Last month NVIDIA introduced a Variable Rate Supersampling (VRSS) feature for its RTX graphics cards. The feature applies supersampling in supported VR games only where it matters most to save GPU resources. A new driver released today adds VRSS support to five new games, including The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, bringing the total count to 31 titles.

VRSS is designed as a more efficient way to supersample VR games. Traditional supersampling sharpens the entire frame, but that means that some resources are wasted sharpening parts of the image which will be blurred anyway by the edge of a VR headset’s lens which isn’t as sharp as the center.

Image courtesy NVIDIA

VRSS takes advantage of a new feature in Nvidia’s latest RTX GPUs (and other Nvidia cards based on the ‘Turing’ architecture) to apply supersampling only in the center of the image where it will matter most to the user, thereby saving GPU compute power for other tasks. In an Nvidia test, the company claims Boneworks achieved an average of 120 FPS with 4x VRSS compared to 75 FPS with 4x traditional supersampling.

While VRSS doesn’t require any special developer implementation with Nvidia-specific packages, the feature only works with games based on DX11 or those with forward renderers that support MSAA; Nvidia is manually activating support for the feature only on titles it has tested.

Today with the release of Nvidia’s GeForce driver version 442.50, the company whitelisted five additional games to support VRSS, as revealed in the driver documentation:

  • VRChat
  • Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency
  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
  • Doctor Who
  • PokerStarsVR

That brings the total count of VRSS-supported games to 31 (you can see the original 26 titles supported here).

In a prior driver release earlier this month, Nvidia added the VRSS option to the ‘Global’ tab in the Nvidia Control Panel, which means users can set the option to activate automatically when playing a supported game instead of manually enabling the option for each game.

To activate VRSS on supported games, open the Nvidia Control Panel and select ‘Manage 3D Settings’. Under the ‘Global’ tab, find the option ‘Virtual Reality – Variable Rate Super Sampling’ and toggle it to ‘Adaptive’ (the recommended setting, which automatically scales VRSS based on available GPU power).

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  • DuxCro

    I tried it on Lone Echo and Talos Principle VR, and it does absolutely nothing. I still have to super sample to get some improvement.

  • Immersive Computing

    It’s an interesting tool to use but my results were mixed. Using 2080Ti so lots of GPU overhead. Tried 90hz and 120hz modes, tried different levels of super resolution including 100%.

    Space Pirate Trainer looked strange, I could see something happening in the centre of my vision where it seemed to be applying super resolution and then withdrawing as I moved my head around to scan for enemies.

    In Death looked incredibly clear, and very sharp to a level not seen before, very helpful for long distance head shot.

  • Raphael

    Nvidia has a long history of bringing perfomance boosting features that ultimately fail due to lack of marketing drive. VRworks brought significant performance boost to VR games. Raw Data, Eve Valyrie and the Croteam games saw big perfomance boosts after the devs added VRworks support. A few years on and there are no new games supporting VRworks. Those VR hardware performance boosting features built-in to every Nvidia GPU are sitting unused. Which means we’re not getting anywhere near the full performance on most demanding VR games.

    SLI was always hit or miss and is now pretty much dead.

    And no I’m not buying a 2000 series Nvidia to get this new limited lifespan feature.

    • Buddydudeguy

      Even a 2070 super is some 45% faster than a 1080. Even if VRSS is abandoned, you get a much faster card. All you’re doing is staying on older hardware to be a anti corporate rebel.

      • Raphael

        45% faster is impressive. I have a 1080ti. Nvidia RTX would be useful for me but not in games.

        • Buddydudeguy

          Ray tracing isn’t useful for games? DLSS isn’t useful for games? Did you hit your head?

          • Raphael

            You’re not understanding me. Raytracing is amazing for games. For me the primary use of RTX is in 3d rendering. None of the games I run support RTX at this time.

          • Buddydudeguy

            ok? That’s you. Your argument was brushing off RTX. I gave reasons why RTX is better then the 10xx series. Am I a mind reader? I’m supposed to know you’re not a gamer and more into rendering?

          • Raphael

            Yes, you are supposed to know these things. I will get a 2000 series at some point. I don’t think any VR games support RTX do they?

          • Buddydudeguy

            Incorrect. Variable Rate Supersampling, Variable Rate Shading, Passthrough +….Why are you so against new tech? This conversation doesn’t even make sense. the 10xxx series is like 3 years old.

          • Raphael

            You’re triggered aren’t you. I’m not against new tech. I am aware of all the proprietary systems Nvidia have created and failed to push into long term adoption… VRworks is the latest failure. A great system bringing significant performance boost to VR games but all already forgotten and dying out.

            At least if this new system only depends on Nvidia adding support for each game and not replying on the good will of a developer to bring support them it’s a better situation.

            Now… Stop being triggered because you’re starting to annoy.

          • Buddydudeguy

            “triggered”? Ya man, so “triggered”. Go back to Reddit with your internet catch phrases. I thought maybe you’d have a logical response. I was wrong.

          • Raphael

            Never been a fan of reddit. In fact I always hated the way everything I ever wanted to comment on was “archived”. Reddit did prove useful when my Vive developed a fault though. A redditor gave the correct diagnosis saving me a lot of time and money.

            Usually I do give more logical responses. Errors creep in once in a while though.

    • kontis

      You are confusing proprietary custom solutions with industry standard features supported by APIs like DirectX, OpenGL and Vulkan.

      VRWorks was proprietary. VRS is standard, but the competitor, AMD, simply doesn’t have a product on the market with it yet and only the newest architecture from Nvidia has it, so devs don’t use it. VRSS is a hack to implement it by Nvidia without the involvement of dev.

      SLI/Crossfire is a completely different problem – it’s physically impossible to use 2 GPUs as a one because of limits of speed of light (latency). So supporting it is not the core problem, it simply cannot work the way it should.

  • Mradr

    One thing to note – VRSS is the same idea on how eye tracking workings for FOVA – so long as this exist – FOVA is not far behind in terms of being supported at a hardware level. We’re at this point just waiting on AMD to release something as well and then we should have the green light for eye tracking + FOVA support.