Nvidia Will Soon Be Releasing FCAT VR Which Measures The Quality Of Your VR Experience
We’ve all experienced what bad VR content can do to you as far as being sick. I know I’ve had my fair share where I felt nauseous, dizzy, and sick with a subtle headache. It’s like catching a real life virus. To deter and monitor good VR content from bad, Nvidia will be releasing FCAT VR. This is a new frame capture analysis tool for virtual reality, which will helps VR developers and enthusiasts analyze performance in VR content.
There are traditional performance indicators such as FRAPS, which measures what’s happening on a desktop monitor. It, however, fails to measure what’s happening inside the VR headset. FRAPS solely focuses on frame rate. There is no measurement of stutter, hitching, or latency, which plays a pivotal role in a VR experience.
“FCAT VR will take the guesswork out of VR performance testing with an object, data-based process,” according to Nvidia. “FCAT VR builds on this to provide comprehensive performance measurement for frame time and stutter on the VR headset without the need for special external capture hardware. The tool supports both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.”
Rendering in VR is a lot more different and intricate versus standard rendering processes. For example, the GPU has to render at a higher resolution for VR than traditional content. Quality VR experiences require high and consistent frame rate with low latency between head motion and display output. Additionally, frames in VR content must be pre-distorted in order to offset the effect of looking at a display through an optical lens inside the VR headsets.
According to Nvidia, FCAT VR will track four key metrics to determine between good quality VR content and bad quality VR content.
- Frame Time — Since FCAT VR provides detailed timing, it’s possible to measure the time it takes to render each frame. The lower the frame time, the more likely it is that the app will maintain a frame rate of 90 frames per second needed for a quality VR experience. Measurement of frame time also allows an understanding of the PC’s performance headroom above the 90 fps VSync cap employed by VR headsets.
- Dropped Frames — Whenever the frame rendered by the VR game arrives too late for the headset to display, a frame drop occurs. It causes the game to stutter and increases the perceived latency which can result in discomfort.
- Warp Misses — A warp miss occurs whenever the runtime fails to produce a new frame (or a re-projected frame) in the current refresh interval. The user experiences this miss as a significant stutter.
- Synthesized Frames — Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) is a process that applies animation detection from previously rendered frames to synthesize a new, predicted frame. If FCAT VR detects a lot of ASW frames, we know a system is struggling to keep up with the demands of the game. A synthesized frame is better than a dropped frame, but isn’t as good as a rendered frame.
There will be two parts to FCAT VR. FCAT VR Capture will capture the detailed performance metrics without the need for specialized capture hardware. FCAT VR Analyzer will be providing the data in an easy-to-read graphical user interface. The tools will be available to download starting mid-march.