But delivering VR is a complex challenge, especially since immersive VR requires seven times(1) the graphics processing power compared to traditional 3D apps and games.
To solve this problem, NVIDIA today officially released the 1.0 version of two powerful VR software development kits (SDKs): NVIDIA GameWorks VR and NVIDIA DesignWorks VR.
When used in conjunction with the company's industry-leading GeForce® and Quadro® GPUs, these SDKs provide developers the tools to create amazing VR experiences, increase performance, reduce latency, improve hardware compatibility and accelerate 360-degree video broadcasts.
Both SDKs deliver a comprehensive set of APIs and libraries for headset and app developers, including new NVIDIA Multi-Res Shading Technology. Available publicly for the first time, Multi-Res Shading is an innovative rendering technique that increases performance by as much as 50 percent(2) while maintaining image quality.
The 1.0 SDK releases also add support for Windows 10.
For game and application developers, the GameWorks VR SDK includes:
- Multi-Res Shading -- an innovative rendering technique for VR in which each part of an image is rendered at a resolution that best matches the pixel density of the warped image required by the headset. It uses the NVIDIA Maxwell chip architecture's multi-projection capability to render multiple-scaled viewports in a single pass, delivering substantial performance improvements.
- VR SLI -- provides increased performance for VR applications where multiple GPUs can be assigned a specific eye to dramatically accelerate stereo rendering.
GameWorks VR is already being integrated into leading game engines. Epic Games has announced support for GameWorks VR Multi-res Shading and VR SLI features in an upcoming version of its popular Unreal Engine 4(3).
GameWorks VR also delivers specific features for VR headset developers including:
- Context Priority -- provides control over GPU scheduling to support advanced VR features such as asynchronous time warp, which cuts latency and quickly adjusts images as gamers move their heads, without the need to re-render a new frame.
- Direct Mode -- treats VR headsets as head-mounted displays accessible only to VR applications, rather than a typical Windows monitor, providing better plug and play support and compatibility for VR headsets.
- Front Buffer Rendering -- enables the GPU to render directly to the front buffer to reduce latency.
For developers of professional VR applications in markets such as manufacturing, media and entertainment, oil and gas, and medical imaging, NVIDIA DesignWorks VR builds on the core GameWorks VR SDK with the addition of powerful tools, such as:
- Warp and Blend -- new APIs that provide application-independent geometry corrections and intensity adjustments across entire desktops to create seamless VR CAVE environments, without introducing any latency.
- Synchronization -- techniques to prevent tearing and image misalignment while creating one large desktop that is driven from multiple GPUs or clusters. Various technologies like Frame Lock, Stereo Lock, Swap Groups and Swap Barriers are available to help developers design seamless and expansive VR CAVE and cluster environments.
- GPU Affinity -- provides dramatic performance improvements by managing the placement of graphics and rendering workloads across multiple GPUs.
- Direct for Video -- enabling VR and augmented reality environments such as head-mounted displays, CAVES/immersive displays and cluster solutions.
VR developers can download the GameWorks VR SDK at https://developer.nvidia.com/gameworksVR. The updated release of DesignWorks VR can be accessed by registering at https://developer.nvidia.com/designworks-vr.
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(1) A PC gaming rendering 1920x1080 at 30fps on a single screen compared to a VR headset rendering at 1680x1512 at 90fps on each of two screens. http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2015/11/09/gameworks-vr-unreal-engine-4-ue4/
(2) At VRX 2015 Epic Games achieved a 50 percent performance increase to their UE4-based Reflections Subway demo by applying NVIDIA Multi-Res Shading. http://blogs.nvidia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/VRX-Keynote-Final3_Page_12.png
Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to, statements as to: the features, impact and benefits of NVIDIA GameWorks VR 1.0, NVIDIA DesignWorks VR 1.0; and NVIDIA working to secure its support in game engines are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include: global economic conditions; our reliance on third parties to manufacture, assemble, package and test our products; the impact of technological development and competition; development of new products and technologies or enhancements to our existing product and technologies; market acceptance of our products or our partners' products; design, manufacturing or software defects; changes in consumer preferences or demands; changes in industry standards and interfaces; unexpected loss of performance of our products or technologies when integrated into systems; as well as other factors detailed from time to time in the reports NVIDIA files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, including its Form 10-Q for the fiscal period ended July 26, 2015. Copies of reports filed with the SEC are posted on the company's website and are available from NVIDIA without charge. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and speak only as of the date hereof, and, except as required by law, NVIDIA disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances.
© 2015 NVIDIA Corporation. All rights reserved. NVIDIA, the NVIDIA logo, GeForce, Quadro, NVIDIA DesignWorks, NVIDIA GameWorks, and Maxwell are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change without notice.
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