So we received our new batch of Oculus Rift DK2 kits. INCREDIBLE. The future is here. BUT. Development is slow due to the new SDK and 75hz
limitation “cap”.. looong road a head.
Trying to develop true “future” generation content at 75hz, is near impossible. Most “next gen” consoles and “next gen” console titles can barely manage 60Hz at HD, let a lone 75hz at over 2K rendered in stereo …and we are not a fully fledged development studio with $100,000’s nor $1,000,000’s to dip into.
We are an indie studio in the truest sense of the word.
We’ve had lots of comments from people who have shown a huge amount of interest in what we are doing. I wanted to say a massive thank you for being as patient as you have been with us. We are doing our utmost to try and get some products developed. Because we are such a small development studio with such tight budgets, we rely heavily on other freelancers from all over the world to help us integrate cutting edge effects and shaders into Unity. This is very difficult to do. Time and money are a constant battle. We are winning! We’re getting closer and closer each day but it takes time.
Users have posted asking to see some screen shots of progress, so I wanted to share some new results. Slightly technical. We’ve been working hard on integrating hair, better skin and some other effects like HBAO and HDAO. AO = Ambient Occlusion.
UE4 already has AO built in, so we are trying to make sure that Unity can match UE4’s visuals, as this is the best real-time visual bar there is at the moment. Because Unity is much more open ended and can supported hybrid Forward and Deferred rendering, whilst UE4 cannot, this makes Unity more attractive. UE4 has some Screen Space SSS in the works but for the time being we are sticking with Unity. So the plan is to beef up Unity as much as we can.
With HBAO and HDAO
Without HBAO and HDAO
HBAO and HDAO only
Comparison with and without
Ambient Occlusion is a subtle effect but it’s integral to ground objects into the world. Rather than baking in AO we now have dynamic AO, which will coincide with our real-time skin deformation research. We are trying to convert everything over to be Physically Based.
The hardest part so far has been the jump from DX9 to DX11 and trying to go fully deferred which just isn’t an option for real-time skin and hair. So we have to go hybrid.
The next hurdle we face is the self imposed limitation by Oculus of 75Hz.
Some experts on Reddit pointed this out:
75hz is not a limitation. I hope cv1 has 120hz display. If i can tell the difference between 60 and 120hz on a pc monitor, imagine the difference it will make using a vr headset. fps > graphics you can’t just cut corners for vr, unlike console games which run at a horrible 30fps. I would take worse graphics and better motion to photo latency any day.
I have a dk1 and it gives me a headache because of the 60hz and the motion blur. low persistence tech and high framerates are essential to vr’s success.
For vr to be perfect we would need a 1000fps 1000hz https://www.avsforum.com/t/1484182/why-we-need-1000fps-1000hz-this-century-valve-software-michael-abrash-comments
Agreed. Calling higher framerate a “limitation” is short sighted and defeatist.
So the plan is to beef up Unity as much as we can.
This is the problem… I cringe to think of what the shader stack they are using looks like. If you can’t manage 75Hz with a single model in a scene then you are doing something very wrong.
Agreed. 75Hz and eventually 120Hz is essential for VR. We don’t dispute that.
The next hurdle we face is the self imposed cap by Oculus of 75Hz.
I used the word limitation before because we ARE limited by current GPU technology. Trying to recreate realistic humans at 75Hz in an application like Unity is very hard to do in even in off-line rendering. Think Benjamin Button, Avatar, TinTin. Even then they are stylized examples, with teams and teams of creative people and access to rather large budgets!! Rendering realistic humans on a budget at 75Hz is near impossible. Show us some examples of the problem solved?? and we will bow in defeat!!
If you drop even one frame below 75Hz (with Vsync on) we will get vertical screen tearing and judder. Which is the equivalent of putting hot pokers in your eyes!! With the DK1 if you dropped below 60Hz, it was no big deal, you could just about cope with it. With the DK2 forget it. 75Hz or GTFO!
Our next challenges are numerous. SSR is the biggest. Screen Space Reflections are fairly trivial to implement, the trick is getting good frame rates. This is our next challenge, as well as order independent transparency.
More updates to come. The “bottom” line is, if you want realistic demos in VR. You’re going to need some powerful hardware to run them!!
Seeing HBAO, mixed with HDAO and SSAO in VR is a real treat, screen shots do not do the effects justice. More optimizing to come.
We hope to launch some products this month.