NVIDIA’s VR specific driver and API enhancements took a step towards VR enthusiast reality today as the GPU giant launched the first beta release of Gameworks VR and a set of publicly available ‘Game Ready’ drivers are now available to take advantage of the new API’s features.
NVIDIA dug into Gameworks VR for us a few weeks ago and, whatever your feeling about proprietary, vendor specific enhancement, I don’t think there were many who would argue that NVIDIA are taking this here VR thing pretty seriously.
However, both Gameworks VR, the API produced by NVIDIA to offer VR specific enhancements to software coded to use it, has been under NDA with a GPU driver able to take advantage of the features nowhere to be seen.
Today NVIDIA launched the first beta of its SDK for game and application developers, including VR SLI and Multi-Res Shading features. This is one part of the Gameworks VR suite, the other SDK – aimed at hardware and headset developers – will include features such as Context Priority, Direct Mode, and Front Buffer Rendering. The latter remains under NDA at this time.
A Gameworks VR enhanced title however is useless without drivers to expose NVIDIA’s new features, and so version 355.60 of NVIDIA’s so-called ‘Game Ready’ drivers are now also available to download. These drivers are full releases, not beta’s to be clear.
One feature in particular offer VR enthusiasts and early adopters promising and potentially significant performance improvements. VR SLI, a feature that allows multi-GPU owners to dedicate a graphics card to rendering one eye each, with obvious possible gains in rendering performance. VR SLI is now enabled as of 355.60’s release.
However, before you get too excited, all features included in the Gameworks VR suite, including VR SLI, must be targeted and enabled within the software itself. So until developers get to grips with and being to release updates to software using the new software and drivers, don’t expect any magical leaps in peformance.