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AMD LiquidVR Reduces Latency, Queasiness

SAN FRANCISCO - The gaming industry is scrambling to get a consumer-ready VR headset to market. But AMD isn't looking to create another head-mounted display. Instead, the company is attempting to improve on what's already available with its new LiquidVR SDK 1.0. Available now, the alpha version of LiquidVR is a set of technologies designed to address what the company is dubbing the three Cs of VR: Comfort, Compatibility and Compelling Content.

As the Game Developers Conference (GDC) gets underway, I took LiquidVR for a spin using Oculus Rift's latest build, Crescent Bay. Once the demo started, which I had seen before without AMD's tech, I found myself in the middle of a slow-motion firefight between a battalion of heavily armored soldiers and a giant robot. Bullets cut a visible path through the air hitting cement and brick, creating debris of various sizes. An errant rocket hit a car, creating a massive explosion, sending the car whirring above my head. 

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The demo ended once I was face to face with the robot as it left out an ear-splitting roar. Although I was definitely impressed, I wish AMD would have shown the same demo on a regular Oculus Rift so I could get a true gauge of the latency difference. 

Throughout the demo, I quickly whipped my head around trying to generate blur or lag. The VR experience continued running smoothly despite my spastic movements. AMD attributes its barely-there latency to its latest data latch tech, which ensures the headset is using the most recent head-tracking data at all times. LiquidVR also utilizes multiple GPUs to improve overall frame rates. It's all apart of the company's two rule of VRs: do not break the presence and if you're CPU and GPU can't keep up, you throw up.

Another important aspect of LiquidVR is seamless plug and play. The company claims that using a LiquidVR head-mounted display in tandem with an AMD GPU-equipped device will enable users to boot directly to the display as well as access extended display features that are currently unannounced. 

In addition to Oculus, Crytek and publisher/developer nDreams have announced upcoming partnerships with AMD. As the era of VR speeds ever closer, the successful head-mounted display will possess the ability to deliver high-resolution content without making the user queasy. LiquidVR technology might help give hardware makers the push they need to enter the mainstream.