NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Supersampling (DLSS) is a technology native to RTX cards which, through the power of onboard AI, can intelligently increase the resolution of rendered frames in games. DLSS is actually now available for VR, and we’re just starting to see more games support the performance-boosting tech—namely, the Stalker-inspired survival shooter Into the Radius VR (2020).

DLSS is a feature available on RTX 20/30-series GPUs, but must be included by individual developers. Now about six months after the release of the DLSS 2.1 update, which included support for VR headsets, developers CM Games took a step as one of the first to include support for the technology.

Granted, Into The Radius isn’t the absolute first VR game (or rather, VR-supported game) to adopt DLSS. Only two months after DLSS 2.1 released with VR support, battle simulator War Thunder (2013) announced it had enabled DLSS as well, however users found mixed results when playing the game in VR.

What does DLSS do exactly? Road to VR’s Ben Lang describes it best in his initial reporting on DLSS for VR:

The goal is to achieve the same resolution and level of detail as a natively rendered frame of the same resolution, and to do the whole thing more efficiently. Doing so means more graphical processing power is available for other things like better lighting, textures, or simply increasing the framerate overall.

For instance, a game with support for DLSS may render its native frame at 1,920 × 1,080 and then use DLSS to up-res the frame to 3,840 × 2,160. In many cases this is faster and preserves a nearly identical level of detail compared to natively rendering the frame at 3,840 × 2,160 in the first place.

If you’re looking for something more visual, War Thunder released a side-by-side comparison of how the game looks with DLSS toggled on and off. This is of course a flatscreen comparison, but the basic concept is the same.

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We’re hoping to see more PC VR games support DLSS, however the global shortage of 30-series cards, and 20-series cards only providing meager performance increases over the 10-series in traditional rendering cases, may have made it too niche for a majority of developers to spend time on.

Do you know of any other VR games which have included DLSS? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Adrian Meredith

    About time DLSS is key to getting more pc users in VR at better image quality

    • Bob

      DLSS works mostly because the user is at least a feet or two away from the display. With VR the screen is an inch or two away and then magnified to a certain degree to fill your FOV which in this case would mean any reconstruction anomalies are more easily noticed. The jury is out on whether or not DLSS can be just as effective within VR as it is on a standard display.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Except when you really view comparison videos ‘upclose’ you also don’t really see the difference..

        • Kunakai

          Gamersnexus did an analysis wherein artifacting is present in many circumstances.

          Not to say the tech isn’t impressive, but Bob’s point is on point in this case, there’s a noticeable trade off in regards to image clarity when using DLSS in Into the Radius. (Not to say clear is necessarily perect in this case given the shimmer effect)

      • Ad

        Fingers crossed on DLSS 2.2. Ideally they can go further with this than they did with VRSS.

  • 3872Orcs

    Anyone here who has played the game before and now tried it with the new update? Any noticeable difference with performance and visuals when DLSS is on?

    • Kunakai

      Not so much. A little less alias shimmer at the price of a little more blur fron what I’ve just seen.

      I’d really love to love this game but it feels like it tries to push for item fidelity at the cost of performance in many cases. (As compared to things like Quake/Doom ports which run real well at a decent resolution due to low them being low fidelity worlds)

      • Ad

        How are frame times with it on or off?

        • Kunakai

          Between 68-72fps in either case from what little I’ve played since.

  • As an Unreal developer, I too look forward to clicking the “Enable DLSS” checkbox in the Unreal Engine in the future. lol

    Seriously though, Eye Tracking and Foveated Rendering are the future. WTF are we going to see them???

    • Andrew Jakobs

      What do you mean ‘in the future’? It’s already available, just download the plugin from Nvidia and you’re ready to go.
      https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/nvidia-dlss

      • Jerald Doerr

        Finally, we agree on something…

    • Ad

      I like this better than eye tracking. No hardware cost and honestly there are real doubts about how low DFR can go. It gets distracting when a post it note in the background just disappears when you don’t look at it.

    • Kay Becker

      Eye Tracking was done on the 3DS, I’m sure you guys can figure it out lmao.

  • doug

    The versions on Steam after 1.0.5279 is the first with DLSS. Viveport’s version is still 1.0.5279. I’ve seen developers complain about how long it takes to get updated versions approved on viveport.

  • Roger Bentley

    i luv my asus 3080

  • Ad

    Come on, benchmark it and share your results.

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  • MeowMix

    It’s a cool feature, but when using a high resolution headset like the Quest2 (1920p, paired with a RTX 30380), then you’ll notice the downsides.

    Even on the Quality mode setting, DLSS adds a slight but noticeable blur to everything (more noticeable far off in the distance). Probably not very noticeable on the lower resolution headsets (Rift CV1, OG Vive, 1st gen WMR), but very noticeable on my Q2. And using DLSS modes other than quality introduces visual artifacts.

    Kudos to the devs of ITR, but DLSS for VR just isn’t quite there (yet).

    • Sarthak Panda

      it’s not just dlss. Any temporal methods like TAA introduce blur in VR. As headset resolution go higher, this blur will keep getting reduced, but the shimmering when not using dlss/taa,etc and using msaa will be there no matter how high your resolution

      Complex scenes also don’t work well with msaa

      • Kunakai

        Surely the shimmer is an artifact of aliasing? (Which would also become less apparent as games reach higher resolutions).

        I’d have to do some testing but have noticed I tend to get noticeable shimmer in PC games over link, whereas Quest native titles generally tend to feature far less.

        • kontis

          Video encoding used by Oculus Link (and almost everything) has chroma subsampling.

          A Full HD 1080p bluray film has only 960 x 540 resolution dedicated to chroma (colors). The true full HD 1920×1080 resolution is only for luminance (it’s black and white).

          Oculus Link, Youtube, Twitch, Stadia all cheat with chroma subsampling.

          • Kunakai

            That’s interesting to know but isn’t such shimmer also perceived on native devices?

            If it were an artifact of encoding limitations I’d expect changing in game settings wouldn’t reduce the effect.

            Into the Radius almost completely nullifies the effect with DLSS (though at the expense of image clarity), for example.

          • Ad

            A Full HD 1080p bluray film has only 960 x 540 resolution dedicated to
            chroma (colors). The true full HD 1920×1080 resolution is only for
            luminance

            I thought that had gone away with CRTs, interesting.

        • g-man

          Surely the shimmer is an artifact of aliasing?

          That’s correct. If you’re seeing aliasing over Link then you should turn up game, Steam or Oculus supersampling, or enable or change AA settings in your game.

      • g-man

        but the shimmering when not using dlss/taa,etc and using msaa will be there no matter how high your resolution

        That’s not true, and it’s why supersampling antialises. The higher resolution you render at the less aliasing will be apparent. These other methods only exist because supersampling is expensive.

        Theoretically if DLSS can upscale enough with high enough quality it should act as an antialiaser.

  • guest

    up-res sounds like BS

  • tom

    flight simulator could probably benefit from dlss. hopefully they add it, but I don’t think it’s a dx12 game.

    • Jerald Doerr

      Bust I thought its a Microsoft game.. How can it not be DX12?

      • g-man

        Paid for by MS but developed by Asobo. Not sure why they used DX11 but it’s true.

    • g-man

      MSFS is probably the game that would reap the most benefit from DLSS.

    • Ad

      DLSS and moving instruments onto a second rendered layer so they can be different resolutions or framerates.

  • TechPassion

    This game somehow never respected supersampling in SteamVR. Graphics always jerky looking like it would be 1024×768 and not high resolution.

  • Amni3D

    Screenshots + benchmarking would be an interesting article.

  • kontis

    The thing that many gamers aren’t ware of is the fact in many cases there is no choice.

    Forward rendering + MSAA (Half-Life Alyx and Quest games use it) is generally the best solution for VR, however it’s very limiting, most of the new tech like real-time GI in UE5 (Lumen) basically cannot be used with it. MSAA also doesn’t solve specular aliasing, but DLSS fixes it beautifully.

    Deferred rendering allows for many modern visual tricks, but MSAA cannot be efficiently used with it, so that forces devs to rely on the hated blurry TAA. However TAA recently improved immensely. It is now used with accumulation and upscaling by default and the blur is no longer as big problem as it was years ago. DLSS uses TAA accumulation (!) and adds details and stability with neural nets.

    Neural net super resolution and temporal data are the absolute must haves for the future of VR. Foveated rendering will rely heavily on these technologies (also on raytracing or similar type of non-uniform sample gathering but that’s a different aspect).

    • christofin

      TAA when done right is definitely the best, even in VR. SkyrimVR’s base TAA implementation is terrible, but with the FO4 CAS mod, it sharpens the TAA without making it look oversharpened, and it produces a very stable image.

      It is too bad that DLSS and MSAA can’t be used at the same time though. MSAA is great in VR.

      I really want to see DLSS in a game while an insanely high supersampling resolution is set, like 200-400%.

      • Ad

        Yup, I wish NVIDIA would do some kind of bundle of a 3080 or even 3060 with a reverb G2.

    • Ad

      Every deferred rending game has been so frustrating in VR. I’ll believe it’s been fixed when I actually see one. Ideally DLSS can do it but it’s only on NVIDIA for now so no consoles and I can’t get one the of the 30 series cards yet :/

      • Fabian

        I was more frustrated with MSAA games. MSAA doesn’t help much with shimmering. I like racing games, but the only one I can actually play is Assetto Corsa Competizione thanks to TAA, all others use MSAA and have disgusting image quality that is unacceptable to me. Games without temporal antialiasing make no sense to me, drives me cracy to look at that flickery mess.

  • Kay Becker

    Meh. I’ll stick with my 6800 XT for VR as I know AMD is just about to get their SuperSampling right and people will lose their shit again, like they always do every generation lol…

    On that note, everything VR runs extremely well on it so far.