Futuremark Begin VRMark Benchmark Development Program

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅11.06.2015 17:50:55

Since the release of Oculus VR's minimum hardware demands for their Rift headset it's finally sinking in that VR demands high performance in a way that no other consumer-grade application for graphics hardware has. The problem is that although we have well understood benchmarking tools applicable to the current stable of graphics hardware, APIs and gaming software, very little in our arsenal is relevant to VR.

Benchmarking specialists Futuremark are tackling the subject head-on, and have announced today that they're in the process of developing a dedicated VR benchmark, the aim of which is to use a combination of software and hardware to measure performance, latency and accuracy. VRMark™ will operate alongside industry-standard tools such as 3DMark & PCMark in providing developers, analysts, reviewers and ultimately consumers with detailed and relevant information on the capabilities of their system configuration in this new paradigm.

Futuremark are also now inviting VR systems manufacturers and software developers into its Benchmark Development Program specifically for VRMark. BDP provides early access to development builds of Futuremark's benchmarking tools, a forum for feedback and discussion, and deep insight into the application down to its very source code. The development process is also government-vetted to ensure neutrality, something that every good benchmarking tool demands.

"There are already more than a dozen different head-mounted displays for VR at various stages of completion. Analysts forecast that VR will reach 10.8 million users* by the end of 2016. But delivering a great VR experience relies on overcoming significant performance challenges. With VRMark, we're aiming to help everyone, from industry engineers and press reviewers to the end user at home, discover the best performing VR technology."
- Jukka Mäkinen, Managing Director at Futuremark.

Frame rate and frame latency will be two areas VRMark will focus on. High and consistent frame rates (the Oculus Rift for example requires a steady 90FPS) are absolutely necessary for 'presence', the feeling that you're a part of the simulated world rather than viewing it through a detached screen. Low latency also plays a part, whilst also being essential to eliminating motion sickness.

Interestingly VRMark also aims to measure the responsiveness and accuracy of motion sensors. Not only important for latency calculations, accurate translation of head movement into simulated head movement will be important for presence and critical to the future of gaming on the VR platform.

Futuremark and its parent company, UL, will additionally offer professional lab-based VR testing and verification with precision instruments to industry customers.

"UL believes that the blossoming VR industry will greatly benefit from a dedicated VR benchmark developed by a neutral 3rd party. VRMark is the first component of a comprehensive VR offering from UL that will also include the development of new standards and certification programs to protect the health, safety and well-being of VR users."
- Sajeev Jesudas, President, Consumer Business Unit at UL.

Futuremark's 3DMark and PCMark Development Programs credit leading hardware manufacturers and software developers such as Intel, NVIDIA, AMD, Microsoft and Samsung as members; hopefully VRMark's backing can be equally as comprehensive. Further information can be found on Futuremark's website: http://www.futuremark.com/bdp/.

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