Video: Everyone kinda already knows that virtual reality is going to be the Next Big Thing. Facebook and Oculus, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, HTC — everyone's working on a headset or another tool for creating a virtual reality environment. Virtual reality and convincing 3D graphics together require significant processing power, though; Nvidia is trying to make it a little easier for developers with a couple of small software tweaks.
Version 1.0 of Nvidia's GameWorks VR and DesignWorks VR software development kits are out now; they include some genuinely smart features, like multi-res shading (which renders frames after they're warped to suit headset lenses) and context priority (which renders scenes with priority given to the polygons in frame) and VR SLI (which uses two graphics cards and outputs video from one to each eye). Developers have to enable support for these in their engines, of course; Epic has already announced VR SLI and multi-res shading support in Unreal Engine 4.
A lot of interesting things are going on behind the scenes even in a bare-bones virtual reality like the Oculus Rift DK1 or DK2 — positional and gyroscopic tracking means a lot of extra computational overhead, and that's before splitting the screen into two and warping it to suit the crazy Fresnel lenses used in VR headsets. So, as VR develops further, it's nice to see Nvidia putting some effort into making sure normal computers should be able to run VR graphics, and not just massive hulking water-cooled $5000 gaming rigs.