AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: Project Cars

If you like racing games then it is likely that you are familiar with Project Cars. This racing game can push a system to its limits when you turn up the visuals, and that is just what we are doing today while using our HTC Vive VR headset. And this is certainly a game we will add to the VR Leaderboard.

What is Project Cars?

It seems like Project Cars has been with us for a long time, but it was only released a bit over a year ago. In that year, we here at HardOCP have used it in a lot of GPU testing and reviews. Lot's of people like to claim that this is an "NVIDIA game." And it does utilize NVIDIA PhysX and other technologies. According to the game's developer, AMD did not engage during the game's development. This is not something I would normally even mention in a review like this, but after seeing the results here, I felt as though this needed to be stated as certainly the AMD fanboys will be up in arms. However, if you want to see an "AMD game" reviewed, we did that yesterday. Certain games lean favorably towards Team Green, and some to Team Red. It is just a simple fact of the industry and one that gamers and enthusiasts need to understand.

That said, Project Cars is still one of the top five games played through Steam, that has HTC Vive and Rift head mounted display support. This in fact makes it a perfect game to add to our VR Leaderboard and pertinent for VR testing in general.

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If you have the horsepower, Project Cars can render images close to photo-realistic. This game was also not built with VR headset support in mind. However many flight simulations and racing sims/games are the type of games that lend themselves to seated VR perfectly. However, the guys at Slightly Mad Studios were certainly waiting for it to happen.

"Ever since the announcement of the Oculus Rift and the team getting their hands on one of the early devkits we immediately knew the racing genre was going to be a perfect fit for virtual reality. With players already having an understanding of what it feels like to sit in the driving seat of a car, wheel peripherals already existing that provide a natural driving input, and the nature of racing being one of (hopefully!) forward motion, the ability to now wear a virtual helmet and experience the action through the driver’s eyes is the final piece of the puzzle allowing you to get as close as possible to the real thing."

- Stephen Viljoen, Game Director

This is our first game that does not use room scale VR. I do not know if you guys remember our AMD Eyefinity Review from about 7 years ago. Needless to say, we loved Eyefinity and the way it was going and pushing GPU needs at the same time. One of the huge bonuses we found when using a Eyefintiy in a three-wide-landscape display setup was in racing games. Having those two extra screens extending our field of vision actually led to us being able to clock better lap times. This was not something we "felt," we actually tested this with multiple drivers. For some reason, that was the same experience I was expecting with the VR headset. That however was not the case. I did not get the feeling of speed the way I did with the Eyefinity setup and I did not experience being able to drive the car better, or at least that how it felt to me. Keep in mind, with the VR headset, our field of vision is cut down to about 90 degrees. This is a very subjective observation, but I wanted to share if you are thinking of moving from Eyefinity or Surround to a VR headset for driving. I would certainly try it first.

The only driving mode I really liked using the VR headset in was cockpit mode. Once you get adjusted to it, I have to say that using the VR headset and cockpit mode was truly a blast. It very much gave me the feeling of being there inside the car. You are turning your head, checking your mirrors and the spacing of the cars beside you and such. The VR headset in the cockpit certainly made me feel more like I was actually driving than the Eyefinity experience ever did.

There are tons of videos you can watch on YouTube that show folks using the Oculus or the Vive for Project Cars VR, but the fact is that a video will in no way do the experience justice.