Moscone South Hall 802
Valve Ballroom 104
GDC VR Lounge Moscone West 3rd Floor

VR is an exciting new medium for gaming, entertainment and professional use cases. The performance of the PC will make it the destination for premium VR experiences. As the worldwide leader in PC graphics, NVIDIA is working hard to provide a VR graphics platform that offers developers both a large installed base and the best performance.

We can’t wait to see what you build with it.

 

1 GeForce GTX 970 produces 3.5 teraflops vs 1.8 teraflops for PlayStation 4, delivering 2x performance.

2 A PC game running 1920×1080 at 30fps on a single screen compared to a VR headset running at 1680×1512 at 90fps on each of two screens

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