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Valve on VR Latency

A lengthy post on the Valve Blog written by software engineer Michael Abrash discusses his work on creating a viable virtual reality headset for gaming. He goes into detail on the issues involved in reducing the latency in such devices to practical levels, saying: "If you ever thought that AR/VR was just a simple matter of showing an image on the inside of glasses or goggles, I hope that by this point in the blog itís become clear just how complex and subtle it is to present convincing virtual images..." He discusses some of the breakthroughs they have made so far, but admits "we've only scratched the surface," saying they are now in need of "a true Kobayashi Maru moment" to break through the final physical barriers preventing practical VR. Thanks Polygon/VG247.

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25. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 3, 2013, 15:49 eRe4s3r
 
There is a indeed not a huge leap but camera view finders literally run the image through 1:1 you see, what the sensor sees. Unless you want to make fancy see through glasses this technology doesn't really get you anywhere.. apart from having a really good looking display that can do 240hz... obviously OLEDS would be the displays of choice .. but that is not their problem, the source is problem. You need 2x 240fps outputs and it needs to get to the display (meaning, full frame) in less than 4ms

Think for a second how many games you ever seen that ran at 240 fps? Now imagine you need to render 2 at 240fps at the same time. Because you have 2 views (stereo). But physics, particles, all random effects need to be in perfect sync.

Sure there are games that can render stereo but they can't output the 2 streams separately because it's just a camera trick.
 
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24. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 3, 2013, 15:28 Zoom
 
Regarding the article, i know that OLED displays with refresh rates at 240Hz do exist as they are integrated in modern cameras today. Olympus next camera should even push the limit on this (probably 240Hz still, but higher resolution). There is not such a huge leap between OLED viewfinder technology and OLED VR display technology..  
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23. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 3, 2013, 14:42 Verno
 
Broken record is broken.  
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22. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 3, 2013, 01:21 Sepharo
 
Dev wrote on Jan 3, 2013, 00:55:
Sepharo wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 19:18:
They're not releasing HL3 until it has something revolutionary in it... You should be cheering them on in their VR and other peripheral pursuits if you want to see HL3 sooner.
I don't think those 2 things have anything to do with each other. Remember, valve employees work on whatever they want to, whenever they want to. They have a flat (as in no) management structure. It usually ends up being what they find interesting and/or fun, and this is interesting to the guy, so he's working on that.

Derp.
 
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21. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 3, 2013, 00:55 Dev
 
Sepharo wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 19:18:
They're not releasing HL3 until it has something revolutionary in it... You should be cheering them on in their VR and other peripheral pursuits if you want to see HL3 sooner.
I don't think those 2 things have anything to do with each other. Remember, valve employees work on whatever they want to, whenever they want to. They have a flat (as in no) management structure. It usually ends up being what they find interesting and/or fun, and this is interesting to the guy, so he's working on that.
 
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20. Re: More Big Picture Details Jan 3, 2013, 00:04 Rigs
 
I can't help but think that VR in the future is going to look more like TRON LEGACY than the VR that was imagined in the 80's. Not that that's bad, per se, but as has been said, they better be makin' the whole simulation suit for it...don't forget the hot girls to put it on me either! Just leave CLU out of it, eh? Free Olivia Wilde VR with every purchase!


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19. Re: More Big Picture Details Jan 2, 2013, 22:39 eRe4s3r
 
I dunno, I think I would get a total mindfuck looking at a full view covering screen but still using kb/m but I would be willing to try it ;p I think that it could be a pretty epic experience but yeah.. with VR this is like baby steps.. The high end would be tactile simulation, so anything short of a full body suit suspended in a simulation sphere won't do it ,p)

And in this case 3D would already be the default, because the VR goggles need to render stereo scenes, that means, the game must render 2 scenes at once (and why frame rate is such a huge problem). This is also the ONLY real 3D system that exists. Full stereo rendering, where each eye only sees the view it's meant to see with a FIXED focus, so no DOF, no motion blur.

I admit this tech would be kinda neat but for a full view covering mid-step betwen real VR and flat view the resolution feels too low... but it's good to see this tech finally getting some development, Not just for games, imagine flying your model plane with VR goggles in first person or 3rd person view.

You could built some epic games (supported by AR functionality) around this concept alone.
 
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18. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 20:22 Genesys
 
Krizzen wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 12:03:
I could go on and on, but it's ridiculous how unoptimized modern games are. Lots and lots hardly even take advantage of CPU extensions like SSE that have been around for years, and a fair majority don't take advantage of multi-core CPUs.

I'm not saying there aren't game engines that aren't good, but a high demand for "this new VR thing" might push big money toward faster, leaner game engines and give us some serious performance increases.

Oh, and what better company to push VR than Valve?

Luckily, there are very few people with better qualifications than Abrash when it comes to optimization.
 
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17. Re: More Big Picture Details Jan 2, 2013, 20:07 Jensen
 
entr0py wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 19:44:
I don't know a lot about it so I'm curious, how do VR glasses fix the convergence problem? My understanding is that convergence is where your eyes are pointed, and that naturally changes based on the distance to the object you're focusing on (more or less cross eyed). But even with VR glasses the screens are still a fixed distance from your eyes.

Would they need eye tracking to allow your eyes to converge on any object in the scene?

The focus point for the oculus rift is infinity. The apurature of the human eye is small enough that focus doesn't change much beyond 10 feet or so. The Rift is also low resolution, so I doubt there will be any (focus vs convergence) issues unless you are consistently looking at a virtual object within a foot or two.
 
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16. Re: More Big Picture Details Jan 2, 2013, 19:44 entr0py
 
HorrorScope wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 18:01:
3D most likely we'll just be a come along for the ride, since it makes a lot of sense tacking it on with two seperate LCD's for perfect convergence.

I don't know a lot about it so I'm curious, how do VR glasses fix the convergence problem? My understanding is that convergence is where your eyes are pointed, and that naturally changes based on the distance to the object you're focusing on (more or less cross eyed). But even with VR glasses the screens are still a fixed distance from your eyes.

Would they need eye tracking to allow your eyes to converge on any object in the scene?
 
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15. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 19:18 Sepharo
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 12:11:
Hey Mikey, you know what we really need? HL3. Why don't you get to work on that, buddy. That's a lot more pressing than VR headsets unless you guys are turning the internet into Snow Crash in the next couple of years.

They're not releasing HL3 until it has something revolutionary in it... You should be cheering them on in their VR and other peripheral pursuits if you want to see HL3 sooner.
 
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14. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 19:06 NegaDeath
 
I just hope we don't end up with competing standards. Normally competition is a good thing but its taken so long to get a shot at decent commercial home VR that I don't want anything to rock the boat right now.  
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13. Re: More Big Picture Details Jan 2, 2013, 18:01 HorrorScope
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 14:28:
Well if you want VR goggles you should bemoan the frame rates ,) I think games would need to made specifically for these goggles anyway. I can't imagine how mouse aim would transfer into VR.... certainly not well.

I felt there is still a step between what we have now (flat monitor) and full VR. That being a full field of view screen you look at inside the goggles, no black space and then you still use k/m like you do today.

Now one may say, well that is VR, I won't argue but I think a lot of people also assume head movement, perhaps body movement as well for total VR. I'm totally ok, with by passing those to get it kicked off with just full fov with today's input devices. 3D most likely we'll just be a come along for the ride, since it makes a lot of sense tacking it on with two seperate LCD's for perfect convergence.
 
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12. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 17:38 kyleb
 
1badmf wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 16:48:
i don't think this guy's seen the oculus rift technology
He has. Check the video on their frontpage, about 2 minutes in.
 
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11. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 16:48 1badmf
 
John wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 10:37:
The Oculus Rift VR headset is coming along pretty nicely..
was thinking the same thing. i don't think this guy's seen the oculus rift technology, cuz those guys seem to have almost completely eliminated visual lag altogether, and with a much larger FOV than past VR headsets.
 
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10. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 15:04 Dev
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 12:11:
Hey Mikey, you know what we really need? HL3. Why don't you get to work on that, buddy.
That's also not nearly as interesting and fun to work on.
 
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9. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 14:28 eRe4s3r
 
Well if you want VR goggles you should bemoan the frame rates ,) I think games would need to made specifically for these goggles anyway. I can't imagine how mouse aim would transfer into VR.... certainly not well.  
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8. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 13:58 Creston
 
Krizzen wrote on Jan 2, 2013, 12:03:
I remember getting hundreds of frames per second in games like Quake 2, Quake 3, Half-Life and surely many other games of the era.

I'm afraid you're either remembering replaying them like last year, or you're just remembering wrong. HL2 ran remarkably well at the time it was released, but it was to the tune of 30-40 fps on good rigs. And if you set everything to maximum without a mega rig, it ran like a slideshow.

So it's not that modern day engines have suddenly become so much worse. In fact, quite a few modern engines run amazingly well on modest hardware.

Creston
 
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7. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 13:25 Beamer
 
I can't fathom bemoaning not getting hundreds of frames per second. Why would you ever want that over better games? After a certain point additional frames per second are completely and utterly meaningless. We can argue where that point is (and it obviously varies per genre), but I think everyone can agree that it's well below hundreds per second.

Also, no one was getting hundreds per second in Quake or Quake 2 at launch. A few years later? Sure. Not at launch. Hell, we were lucky to get 25.
 
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6. Re: Valve on VR Latency Jan 2, 2013, 13:11 Silicon Avatar
 
All that "crapware" makes the games easier and faster to develop.

The cost is shoved on to us in terms of having to buy better hardware or suffer slowdowns. The benefit is that we get games on a regular basis that look and behave a lot better than they did 15 years ago.

Take all that out and you add to development time, which either adds cost or cuts features.

 
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