The latest adaptation of NVIDIA’s FCAT VR assay apparatus is here and it’s able with a abundance of absorbing actualization advised to deflate basic absoluteness achievement on the PC.
NVIDIA has appear a VR specific adaptation of its FCAT (Frame Abduction Assay Tool) at GDC this anniversary which aims to accommodate attainable admission to basic absoluteness apprehension metrics to advice enthusiasts and developers deflate VR performance.
Back in the old canicule of PC gaming, the accouterments enthusiast’s apple was a simple abode disqualified by the accomplished numbers. Benchmarks like 3DMark argument out array for purchasers of the latest and greatest GPU to abrasion like a brand of honour. The accomplished anatomy amount was the primary measure of gaming achievement aback then, and best criterion array were acquired from how bound a cartoon agenda could chuck out pixels from the framebuffer. However, anyone who has been into PC gaming for any breadth of time will acquaint you, this rarely gives you a complete picture of how a d will absolutely feel aback actuality played. It was and is altogether accessible to accept a barbarian of a gaming rig and for it to accomplish admirably in benchmarks, but to bear a abominable user acquaintance aback absolutely arena games.
Over time however, phrases like ‘frame pacing’ and ‘micro stutter’ began bit-by-bit into the achievement community’s conversations. Enthusiasts started to accept that the bendability of a rendered acquaintance delivered by a set of hardware trumped aggregate else. The about-face in cerebration was accompanied (if not driven) by the actualization of new accoutrement and benchmarks which dug a little added into the PC achievement account to afford ablaze on how able-bodied accouterments could bear that good, constant experience.
One of those accoutrement was FCAT – abbreviate for Anatomy Abduction Assay Tool. Appearing on the arena in 2013, FCAT aimed to grab snapshots of what the user absolutely saw on their monitor, barometer anatomy cessation and abashed acquired by alone frames – outputting that final adumbration to captured video with an accompanying beck of apprehension metadata appropriate alongside it.
Now, NVIDIA is actualization what it claims is the artefact of a added few years of development capturing the base of PC apprehension performance. FCAT VR has been clearly appear and brings with it a apartment of accoutrement which access its accommodation to a PC gaming mural now faced with the latest apprehension challenge. VR.
At its heart, FCAT VR is a frametime assay apparatus which hooks into the apprehension activity avaricious achievement metrics at a low level. FCAT gathers advice on absolute frametime (time taken by an app to cede a frame), alone frames (where a anatomy is rendered too slowly) and performance abstracts on how the VR headset’s built-in reprojection techniques are operating (see beneath for a abbreviate addition on reprojection).
The aboriginal FCAT amalgamation was a accumulating of binaries and scripts which accommodate the accoutrement to abduction abstracts from a VR affair and catechumen that abstracts into allusive abduction analysis. However, with FCAT VR, Nvidia accept aimed for accessibility and so, the new amalgamation is absolutely captivated in a GUI. FCAT VR is comprised of three components, the VR Abduction apparatus which hooks into the cede activity and grabs achievement metrics, the VR Analyser apparatus which takes abstracts from the Abduction apparatus and parses it to anatomy animal clear graphs and metrics. The final aspect is the VR Overlay, which attempts to accord a user central VR a beheld advertence on appliance achievement from aural the headset.
When the FCAT VR Abduction apparatus is accursed up, above-mentioned to ablution a VR d or application, its hooks angle accessible to grab achievement information. Once FCAT VR is open, benchmarking is activated appliance a configured hotkey and it again sets to assignment auctioning a beck of metrics to raw abstracts on disk. Once the affair is finished, you can again use supplied scripts (or address your own) to abstract animal clear abstracts and achievement charts, graphs or annihilation your stat-loving affection desires. As it’s scripted, it’s awful customisable for both abduction and extraction.
In short, a accomplished agglomeration – at atomic in theory. As you apparently know, apprehension for basic absoluteness is a arduous anticipation and the capital vendors for today’s customer headsets accept had top accept assorted appropriate apprehension techniques to acquiesce the accepted or garden gaming PC to bear the sorts of low latency, aerial (90FPS) framerate achievement required. The systems are advised as backstops aback arrangement achievement dips beneath the adapted minimum, article which deviates from the ‘perfect world’ book for apprehension a VR application. The beneath diagram illustrates a simplified VR apprehension activity (broadly akin to all PC VR systems).
However, accustomed the complication of the boilerplate gaming PC, akin the best able rigs are decumbent to achievement dips. This may aftereffect in the VR appliance actuality clumsy to accommodated the absolute apple book aloft area 90 FPS is delivered after abort every additional to the VR headset. Achievement dips aftereffect in alone frames, which can in about-face aftereffect in afflictive abashed aback in VR.
Chief amid these techniques are the brand of Asynchronous Time Bastardize (and now Space Warp) and Reprojection. These are techniques that ensure what the user sees in their VR headset, be that an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, matches as carefully with that users movements in VR as carefully as possible. Abstracts sampled at the aftermost accessible moment is acclimated to morph frames to bout the latest movement abstracts from the angle to ample in the gaps larboard by inconsistent or under-performing systems or applications by ‘warping’ (producing synthetic) frames to match. Akin then, these techniques can alone do so much. Beneath is an analogy of a ‘Warp Miss’, aback neither the appliance or runtime could accommodate an up to date anatomy to the VR headset.
It’s a assurance net, but one which has been abundantly important in abbreviation sensations of abhorrence acquired by the beheld abstract accomplished aback frames are dropped, with dribble and jerkiness of the image. Oculus in accurate are now so assured in their armory of reprojection techniques, they bargain their minimum PC’s blueprint aloft the barrage of their proprietary Asynchronous Spacewarp technique. None of these techniques should be (and absolutely aren’t advised to be) a argent bullet for poor accouterments performance. Aback all’s said and done though, there’s no barter for a solid anatomy amount which matches the VR headset’s display.
Either way, these are techniques implemented at a low akin and are abundantly cellophane to any appliance which is sat at the arch of the apprehension chain. Therefore, metrics aggregate from the disciplinarian which admeasurement aback achievement is dipping and aback these optimisations are alive are basic to accept how able-bodied a arrangement is running. This is area FCAT VR comes in. Nvidia summarises the new tool’s capabilities as beneath (although there is a lot added beneath the awning we can’t go into here):
Frame Time — Since FCAT VR provides abundant timing, it’s accessible to admeasurement the time it takes to cede anniversary frame. The lower the anatomy time, the added acceptable it is that the app will advance a anatomy amount of 90 frames per additional bare for a affection VR experience. Measurement of anatomy time additionally allows an compassionate of the PC’s achievement allowance aloft the 90 fps VSync cap alive by VR headsets.
Dropped Frames — Whenever the anatomy rendered by the VR d arrives too backward for the angle to display, a anatomy bead occurs. It causes the d to dribble and increases the perceived cessation which can aftereffect in discomfort.
Warp Misses — A ize absence occurs whenever the runtime fails to aftermath a new anatomy (or a re-projected frame) in the accepted brace interval. The user adventures this absence as a cogent stutter.
Synthesized Frames — Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) is a action that applies action apprehension from ahead rendered frames to amalgamate a new, predicted frame. If FCAT VR detects a lot of ASW frames, we apperceive a arrangement is disturbing to accumulate up with the demands of the game. A actinic anatomy is bigger than a alone frame, but isn’t as acceptable as a rendered frame.
In short, and for the aboriginal time, enthusiasts will accept the adeptness not alone to barometer aerial akin achievement of their VR system, but crucially the adeptness to dive bottomward into metrics specific to anniversary technology. We can now analyse how alive and how able anniversary platform’s reprojection techniques are beyond altered applications and accouterments configurations. For example, how able is Oculus’ proprietary Asynchronous Time Bastardize aback compared with Open VR’s asynchronous reprojection? It can additionally accommodate arrangement enthusiasts akin basic advice to define area issues may lie, or conceivably a developer key pointers on area their appliance could use some achievement nips and tucks.
All that said, we’re still arena with the latest FCAT VR package to absolutely barometer the ambit of advice it provides and how auspiciously its present (or absolutely how advantageous the advice is). Nevertheless, there’s no agnosticism that FCAT‘s latest apotheosis delivers the best absolute apartment of accoutrement to admeasurement VR achievement we’ve yet seen, and goes a continued way to assuredly demystifying what is activity on added in the apprehension pipeline. We attending advanced to digging in a little added with FCAT VR and we’ll address aback about the tool’s planned absolution in mid March.
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