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Gear VR performance?

ccsccs Posts: 219
Hiro Protagonist
edited October 2014 in Samsung Gear VR
I'm seriously considering jumping into Gear VR development since that will be the 1st consumer product out. I have parts of what I think can make a good game on it, but I'm wondering about performance. My game uses Unity terrain and some custom terrain shaders that I can optimize for mobile, but I'm wondering if a terrain-based game is going to be too much for the GearVR. I'm concerned about either the terrain LOD system causing stuttering or having LOD off and having too much geometry at once. My partial game runs about 400fps on my i5 + GTX760 system with terrain LOD off and all terrain I need active at once, so I'm thinking I might be safe, but I don't have a good sense of just how powerful the Note 4 CPU/GPU is compared to a decent desktop system. Anyone have any ideas here? I found Drash's blog post here the most helpful so far:

http://www.drashvr.com/2014/09/titans-of-space-has-been-ported-to.html

In any case I was due for a new phone, so I pre-ordered a Note 4 and will get the Gear VR as soon as it comes out, but I was trying to get a jump-start on development. If my concept isn't really feasible on Gear VR I'm not sure I want to waste the next month working on it when I could be working on some of the other stuff I have in mind for CV1. I guess worst case I just have my game be a CV1 game and the effort won't be completely wasted, but I was hoping to dabble in Gear VR to see what becomes of it. I don't think there will be that many apps/games at the beginning, so I think there is a large opportunity to break into a new market here.

ccs

Comments

  • ccsccs Posts: 219
    Hiro Protagonist
    I think I might have answered my own question some already. I re-read Drash's post and reconsidered the 50K vertices per eye and ~100 draw calls suggestions. I'm currently at 500K verts + 1800 draw calls on the terrain alone with terrain LOD off. Guess I'll have to rethink this, possibly with a custom terrain system or mess around with LOD some. Or I could just scrap the idea altogether, but it gave me a nice excuse to get a new phone & Gear VR though. :)

    edit:
    Just turning off shadows on the single directional light got me to 224K verts + 786 draw calls. Maybe there is hope yet. Might try global illumination (Marmoset) or baked lighting next.

    ccs
  • GeraldGerald Posts: 1,068
    Nexus 6
    edited September 2014
    I am in the same boat, but I had a look at what is announced so far and most titles share the same visual style - low poly.
    Have a look at this asset: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/18572

    It allows for terrain transformation to low poly style and it slices the generated terrain pieces in more manageable parts.
    Takes a bit of practice, but I found the results very pleasing. It also helps with optimizing your other models (results vary depending on how the model was build - for example details in textures, especially transparent ones get lost).
    Sadly it does not allow to reduce the poly count of single models, for that you will have to rely on other options.

    And watch Carmacks talk from Connect - you will start to consider not only the performance, but also the power requirements and impacts on thermal buildups. Very interesting and a tough to swallow pill if you are used to desktop game design.
    check out my Mobile VR Jam 2015 title Guns N' Dragons
  • bp2008bp2008 Posts: 256
    Hiro Protagonist
    Hah all I can say is the performance of mobile systems is nowhere near that of a desktop yet. The last game I developed was a 2D bomberman clone for the OUYA and I thought I had done a really good job of making it efficient. I could run a game grid that was hundreds of blocks wide and tall without ever quivering from 60fps on my dev machine. Put it on Ouya and I couldn't even sustain 60fps with the default grid size I was using: 11 x 21.

    So I wish you luck. From the sound of it you will need it. :)
  • ccsccs Posts: 219
    Hiro Protagonist
    Yeah I love the Polyworld asset look. I might give it a try. Someone made a rift demo with it that looks awesome and works really well in VR.

    With some minor tweaks to the terrain LOD, I'm at the suggested draw call and vertex count target. I use a 2048x2048 heightmap and single terrain (which is enough to make the horizon far away and the close terrain not be too jagged). Trees and details are all off as I don't need them. I'm using TerrainComposer which is an awesome asset.

    By setting:

    terrain.heightmapPixelError = 10;
    terrain.heightmapMaximumLOD = 0;

    I get 94 draw calls and 24K verts. I originally had pixel error set to 1 for best look and no popping on desktop. I can probably live with popping on mobile. I just tried it on DK2 and the popping wasn't that bad. Looks like this project might be doable for Gear VR. Jumping in....

    ccs
  • GeraldGerald Posts: 1,068
    Nexus 6
    the good thing is you can polyfy your project at pretty much any state - but the earlier you start, the better the results will be (because it takes a bit of training to get the best results ... but at the same time the asset is evolving and that can save you time).
    check out my Mobile VR Jam 2015 title Guns N' Dragons
  • zerogeezerogee Posts: 157
    Realistic expectations for performance are always helpful, but I think you'll find that most people who have dug in and started developing for the Gear VR are pleasantly surprised with what you can wring out of the Note 4.

    It is of course nowhere near as capable as what a high-end PC can run, but you can still get a pretty darn compelling experience out of it.
  • jabjab Posts: 105
    Art3mis
    Considering the GearVR is a fixed piece of hardware, you can do some pretty hardcore optimization (Carmack style aka old school programming) and get away with it. If it works on your dev system it works for everyone.
  • owenwpowenwp Posts: 677 Oculus Start Member
    I think the low poly faceted look is a mistake, in terms of using the hardware efficiently. Sharp lines and solid colors will make the low rendered resolution and 60hz flicker much more apparent. Also in general geometric detail costs a lot more than texture detail. It is not a very good way to improve performance.
    Sanzaru - Programmer
  • GeraldGerald Posts: 1,068
    Nexus 6
    jab wrote:
    Considering the GearVR is a fixed piece of hardware, you can do some pretty hardcore optimization (Carmack style aka old school programming) and get away with it. If it works on your dev system it works for everyone.

    That might be an option, but nobody will go for that. Smartphones don't have the lifetime of consoles, so creating hardware specific software means you will only be able to sell it for a short while and to a limited audience. So instead of getting rewarded for the extra effort you will very likely get punished.
    There might be some cool hobbyist stuff coming though. :)
    check out my Mobile VR Jam 2015 title Guns N' Dragons
  • GeraldGerald Posts: 1,068
    Nexus 6
    owenwp wrote:
    I think the low poly faceted look is a mistake, in terms of using the hardware efficiently. Sharp lines and solid colors will make the low rendered resolution and 60hz flicker much more apparent. Also in general geometric detail costs a lot more than texture detail. It is not a very good way to improve performance.

    I hope you are wrong. But "Low Poly" already implies that we have very little geometric detail, the texture will always be an extra processing step. I can't wait to get some data on this, but I have the hope that with memory operations going down a lot without textures we will also see a lot less power being eaten away and the battery to last longer.
    check out my Mobile VR Jam 2015 title Guns N' Dragons
  • JotokutoraJotokutora Posts: 204
    Hiro Protagonist
    I am actually looking forward to develop for the Gear. And the fact that it has limitations kinds of makes it a good challenge. It will have to push us to be clever and creative. :D
  • kongkingkongking Posts: 93
    Hiro Protagonist
    Maybe they could develop an external gpu for the Gear VR that would connect to the phone once its in the slot. And add a battery for it too. Doesn't seem impossible at all.. These chips weigh almost nothing.
  • JotokutoraJotokutora Posts: 204
    Hiro Protagonist
    kongking wrote:
    Maybe they could develop an external gpu for the Gear VR that would connect to the phone once its in the slot. And add a battery for it too. Doesn't seem impossible at all.. These chips weigh almost nothing.


    If you think as a consumer, that would be great. As a business that refresh their units once a year, not a good idea at all.

    Technically, that would increase weight compromising the center balance. More powerful GPU would require more cooling and drain the battery faster.

    Connecting a desktop GPU as another option would not be supported certainly. That wouldn't be part of the objective as a business.

    If you want power, get the DK2 or wait for CV1
  • kongkingkongking Posts: 93
    Hiro Protagonist
    As a consumer - First I'd choose a phone not by it's VR readiness but something else. If I learn that the advertised VR is useless compared to the real PC-powered one, its not going to add anything to the decision.
  • JotokutoraJotokutora Posts: 204
    Hiro Protagonist
    edited October 2014
    kongking wrote:
    As a consumer - First I'd choose a phone not by it's VR readiness but something else. If I learn that the advertised VR is useless compared to the real PC-powered one, its not going to add anything to the decision.


    Decision making for purchasing anything is something personal and variable. The Gear VR, should be a great experience to people that aren't exposed to sources, environments that know, or follow about the Oculus (I know many people that never heard of Oculus). The Gear is targeting a different segment altogether, although as a product offering it shares similar overlapping experience to the PC brother.


    Graphic wise the GPU's on this chip sets are rather powerful considering the form factor, although there are compromises when planing the games for it. The experiences will be much shorter for obvious limiting factors. My feeling is that one segment the Gear VR will not intent to focus "mainly" is gamers. Many people don't consider themselves gamers, but would admit to casually play games. A big segment of phone users may rather just watch movies and, or view pictures on a entire new way. The Gear VR is an interesting experiment, because by not been tethered, and also been powered by a self contained cell phone, it can open possibilities, and abilities that will only apply to it.

    I bet the games design for it will be pretty cool as long the developers are considering the limitations! Just don't expect Call Of Duty, at least not soon.

    Just get it bro, I'm sure you will love it! ;)
  • kongkingkongking Posts: 93
    Hiro Protagonist
    If I can watch 3d movies with it, its probably enough. But yeah, I don't know anything about the crowd. So, good luck. Its a nice idea even with fewer polygons and shaders and what not:p
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