The wonderboy that brought us the hell-fest that was Doom in the 1990s is continuing to work his magic in the field of virtual reality. In one fell software-swoop, John Carmack has just boosted the resolution of the Gear VR by almost double. This software update will potentially make games, movies, and adult virtual reality porn apps even sharper on the Gear VR.
Doubled Resolution Magic
John Carmack is a genius and always has been. No one else besides him could have taken a product like the Gear VR and improved it so dramatically this long after release. How much has Carmack improved the Gear VR? Reports indicate that he has doubled the resolution that the Gear VR displays. This pixel increase is not just a little boost. Instead, Carmack’s update is a dramatic improvement that will make the Gear VR a whole new VR porn consuming beast.
Although the resolution doubling update is currently now only for the Oculus Home app, Carmack implies that his magical coding tricks will soon help other Oculus apps. Mentioning bigger changes down the road, Carmack says, “this is the first application developed for a brand new Oculus runtime system.”
How is this possible?
Oculus head of mobile products, Max Cohen, says that some sophisticated buffering magic is at play “the eye buffers rendered 1024×1024 and because of the way it was rendered on the screen you were looking at somewhere in the order of 400 pixels vertically.” Don’t wet your pants yet, the update will initially only work with the Oculus Home app.
Cohen says after Oculus home is updated, “you’re looking on the order of about 600 pixels. So it’s kind of one-and-a-half times one-and-a-half times improvement which equals around two overall.” In a lengthy Facebook post, Carmack attributes this resolution boost to a technique called “Cylindrical TimeWarp Layers.”
Carmack describes his new method in the following:
Many people have independently found that putting UI on a floating cylinder surrounding the user in VR feels good, since you have everything facing directly towards you so there is no reading in perspective. It turns out that there is a very happy coincidence here: when directly sampled by Time Warp (as opposed to just drawing to an eye buffer) the cylinder curvature almost perfectly counteracts the lens compression! This means that you can have an almost constant pixel density in a ring all the way around the view without any compromises.
More or less, John Carmack has found a way to get around the issues that curved lenses create while keeping pixel density high. This is great for image quality. Pictures will look sharper while text will be dramatically easier to read. This may not sound that interesting. That said, this means that virtual reality UI elements can be made more information dense and thereby more useful. As of now, virtual reality user interfaces are relatively simple and therefore require external manipulation either on a phone or a computer. Switching between phone and VR user interfaces makes launching and manipulating many apps overly cumbersome. Carmack’s method could make virtual reality user interfaces more independent and specialized solving this issue as well.
Rolling out soon!
You may be disappointed if you’re hoping to see this update right away. Carmack says the rollout is staged. So it may be a couple weeks before you get this update. Once this update is rolled into the rest of the Oculus Runtime System, sharper virtual reality porn apps and user interfaces will be possible. This will make the Gear VR even better for consuming adult virtual reality content.