AMD’s first foray into the world of virtual reality would be through an initiative known as LiquidVR: a set of technologies—both software and hardware—designed to make VR as realistic and as comfortable as possible.
To achieve the above goals, the LiquidVR software development kit seeks to create and maintain “presence,” or the perception of being physically present and immersed in a simulated world. Inciting this feeling entails having little to no lag between the time a user moves their head and when the corresponding image is flashed on screen. Achieving this sort of latency is critical to minimizing VR-induced motion sickness.
“Achieving presence in a virtual world continues to be one of the most important elements to delivering amazing VR,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus. “We’re excited to have AMD working with us on their part of the latency equation, introducing support for new features like asynchronous timewarp and late latching, and compatibility improvements that ensure that Oculus’ users have a great experience on AMD hardware.”
“Content, comfort, and compatibility are the cornerstones of our focus on VR at AMD and we’re taking a big step in all three areas with the introduction of LiquidVR today. With LiquidVR we’re collaborating with the ecosystem to unlock solutions to some of the toughest challenges in VR and giving the keys to developers of VR content so that they can bring exceptional new experiences to life,” said Raja Koduri, corporate vice president, Visual Computing, AMD. “AMD will continue to collaborate closely with the VR ecosystem to deliver new LiquidVR technologies that aim to make the virtual world every bit as accurate as the real world.”
Some of LiquidVR’s most impressive features to date include:
- Async Shaders for smooth head-tracking enabling Hardware-Accelerated Time Warp, a technology that uses updated information on a user’s head position after a frame has been rendered and then warps the image to reflect the new viewpoint just before sending it to a VR headset, effectively minimizing latency between when a user turns their head and what appears on screen.
- Affinity Multi-GPU for scalable rendering, a technology that allows multiple GPUs to work together to improve frame rates in VR applications by allowing them to assign work to run on specific GPUs. Each GPU renders the viewpoint from one eye, and then composites the outputs into a single stereo 3D image. With this technology, multi-GPU configurations become ideal for high performance VR rendering, delivering high frame rates for a smoother experience.
- Latest data latch for smooth head-tracking, a programming mechanism that helps get head tracking data from the head-mounted display to the GPU as quickly as possible by binding data as close to real-time as possible, practically eliminating any API overhead and removing latency.
- Direct-to-display for intuitively attaching VR headsets, to deliver a seamless plug-and-play virtual reality experience from an AMD Radeon™ graphics card to a connected VR headset, while enabling features such as booting directly to the display or using extended display features within Windows.