Oculus have given developers a heads up on their forthcoming PC SDK release, due August 20th. The release brings with it major overhauls, not least of which include a new Direct Driver Mode, developed in conjunction with NVIDIA and AMD.
One of Oculus’ biggest challenges as they’ve ploughed the road for consumer virtual reality is developing a stable, low latency interface between operating system and hardware. Windows in particular, with its obstructive API layers have meant Oculus have had to get creative in order to get the performance they require for comfortable virtual reality experiences.
Now, Oculus have forewarned of a major release of their PC SDK which will bring numerous step changes in their APIs and in particular their ‘runtime’, the driver service which enabled their lowest latency ‘Direct Mode’.
One of the biggest changes on 0.7 comes in the form of the new ‘Direct Driver Mode’ which has been developed in conjunction with GPU manufacturers NVIDIA and AMD and according to a blog post over at Oculus brings “…the most robust and reliable solution for interfacing with the Rift to date. Rather than inserting VR functionality between the OS and the graphics driver, headset awareness is added directly to the driver. As a result, Direct Driver Mode avoids many of the latency challenges of Extended Mode and also significantly reduces the number of conflicts between the Oculus SDK and third party applications.”
Furthermore, Oculus have now removed the often problematic “Extended Mode” which frequently lead to poor experiences for Rift users and developers.
However with big changes often come incompatibilities and with 0.7 Oculus is warning that any Rift ready titles compiled against SDK’s prior to 0.6.0.1 or newer are not supported. Further, developers working on Unity 0.4 are advised that SDK support for this version of the engine will be provided via a plugin soon, recommending a move to Unity 5 in order to leverage the new SDK’s enhancements. UE4 developers should be OK, with updated support in the next SDK release.
It seems as if 0.7 represents the overall architecture that Oculus are targeting for the eventual v1.0 release, presumably timed for the consumer Rift launch.
Oculus’ PC SDK 0.7 is due to release on August 20th, stay tuned to the Oculus Developer Forums for more information and to raise any concerns you have about the release.