Futuremark, the Finnish company behind the popular 3DMark benchmark for PCs, announced today its benchmark tool for VR games, called VRMark. The benchmark aims to test performance, of course, but also latency and accuracy, which are two factors that are critical for a good VR experience.
VRMark will test a system's ability to deliver high-quality virtual reality experiences not just for games, but also for simulations, videos and even photos.
Futuremark is inviting VR system makers to join its Benchmark Development Program, where its members will get exclusive access to the VRMark tool before its launch, as well as full access to the source code. The members will also be able to provide Futuremark with feedback through a government-vetted neutral process at every stage, from specification to public release. Both hardware and software companies can apply for the BDP membership.
"There are already more than a dozen different head-mounted displays for VR at various stages of completion. Analysts forecast that VR will reach 10.8 million users by the end of 2016. But delivering a great VR experience relies on overcoming significant performance challenges," said Jukka Mäkinen, Managing Director at Futuremark. "With VRMark, we're aiming to help everyone, from industry engineers and press reviewers to the end user at home, discover the best performing VR technology."
VR gaming is going to require much more powerful hardware to show the same level of graphics quality we see today on maximum graphics settings on the latest games. That's because the same game that today may be played at 30 fps and at a 1080p resolution will need to be played at around 90 fps and at resolutions that are at least twice as high as 1080p.
However, not everyone will be able to buy such expensive hardware. Developers, as well as hardware makers, will need to test and optimize their software and hardware to ensure there isn't any performance overhead that can be eliminated, in order to be able to sell lower-performance hardware that can still provide a good VR experience. A benchmark such as VRMark can help them see ahead of time just how well certain games will work on different graphics settings before they start selling that hardware system.
VRMark is still in development today, but it's expected to have a public release this year.