Meta’s new rendering technique for Quest 2 is no “silver bullet”

The new Meta rendering technique for Quest 2 is not a

Image: Epic Games / Meta

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The “Application Spacewarp” VR rendering method is expected to get up to 70% more performance from Meta Quest 2, but the new rendering technology still has some weaknesses.

Meta presented Application Spacewarp, or AppSW for short, at Connect 2021. The rendering technique makes VR apps in half instead of full frame rate and artificially generates every second missing frame. This it saves a lot of energywhich can be channeled into better graphics and a higher frame rate.

AppSW looks amazing, but it’s not child’s play. Developers need to implement the rendering technique in VR apps and should ideally optimize graphics for AppSW. Otherwise, the artifact can occur with transparent or rotating objects. That is, glitches in the display from missing or incorrectly rendered frames.

Probably for this reason there are hardly any virtual reality apps that use the rendering technique till now. As far as I know, Green Hell VR is the first VR game in the Oculus Store to use AppSW.

Green Hell VR: First AppSW game with shortcomings

I recently played Green Hell VR for Meta Quest to see the rendering technology in action. Unfortunately, the the implementation has drawbacks. I noticed artifacts on the contours of nearby and moving objects, as well as transparent textures. This isn’t the end of the world, but it still is a bit annoying.

The advantage of AppSW is that Meta Quest 2 can make the lush jungle reasonably smoothly. Of course, it would be best not to see any artifacts.

This week’s release of Red Matter 2 (review), which sets new standards in mobile VR graphics, doesn’t offer AppSW. On Reddit, the studio writes why: rendering technology has it problems with transparent or glossy surfaces. Besides, there were bug when trying an older version.


Red Matter 2: AppSW upgrade for higher frame rate is possible

AppSW’s support for Red Matter 2 isn’t out of the question yet. A rep from the studio told me that they will take another look at the rendering technology after the game’s release. There may be bug fixes by Meta that will make AppSW usable again for Unreal games like Red Matter 2.

“AppSW could definitely lower the barrier to entry for developers who don’t have optimization know-how. On the other hand, it could benefit those who know how to optimize to get the FPS gained to improve the graphics, “says the studio.” If we were to add AppSW, we would have a switch to go from 72 fps native and 45 fps to 90 fps with AppSW . This is because we have transparencies and reflections and it might not seem ideal. “

However, AppSW is not a “silver bullet”, says the study. At least until developers find a way to make the most of AppSW, instead of adding it later, and develop VR games with AppSW in mind from the start. It will take time.

If you want to try AppSW for free, you can download the Showdown Meta demo from App Lab.

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