SteamVR are Resolving The Resolution Problem

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 15, 2018

The resolution update applies to all SteamVR compatible headsets, including the HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, Oculus Rift and all Windows Mixed Reality headsets. These customers will now automatically have their VR application resolution up-res'ed - the end result being a clearer and better looking VR experience. According to Valve's Alexa Vlachos, SteamVR will automatically determine the speed of your GPU and will choose a resolution based on what it is capable of rendering.

If your gaming rig can't quite hit the maximum display resolution and frame rate of the Vive Pro (or future high-end headsets), SteamVR will automatically render your VR apps "at a slightly lower resolution" to maximize clarity while providing a consistent frame rate. Many users are not now able to get the best out of their graphics cards, without needing to spend time manually setting resolution or other graphics settings.

Valve claims the feature will lower the cost of VR for consumers, who'll no longer need to worry about constantly upgrading their GPU - assuming they already own a VR ready PC or GPU.

The company also believes it'll make life easier for developers, who previously would've had to test every supported headset on every supported GPU, and make tradeoffs based on how to render at the higher resolutions of next-gen devices. This is exactly what most PC games have done for decades for different resolution monitors and TVs. This feature does not require developers to update their applications. Conversely, users with less powerful cards that might be struggling with some of the more visually demanding VR experiences will see images rendered at a lower resolution to lower the demand on the GPU. This new auto-resolution system takes the headset out of the equation for developers.

As described, it sounds like the new auto-scaling system sets a single VR resolution target for your GPU based on "the majority of applications available" rather than customizing based on the level of detail and scene complexity of the specific VR app being run. "All GPUs will be set to render at an appropriate resolution for the attached headset based on the GPU in their machine". You can experience the feature for yourself by opting into the SteamVR Beta from your Steam library.

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