Hardware enthusiasts tuning into Nvidia's live-streamed GDC presentation last night were probably most interested in Jen-Hsun Huang's announcement of the almost-a-Pascal-Titan-X GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Nvidia's announcements regarding the DirectX 12 version of the company's GameWorks software development kit and the FCAT VR performance-monitoring tool were probably more relevant to most of the show's attendees, though. The green team also promised substantial performance increases in DirectX 12 titles in upcoming GameReady driver updates, something that's sure to please developers and gamers alike.
Nvidia says it has invested over 500 engineering-years into the development of the DirectX 12 version of GameWorks. The kit includes tools for physics simulation, error report analysis, profiling, and debugging. Nvidia claims that GameWorks DX12 takes advantage of asynchronous compute, potentially helping developers take advantage of otherwise-untapped hardware resources. The company's love-it-ot-hate-it HairWorks library for hair and fur simulation has been updated for DirectX 12, too.
The best news for Nvidia graphics card owners is probably the promise for increased performance in DirectX 12 games in upcoming GameReady drivers. The green team claims its engineers have "worked with game developers to deliver performance increases of up to 16%" in many popular DirectX 12 games including Ashes of the Singularity, Gears of War 4, Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Tom Clancy's The Division.
It's safe to say that a poor VR experience can be easily identified on feel alone. As we have discovered in the TR labs, though, precisely quantifying the goodness or badness of VR performance is far more tricky. Nvidia says its FCAT VR tools can take some of the sting out of VR performance analysis. The tool is based on Nvidia's existing FCAT frame capture analysis tool. FCAT VR can measure frame times, dropped frames, warp misses, and synthesized frames. Nvidia says the tool should be available mid-March.