Fellow nerds^H^H^H^Htrekkies^H^H^H^H^Hnerds are aware of the even-odd phenomenon – for nine films, every other Star Trek movie was pretty bad, then the next one would be okay. VR previews are now like that, with VR2 and VR4 being fatally broken. We’re planning to just skip 6 entirely.
Anyway, I broke VR4 – my code to put a loading screen in the Oculus Rift had a side effect of killing the render resolution on the HTC Vive and WMR-based headsets. Since I only have the Rift (Chris has one of everything) I never saw the bug; since I thought my change wouldn’t affect anything outside the Rift, Chris didn’t re-try the Vive.
So, VR5 is now up – this should restore the Vive/WMR headsets to the performance of VR3.
We can confirm that ASW is not working in VR4 or VR5 – we’re looking at this now, but for VR4 and VR5 you’ll see ATW but not ASW, regardless of Oculus debug settings.
(Edit: the first version of this post confirmed no ASW in VR5. ASW is off in both VR4 and VR5 because the native rift SDK is not permitting ASW for X-Plane. A number of commenters were concerned that they would lose ASW by going from VR4 to VR5. You will not! ASW is already off in VR4; if you like VR4’s performance, you clearly don’t miss ASW.)
(Edit 2: We have a very promising lead on the ASW issue for Oculus. We have it working again here but I want to do more testing before I declare victory. We do not need any more information. Nothing you can do on your end will fix this. If you think you’re fixing it by “jiggling the handle” you’re probably just falling into placebo effect. If everything goes well we will have an update to fix this over the next day or so).
****EDIT: There’s apparently an issue for people running the Vive and WMR where they’re seeing reduced resolution. We’re looking into it and will post an update as soon as possible.
****EDIT2: We’ve found the issue affecting Vive and WMR. We’re testing a fix internally and will release an update hopefully in the next 24 hours. Please do not submit any more bug reports about Vive/WMR resolution.
11.20 VR4 is Live on the servers. Aside from the usability fixes that Ben already mentioned, the major ‘feature’ in VR4 is…Oculus users will no longer need SteamVR. If you downloaded it just for X-Plane, go ahead and remove it. It will no longer be necessary.
As we said we would do from the very beginning, we investigated the relative performance of X-Plane through the native Oculus SDK versus SteamVR and what we found, through data collection, is that the overall experience for Oculus users was better by going through the Oculus SDK directly. I know many of you are thinking “Duh! I told you that a month ago ya big dummy!” and yes…yes you did. Fortunately/Unfortunately, we try not to make engineering decisions based on gut feelings and anecdotal evidence when we have a way to collect actual numbers. We wanted to tackle a majority of the usability issues affecting everyone before we looked into performance.
In the various A/B tests that we performed, we found that going to the Oculus SDK directly got us about 25% improvement in frame rate. This does not necessarily indicate that there’s anything wrong with SteamVR itself. There are several factors influencing the performance in VR. First, Oculus has their “home”, that little bachelor pad where you hang out while waiting for games to load. SteamVR has their “home” as well. When you use SteamVR, BOTH are running on your machine. Those houses are not free and X-Plane is already CPU bottlenecked so anything consuming CPU resources is going to directly affect performance. (I noticed an Autodesk updater in my task manager that was stealing 5% of my CPU consistently. That too was decreasing my performance….every bit matters!). Going directly to the Oculus SDK removes the SteamVR house from the equation.
Sure, getting 25% improvement is a huge win, but that’s NOT the biggest win. The biggest win, in my opinion, is that Asynchronous Space Warp (ASW) works MUCH better even at very low frames rates down to about 22.5fps. It appears as though the timing of the frames is critical for ASW to work properly. Being at 22.5, 30, 45, 90fps feels smooth! Being in between those frame timings seems to make ASW lose its mind creating an annoying judder; the opposite of what ASW is supposed to be doing for us. Oculus seems to be V-Syncing us to hit those intervals, allowing their algorithms to make reliable timing decisions and predictions. It’s my suspicion that SteamVR was just not hitting those intervals, causing ASW to flip out.
TLDR; Performance for Oculus will be on par with what Vive users have been seeing all along. The smoothness of the rendering seems consistent even down to 22.5fps. If you’re a Vive user, you will still, of course, need SteamVR as that IS your native SDK. If you’re a WMR user, you will still need SteamVR. I have not seen any reprojection issues with WMR like we have with Oculus. Supposedly the upcoming versions of SteamVR have some performance improvements coming for WMR users as well so we’ll be sticking with SteamVR for all headsets other than Oculus. That can always change in the future…based on data.
We’re starting internal and private testing of VR preview 4 – if it goes well, we’ll release it early next week. A few notes on usability:
Have Your Mouse Cake and Eat It
We got a metric ton of “bug reports” that users couldn’t click “Disable VR” when using the 3-d mouse. I put bug reports in air quotes because disabling click zones on the main monitor when using the 3-d mouse was totally intentional! (In other words, I broke that button on purpose.) My thinking was that you might click on “Disable VR” by accident while in the headset because you don’t know what the 2-d mouse is hovering over while clicking.
In VR4, we have a solution to the problem of whether the 2-d or 3-d mouse is the “intended” cursor when a click happens: we read the headset’s “on the user’s head” sensor and disable the 3-d mouse (temporarily) when you take the headset off. So you can be clicking in 3-d, take off the headset and immediately click “Disable VR” and we figure it out. This feature is great for developers who need quick access to 2-d debug tools like the texture browser or DataRef editor. Read More
It’s basically VR2 with the crashes and chaos fixed. The plugin system in VR2 had a bug that seems to have caused plugins to go completely crazy and cause weird rendering settings changes. This should be fixed in VR3, but check your settings to make sure they match what you expect.
VR3 also fixes the sim not starting on older Linux installations.
EDIT: VR3 is now available as a Steam public beta too.
Posted in News
by Ben Supnik
We’ve seen a few critical bug reports over the weekend, so:
- We’re going to hold off on the Steam release of VR2.
- VR3 should be out really soon – basically as soon as we can get these critical bugs fixed. We’ll put that on Steam.
- VR2 won’t launch on some versions of Linux due to a plugin DLL problem. We don’t have a fix for that; we have to fix the sim.
- The HOTAS Warthog causes the sim to crash if it’s plugged in. We’re fixing it.
- If you have any other hardware that either won’t calibrate or crashes the sim, please do file a bug! Commenting on the blog does not count! If you’ve commented on the blog, even if LR staff has replied, file a bug. Only bugs go somewhere that get tracked.
- We’ve seen reports of plugins crashing that did not crash in VR1. If a plugin is now crashing in VR2 that didn’t crash in VR1, please report it! It’s useful to know whether the plugin crashes in VR2 even if VR is not being used.
Anyway, we’ll try to stabilize this stuff in VR3, then move on to more investigations WRT Oculus performance, and fixing other VR bugs like xPads floating in the air.
Posted in News
by Ben Supnik
Set your updaters to grab the latest Beta and you’ll find yourselves with VR2 Preview Release. We put a lot of time into this release in an attempt to tackle as many of the usability issues of the VR1 release as we could. (Steam users — VR2 should be available as a public beta on Steam sometime this weekend, as soon as Philipp gets it uploaded.)
Important Note: If you are trying to run VR2 on an X-Plane install that was previously running FlyInside’s plugin, you might experience a crash on startup. We suggest installing VR2 to a fresh copy of X-Plane on your hard drive. If you can’t do that, you might need to uninstall FlyInside and reset your X-Plane preferences.
EDIT: There is currently a known issue with the Thrustmaster HOTAS causing the sim to crash. We’re looking into this and once it’s fixed, we will release VR3 which will address this issue and possibly others should they arise in the next 48 hours or so. For now, if you want to use VR2, you’ll need to do so without your HOTAS.
I’ll enumerate the major headliner features/improvements and talk about them individually, but first, let me be clear what is NOT in this release. This release will NOT dramatically improve the performance or reduce judder for any VR platforms. The goal of VR2 is to address usability for all users. Read More