SteamVR's Motion Smoothing Will Lower Hardware Requirements For HTC Vive

The headsets are rapidly declining in price, sure, but having the optimal experience still requires expensive hardware that many gamers don't have in their systems.

Think you can't play VR games because you don't have a high-end PC?

The developers of SteamVR have announced a new feature called Motion Smoothing that will allow "more PC players to play games and high-fidelity RV experiences".

If this sound familiar to you, you might know the term from the TV world where motion interpolation is incredibly common.

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All the while, players experience the game's full frame rate. Motion Smoothing in SteamVR goes even further though, and can synthesise two or even three frames for every one frame being delivered. The trouble is, TV-based Motion Smoothing can also add a not-insignificant amount of latency. In this case, motion smoothing interpolates between two existing images and creates a new intermediate frame that smoothes the experience and increases the frame rate. The difference between the way TVs render motion and how Steam VR's Motion Smoothing works is that the latter only turns on when Steam notices a drop in frames - rather than processing every frame. "Synthesizing new frames keeps the current application at full framerate, advances motion forward and avoids judder".

According to Valve, SteamVR's version of Motion Smoothing doesn't suffer from the same problems. Building and improving on the company's Asynchronous Reprojection system, Motion Smoothing is available now in opt-in public beta form but restricted in the platforms it supports: Those with HTC Vive or HTC Vive Pro headsets running on an Nvidia GPU on Windows 10 will find they have access to the feature, but other headsets, operating systems, and graphics processors need not apply.

More information on the feature is available from the official announcement post.

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