Thursday October 18, 2018

Motion Smoothing Feature in SteamVR Allows Lower-End GPUs to Become VR Ready

Valve Software has added a new feature to SteamVR that has the potential to allow many lower-end GPUs to become VR ready, while improving performance on higher end GPUs. Motion Smoothing senses when a VR application isn't going to make framerate and synthesizes the missing frame by looking at the last two delivered frames to estimate motion and animation. From that information a new frame is extrapolated. These synthesized frames allow the application to run at a full frame rate, eliminates judder, and keeps motion moving forward.

The reward is that the GPU only needs to render 1 out of 2 frames which lowers system performance requirements. If the system still can't keep up, Motion Smoothing can even synthesize 2 or 3 frames for every 1 frame delivered. It can even allow high-end GPUs to run at a higher resolution. Motion Smoothing is currently only available for systems running Windows 10 and an NVIDIA GPU. Valve Software's Alex Vlachos had this to say about AMD cards "We have this mostly working on AMD. We just have a few issues to sort out. AMD support is coming. Sorry I can't provide an exact timeline, but we are working on it."

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What it means for you

From the player's perspective, what was previously a game that would hitch and drop frames producing judder is now a game that constantly runs smoothly at 90 Hz. SteamVR Motion Smoothing improves upon the previously released Asynchronous Reprojection to enhance the overall experience for customers across a wide variety of VR systems. Not only can lower-end GPUs now produce smooth frames in applications that were previously too expensive, higher-end GPUs can now render at an even higher resolution increasing the fidelity of all experiences on all VR systems.