Here’s a roundup of news from the third day of our GDC 2018 coverage. Qualcomm’s latest reference headset supports Vive Wave, HTC Vive Focus international launch, Oculus talks about their 2018 ecosystem, announces ‘Positional Timewarp’, reveals new Oculus Go details, and Unreal Engine’s real-time ray-tracing demo.

Qualcomm’s reference VR headset supports Vive Wave

image captured by Road to VR

Qualcomm announced their latest 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit (VRDK) reference headset will have support for HTC’s Vive Wave open API. This means the upcoming third-party headsets based on Qualcomm’s reference design will have turn-key access to the Viveport app store.

First unveiled at MWC 2018, the latest Qualcomm VRDK uses a Snapdragon 845 SoC, and is said to offer twice as much display throughput compared to its 835 predecessor, which was the basis for standalone headsets such as the Vive Focus and Mirage Solo. The new version also adds eye tracking hardware developed by Tobii, and Qualcomm’s own ‘Adreno Foveation’ foveated rendering solution.

Vive Focus international launch this year

Photo by Road to VR

HTC have confirmed the Vive Focus will launch internationally “later this year.” The standalone, mobile VR device is based on the Qualcomm 835 VRDK reference design, with inside-out 6DoF positional tracking and a 3DoF controller. Previously, it was unclear whether the Vive Focus would expand its reach beyond China, where it is already on sale. This new announcement means it could give the Lenovo Mirage Solo some competition in Western markets.

‘Inside Oculus 2018’ session: ‘Positional Timewarp’ announced

image courtesy Oculus

We live-blogged the GDC Oculus session where Ross O’Dwyer (Director of Engineering), Jason Rubin (VP Content), Chris Pruett (Head of Development Engineering), and Ruth Bram (Producer, Oculus Studios) gave an insight into what’s coming to the Oculus ecosystem in 2018. The team discussed hardware across PC, standalone, and mobile, as well as the core software of Dash and Oculus Home. O’Dwyer stressed the importance of apps submitting depth buffers, as it not only allows better integration with Dash, but is essential to enable ‘Positional Timewarp’, a new component announced for Rift Core 2.0 that promises smoother movement at lower framerate.

Meta Updates Quest Link with 120Hz on Quest 3 and Big Battery Savings for All

Oculus Go fixed foveated rendering and 72Hz refresh rate

Photo: Road to VR

During the same session, Chris Pruett (Head of Development Engineering) revealed new details about Oculus Go, which can support an optional 72Hz refresh rate for a smoother experience above the standard 60Hz. This is said to make the image appear brighter and also improve the colours. A built-in, titled renderer developed with Qualcomm enables fixed foveated rendering (which reduces image quality at the edges) for improved performance.

Unreal Engine’s real-time ray-tracing live demo

During Epic Games’ ‘State of Unreal’ GDC presentation, real-time ray-tracing powered by Nvidia RTX technology in collaboration ILMxLAB was shown live on stage. Nvidia announced RTX earlier this week, a real-time ray-tracing solution for their Volta GPU architecture. The demo used high-quality Star Wars assets, with the rendering performed on an Nvidia DGX Station streamed to an iPad, which was used to control the camera position and lighting settings.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Kenji Fujimori

    HTC sucks, didn’t you forget their mobile phone batteries blow up..

    • jj

      and oculus is owned by fb whos under questioning for using people as social test subjects without them knowing…. I think ill take my chances with HTC customer support and save my privacy from getting raped. plus my vivs worked great for years now and i love it, so HTC does not suck to me.

      • Raphael

        No issues with my Vive either. Have made it more comfortable to use with a replacement facepad and an 80mm fan.

    • Raphael

      I’ve been using a crappy HTC one M8 for years and never had issues with the battery. I had a Samsung galaxy s3 and the battery puffed up like a balloon after a few years. HTC do have idiots on their decision making team though.

  • Great roundup!

    • Stephanie

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