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Valve Introduces Auto Resolution Scaling to Steam VR


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Aug 12, 2016
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Valve has announce that they've added a new rendering capability to their Steam VR environment which aims to improve image quality and frames per second in VR environments, while reducing processing load on both over and underpowered hardware. The auto resolution scaling feature they've introduced to Steam VR is nothing really new - it's been used in some games for a while now, and has recently begun attracting wide industry and game developer interest mainly on the back of the new, revised mid-gen upgrade consoles from Sony (the PS4 Pro) and Microsoft (Xbox One X).

The idea behind the auto resolution scaling is that developers (or users) can set a given frame rate target, and rendering resolution will be automatically adjusted so as to facilitate those FPS values to be achieved - wither by increasing rendering resolution (and thus image quality) in less work-intensive areas, or doing the reverse, and reducing rendering resolution in performance-hog stretches of games or experiences.

This move brings many improvements besides the aforementioned ones. Since VR is a particularly intensive area of graphics technology and rendering (requiring a target of 90 FPS for ideal rendering scenarios), GPUs are quicker to fall of fulfilling the requirements - maintaining a 90 FPS target is much more resource intensive than keeping a 60 FPS one. This will allow some GPUs that are becoming insufficient for typical VR workloads to keep serving their users for a little while longer, since these GPUs can now benefit from reduced rendering resolution in the stretches that they require a little more help to achieve the desired 90 FPS targets.

As another interesting addition, the auto resolution scaling embedded in Steam VR does all the heavy lifting inside the runtime itself; it's transparent to games, and thus doesn't require any additional input from developers. It just works. And will even improve rendering resolution for users that make use of overpowered GPUs that can comfortably deliver more than 90 FPS in their maximum HMD resolution - the Steam VR runtime will thus scale up the internal rendering resolution, supersampling the image, and then scaling it down to your HMD's actual panel resolution, thus improving aliasing and other image artifacts that may still exist.

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May 19, 2017
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Okay I'm a little confused here. Will this remove the really small theater like room you're in when you're in a non VR game on steam or will it make it that you can zoom in and out in games or something?
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lol this icon is so Nazi
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Okay I'm a little confused here. Will this remove the really small theater like room you're in when you're in a non VR game on steam or will it make it that you can zoom in and out in games or something?


It's just a dynamic resolution feature.


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Someone else acknowledges current hardware isn't really up to the VR task. How could it be, when reviews on PC show select few GPUs can keep above 60fps in the more demanding titles and VR needs 90fps?