Is Nvidia making its own VR headset?

4 min read
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VEEEARE

Virtual Reality is undoubtedly the next big thing when it comes to videogames. The Rift, from VR peddlers Oculus is approaching being consumer ready, Google and Samsung are making their own Virtual Reality plays and Valve is reported to be entering the fray with their own virtual reality device. And it seems there may be another player set to join in the VR fun: Nvidia.

Reports from the chaps at VRfocus indicate that Nvidia will reveal its own head-mounted Virtual Reality device at GDC next month. Rumours suggest Valve will be doing the same.

It’s reportedly being made by the people at Nvidia responsible for the Shield Tablet, and could bear the name “Titan VR.” It makes one of NVidia’s GDC panels make a little more sense. On 4March, they’ll be hosting a panel titled “VR Direct: How NVIDIA Technology Is Improving the VR Experience”

“Virtual reality is the next frontier of gaming, and NVIDIA is leading the way by introducing VR Direct, a set of hardware and software technologies designed to cut down graphics latency and accelerate stereo rendering performance,” the event promises. “In this talk, we’ll show how developers can use NVIDIA GPUs and VR Direct to improve the gaming experience on the Oculus Rift and other VR headsets.”

Other VR headsets? Like Nvidia’s own one? It’s entirely possible. Nvidia’s been on-board the VR-hype train since the beginning, and their new Maxwell cards are even designed to run VR applications better.

Last year, the company outlined how its Maxwell-based cards would help deliver better VR.

  • Baseline Latency: Our engineers worked to cut all aspects of the connection between the game and the GPU, significantly improving latency.
  • MFAA: Using a new technology called multi-frame sampled anti-aliasing, or MFAA, Maxwell can combine many AA sample positions, producing what appears to be a higher-quality image. And it does this without the performance hit caused by other anti-aliasing technologies.
  • Asynchronous Warp: This starts with the last scene rendered, and lets the GPU update it based on head position information. By warping the image later in the rendering pipeline, Maxwell cuts discontinuities between head movement and action on screen. And by doing it asynchronously, it avoids stalling the GPU, robbing it of performance.
  • SLI: We’re also tuning the way our GPUs work together when they’re paired to drive virtual reality experiences. In the past, our GPUs would alternate rendering frames when joined in SLI mode. For VR, we’re changing the way our GPUs work in SLI, with each GPU rendering one display.
  • DSR: With the displays in a VR headset resting close to the user’s eyes, higher resolution can improve the VR experience. Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) – which we’re introducing with Maxwell – helps us take the resolution from 1 megapixel per eye to 4 megapixels per eye.
  • GeForce Experience: Rather than asking users to tweak all these settings when using VR, we’re implementing them to run automatically with our GeForce Experience software.
  • Optimized Content: Few applications support VR headsets. So we’re bringing VR support to games that already work with NVIDIA 3D Vision.
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This year’s GDC seems to be a rather exciting one. While we’ll not be attending, we’ll try cover as much of it as we can.

Last Updated: February 25, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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