Sunday, 18 November, 2018

SteamVR Brings VR to Weaker GPUs With Motion Smoothing Feature

Steam VR update lets low-end PCs run games more smoothly SteamVR Brings VR to Weaker GPUs With Motion Smoothing Feature
Katie Ramirez | 21 October, 2018, 22:49

It is well-known that building a PC capable of running virtual reality (VR) can be an expensive proposition.

Now SteamVR has released a solution of sorts which simulates high frame per second rendering on low-end PCs.

It's in the latter category that Valve's SteamVR Motion Smoothing fits.

The hitch here is that motion smoothing will only work on Windows 10 PCs (sorry Linux users!) and only with the HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro - not any of the other Windows 10 VR headsets.

If this sound familiar to you, you might know the term from the TV world where motion interpolation is incredibly common.

'The way we are applying Motion Smoothing in SteamVR is a bit different.

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A smooth, consistent frame-rate is considered to be a factor in eliminating simulation sickness symptoms.

The implementation of Motion Smoothing will make virtual reality games at Steam less hardware-intensive, so players with more modest graphics cards can enjoy the VR experience. For VR it has to be much smoother and without latency, though, and for that reason the tech will take the two previously rendered frames and extrapolate what the next frame will be.

Steam VR will then drop a videogame or application's frame-rate from 90fps down to 45fps, generating one of the synthetic frames for every real one, to mimic 90fps. Even better, if synthesising a new frame for every frame delivered by the application still leads to performance issues, Motion Smoothing is created to scale further down to synthesize 2 frames or even 3 frames for every 1 frame delivered. "Synthesizing new frames keeps the current application at full framerate, advances motion forward and avoids judder".

At the moment this feature is only active for the Vive and Vive Pro devices, Oculus Rift is not included or even the Windows operating system.

More information on the feature is available from the official announcement post.

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