VR Audio Spatializers
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VR frame timing

Frame timing in VR mode works exactly like it does in VSync-enabled non-VR mode (see documentation on the Execution order of event functions). The only difference is that Unity does not depend on the underlying 3D SDK’s VSync, but instead whichever VR SDK it currently renders with. There is no benefit to rendering faster than the display can refresh. Instead, Unity focuses on utilizing the time most efficiently.

In multithreaded rendering, Unity synchronizes the simulation thread and the rendering thread on the CPU. This reduces latency. The simulation thread primarily executes the scripts, sounds, AI, and other tasks needed for the simulation to run. The render thread focuses on submitting draw calls to the graphics driver, which in turn validates them and sends them to the GPU. To achieve the greatest parallelism between threads, Unity executes graphics commands as they come in, and simulates the next frame at the same time.

Unity waits for the GPU to completely render and display the last frame, then submits rendering commands for the next frame.

Lowest possible latency

Before Unity can submit the first rendering command that depends on the view transformation matrix, it must first get the view matrix from the VR SDK. To keep latency as low as possible, the VR SDK predicts the head transform twice per frame:

  • One prediction to render the current frame. This prediction corresponds with where your head actually is, in real space, when the frame arrives on the screen.

  • One prediction to simulate the following frame.

Unity applies the rendering prediction for the current frame to cameras, controllers, and anything that needs information for Scene rendering. Unity uses the simulation prediction for the following frame if it is unable to render the following frame.

For more information on how the hardware handles rendering, see the manufacturer documentation for your head-mounted display.

What happens when Unity drops a frame?

If Unity doesn’t submit the fully rendered frame in time for it to be ready for the next display refresh, a few things might happen, depending on which VR SDK is active. The VR SDK might:

  • Display the previously submitted frame. This looks like judder, and greatly reduces the quality of the experience.

  • Rotationally reproject the previously submitted frame based on the current head pose. This is a crude approximation that works well as a fallback for static content, but any content with animation or positional movement does not look correct.

  • Apply some form of positional reprojection. This might be temporal to fill in missing details.

For more information on reprojection (sometimes called time warping), see the XinReality wiki entry on Timewarp.

This all happens automatically. At this point, it’s usually too late for Unity to successfully finish the next frame that it should already be rendering. Instead, the VR SDK takes the last frame it received and reprojects it to the latest predicted pose, and Unity waits until the next opportunity to render a full frame to get back on track. If your app continually drops frames, Unity only renders every other frame.

For more information on how the hardware handles rendering, see the manufacturer documentation for your head-mounted display.

GPU-bound vs. CPU-bound in VR

Each display has a specific refresh rate that Unity is bound to. You can get this at run time with VRDevice.refreshRate. A value of 1 divided by the refreshRate gives you the time allocated to a single frame.

For example, this might be 11.1 milliseconds in the case of a refresh rate of 90 hz.

  • If your app is GPU-bound, the Unity Profiler displays XR.WaitForGPU in excess of one frame’s time in milliseconds.

  • If your app is CPU-bound, a frame takes longer than the designated frame time, but the Unity Profiler displays XR.WaitForGPU shorter than the one frame.

VR Audio Spatializers
オープンソースリポジトリ