Steam VR update lets low-end PCs run games more smoothly

21 October, 2018, 22:53 | Author: Sammy Rose

Valve says this feature can improve performance for low and high-end machines alike, allowing far more users to enjoy full, 90Hz VR gameplay on the Vive or Vive Pro.

If you haven't been able to check out the HTC Vive because your PC isn't up to the challenge, Steam VR is rolling out a new feature called Motion Smoothing that should solve your problem. The headsets are rapidly declining in price, sure, but having the optimal experience still requires expensive hardware that many gamers don't have in their systems.

It's in the latter category that Valve's SteamVR Motion Smoothing fits.

If this sound familiar to you, you might know the term from the TV world where motion interpolation is incredibly common. This smooths out the frames and increases framerate, but it also adds latency - providing passable results for TV but definitely not the right way to go in VR.

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'The way we are applying Motion Smoothing in SteamVR is a bit different.

This means if your PC is rending the scene at 45 fps the software will create 1 frame for every one properly rendered, and if it renders at a very low 30 fps it will generate two. It looks at the last two delivered frames, estimates motion and animation and extrapolates a new frame. The synthesis of new frames keeps the current application at the full frame rate, accelerates forward motion, and avoids stuttering. "When SteamVR sees that an application isn't going to make framerate (i.e. start dropping frames), Motion Smoothing kicks in", Vlachos writes. SteamVR Motion Smoothing effectively "synthesizes" multiple frames into a single frame to reduce the workload.

For the moment, this function will be active only for those Vive and Vive Pro devices, Oculus Rift stays out of the equation and even the Windows operating system.

More information on the feature is available from the official announcement post.

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