What Nvidia’s New GeForce GTX 1080 Means for VR
Nvidia has just unveiled the GeForce GTX 1080, the latest in the company line of elite graphic cards, which promises to be at least twice as powerful as last generation’s GTX Titan card and three times more efficient. And as the internet is marvels over the incredible clock speeds and CUDA cores it boasts, the bigger question is what does the arrival of GTX 1080 mean for both PC gaming and virtual reality?
Gamers can expect “buttery-smooth” graphics if the GTX 1080 lives up to the hype, according to Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang. And sure enough, during the presentation that held on May 6, the company flaunted some gorgeously rendered graphics from popular AAA titles including Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tomb Raider and the upcoming Mirror’s Edge. The cherry on the cake saw Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney show off some jaw-dropping character models that Huang informed the audience were being rendered in real time.
In celebration of even prettier graphics, Nvidia is launching what it’s named the first in-game game capture system, Ansel. Now gamers will have the opportunity to capture stunning super high-resolution images of their favorite games, which they hope, will help push in-game photography to the masses. Even more impressive is the fact that the images can be captured from nearly any perspective in 360 degrees, allowing virtual reality fans to view the shots with headsets like Google Cardboard or HTC Vive.
One of the key benefits of GTX 1080 is the additional power it has that helps improve rendering while still having plenty leftover to compute complex calculations to trace audio position or how an explosion behaves in real-life. Also, developers making VR titles can create even more detailed objects and characters running at a smooth 90 fps — a necessity for any virtual reality program.
With the use of Nvidia’s VRWorks software development kit, developers can take advantage of the simultaneous multi-projection capability of the card, which renders automatically for virtual reality. That, consequently, delivers high resolutions to the center of the screen where a person wearing a VR headset typically focuses. Meanwhile, the edges of the scene, in the viewer’s peripheral vision, will render at a lower resolution, in order to maintain the necessary refresh rate. The effect is also effective in traditional multi-monitor setups, creating a seamless image throughout the setup and eliminating typically warped objects found along the edges of each monitor.
However, even though VR relies a lot on solid visuals, your other senses play a large part in making it a truly immersive experience. As more people start using VR headsets, they’re discovering that the audio doesn’t align perfectly with what they’re seeing. Nvidia VRWorks Audio software is moving 3D or spatial audio to another level, using OptiX ray-tracing technology to follow the path sounds take as they interact with the environment in real time, meaning that if you want to hear what the sound of one hand clapping sounds like in an empty room in VR, you’ll get a realistic representation.
Nvidia VR Funhouse
GTX 1080 is also poised to help on the touch aspect of your VR experience. The PhysX for VR software is designed to help deliver accurate physics and touch interactivity using a combination of positional tracking as it relates to handheld controllers. Now, when you go to pick up and toss an object at a stack of cans in the virtual world, the resulting impact will be more realistic as a result of the real-time calculations.
Overall, the introduction of the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card is certain to usher in a slew of technologies that will ultimately bring prettier, and consequently more immersive, games to both VR and traditional 2D.