Nvidia has released version 1.0 of both its GameWorks VR and DesignWorks VR (Virtual Reality) development kits today. With this official milestone release Nvidia claims that it will deliver a "massive performance boost for virtual reality". In practice developers may indeed find that Nvidia's multi-res shading technology delivers as much as a 50 per cent performance boost. Both new v1.0 SDKs add support for Windows 10.
Rendering VR worlds is a challenge to modern computers, even with powerful CPUs and GPUs, as immersive VR requires around seven times the graphics processing power compared to traditional 3D apps and games. The Nvidia GameWorks VR and DesignWorks VR v1 dev kits combined with GeForce and Quadro GPU hardware can help meet the challenge of providing silky smooth VR experiences while maintaining image quality.
The the GameWorks VR SDK includes the 'Multi-Res Shading' mentioned in the intro. This technique renders each part of an image best matching the pixel density of the warped image required by the headset. Nvidia Maxwell's multi-projection capability renders multiple-scaled viewports in a single pass and can deliver up to the claimed 50 per cent performance increase. This was demonstrated in practice using Epic's UE4 engine, see the slide below.
VR SLI is included in the SDK, enabling GPUs to be assigned to a specific eye. Other GameWorks VR features, specifically for VR headset developers are; Contaxt Priority, Direct Mode and Front Buffer Renedering. You can read about GameWorks VR in greater depth on Nvidia's official pages, which also provide access to download the SDK (once you have created a Developer Zone account).
This SDK is intended for developers of professional VR applications in markets such as manufacturing, media and entertainment, oil and gas, and medical imaging. It builds upon what is offered in the GameWorks VR SDK, detailed above, to provide powerful tools such as:
- Warp and blend – without latancy being added
- Synchronisation – to prevent screen tearing and image misalignment
- GPU Affinity – to split rendering workload across multiple GPUs
- Direct for Video – enabling various VR and AR displays
Again Nvidia has a full and detailed set of resources on DesignWorks VR, the use of this dev kit, and various downloads. The SDK is only available to registered select VR headset and application developers.