Nvidia VRWorks To Bring Virtual Worlds To Life With Physics Based Objects, Audio

Nvidia revealed the first two consumer GPUs derived from its Pascal architecture last week, the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. The company also announced some additions to the VRWorks suite of developer tools and a VR experience that shows them off.

Nvidia’s two upcoming 10-series GeForce cards were designed for the most demanding graphics workloads. Nvidia claimed that the GTX 1070 and 1080 will both outperform a Titan X. The extra performance allowed Nvidia to add a few advanced features that should make VR games much more realistic.

Nvidia graphics cards have had the ability to calculate PhysX simulated physics in games for a long time, but the feature has not been available to VR games. Nvidia’s Pascal GPUs will bring support for PhysX to VRWorks, allowing game objects and environments to have realistic physical behavior. PhysX support allows for realistic collision detection, which Nvidia said can enhance haptic feedback responses and aid in audio processing.

Having realistic physically simulated environments also enables more realistic virtual sounds. In the real world, sound travels as a wave that is manipulated by the physical environment. If you’re in a small room, sound will bounce back off the walls, making it feel like a small space. Objects in the room will also have an effect on the way things sound. For example, an empty room sounds very different than the same room filled with furniture or heavy carpet. Outdoor environments also sound very different than indoor environments. We’ve talked about the importance of sound in VR before. Many experts in the field believe sound makes up more than half of the immersive experience, and without properly mapped audio, you’re not getting the full effect of immersion.

VR Audio

By contrast, audio in games is directional. It has an origin point and a destination point, but it is not affected by the environment like a sound wave is. Nvidia introduced VRWorks Audio, which leverages the power of Pascal GPU’s to process audio based on the physical environment. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang explained that VRWorks Audio allows the GPU to calculate physically-based audio in real time. VRWorks Audio allows the Optics engine, which is used for ray tracing technology, to calculate audio signatures in the same way it calculates light signatures. The result should be much more realistic environmental sound.

VR Funhouse

Nvidia said it will be releasing a game called VR Funhouse to help demonstrate these technologies and other VRWorks features, such as Nvidia Flow, Hairworks, Flex, and VR SLI. The VR Funhouse will consist of ten different mini-games, including a basketball-throwing game, a game where you get shot from a cannon, and another where you shoot flaming arrows at targets and set them ablaze. Each demo is engineered to highlight the different feature of VRworks. For example, the Crown Creeper game leverages VRWorks Audio. You’ll have to use your ears to navigate through this game.

Nvidia said that it plans to make VR Funhouse open source so that developers can learn from it as they create their own experience with VRWorks features.

Nvidia has not yet revealed the release date for VR Funhouse. The game requires a Pascal GPU to show off all the features, so it makes sense that the game isn’t out yet. Nvidia said more information about the release will come soon, but if we had to guess, we’d say it will likely launch with the GTX 1080 at the end of the month.

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  • epiced0101
    While I'm definately interested in VR (I like being immersed in a game) I'm just not sure I can handle having random jump scares in my face or intense action like falling. The one jump scare (super random) in Bioshock Infinite scared me half to death and that was only in 2d. Maybe put a warning if the game will have moments that will have horror or simulate extreme movement which will feel more intense than in 2d gaming. I think theres a fine line between enjoyable action like flying or free running. And if you do fall to your death in a game you should make the sequence short and give us a game over or quickly respawn.
  • problematiq
    Quote:
    While I'm definately interested in VR (I like being immersed in a game) I'm just not sure I can handle having random jump scares in my face or intense action like falling. The one jump scare (super random) in Bioshock Infinite scared me half to death and that was only in 2d. Maybe put a warning if the game will have moments that will have horror or simulate extreme movement which will feel more intense than in 2d gaming. I think theres a fine line between enjoyable action like flying or free running. And if you do fall to your death in a game you should make the sequence short and give us a game over or quickly respawn.

    My wife jumped when she was doing the tutorial for the HTC Vive. she said "The room just started moving around and doing stuff!" But she LOVES playing on the Vive. (she doesn't like playing video games) The Vive has been one of the best purchases I've ever made.


    On a side note, All of these upgrades they are mentioning for the new GPU series feels mostly software. Question, Will we need the new series for some of these upgrades that do not require an architecture change? (Just bought a 980ti)
  • thor220
    Lol, Nvidia plans to make the demo open source but it uses a bunch of technologies that are not open source. It's pretty much like "hey check out how we used our own proprietary tech in this VR demo!".

    "Nvidia introduced VRWorks Audio, which leverages the power of Pascal GPU’s to process audio based on the physical environment."

    More like something that could have been done on last gen fine but Nvidia needs to sell GPUs. AMD has had this in TrueAudio for years now. It obvious that Nvidia intends to bury us all in Nvidia only gimmicks so that games pretty much only ever work on their cards.