VR Direct: How NVIDIA Technology Is Improving the VR Experience

GDC 2015 • Posted 2015-03-07

VR Direct is a set of hardware and software technologies NVIDIA is developing to cut down graphics latency and accelerate stereo rendering performance. In this talk, originally co-presented with Oculus engineer Dean Beeler, we explain concepts like asynchronous timewarp, multiview rendering and VR SLI, and discuss how NVIDIA is enabling these with new APIs, driver features and (eventually) new hardware features.

Slides: pptx, 5.8 MB or pdf, 16.2 MB (both include speaker notes)

Advanced Skin Shading with FaceWorks

GTC 2014 • Posted 2014-03-24

FaceWorks is a middleware library I've been building at NVIDIA for the last year or so. Its goal is to enable game developers to add high-end skin and eye rendering to their game engines. It's still a work in progress, but FaceWorks currently includes an efficient, one-pass subsurface scattering implementation based on Eric Penner's 2010 SIGGRAPH paper Pre-Integrated Skin Shading. It also contains an implementation of deep scatter (translucency) based on estimating the thickness of a model from a shadow map.

This talk gives a high-level overview of how FaceWorks' rendering features operate, how it can be integrated into a game engine, and the roadmap for future development.

Slides: pptx, 12.8 MB or pdf, 1.9 MB (both include speaker notes; the pptx has higher-quality images)

Ambient Occlusion Fields and Decals in Infamous 2

GDC 2012 • Posted 2012-03-09

Two main ambient occlusion (AO) technologies are commonly used in game engines: baked AO (either per-vertex or with lightmaps) and screen-space AO (SSAO). Baked AO is well-suited for large-scale occlusion and SSAO for fine-scale occlusion; however, neither baked AO nor SSAO is well-suited for the medium scale.

In Sucker Punch's 2011 game Infamous 2, we added a couple of new ambient occlusion (AO) technologies to our engine to fill this gap. Called AO Fields and AO Decals, they work by precomputing the occlusion an object casts onto the space around it and storing that data in a texture, which is then applied in real-time much like a light in deferred shading.

AO Fields and AO Decals offer greater detail than per-vertex baked AO at a modest performance and memory cost, and they avoid some of the drawbacks of SSAO while still being partly dynamic.