Google’s Daydream Team have been working on software that will improve VR Quality, and Youtube is now implementing it on all it’s 360 videos. The idea is something we have talked about in the past, and it should not only improve VR Quality, but also prevent Cybersickness.
Gaming Cube Maps Tech
The software developed by Google takes inspiration on a common practice among game developers. It’s called Cube Mapping and the idea behind it is really simple. Players are not looking at all there is in the screen, there are areas they focus more than other. Therefore there is no point in having High Resolution on all of the image… The most focused sections of the screen get the most resolution, while the edges and corners are reduced.
The player can’t really tell the difference, but the hardware running the game sure can. Cube Mapping makes it much simpler for the hardware to run the game, at no expense for the experience!
Google’s Cube Mapping Tech
Traditional Cube Mapping distributes pixels equally on the Cube Surface. Basically allocating the same distribution on the center of the screen. However with VR is a bit more complicated than that…
Instead of the traditional Cube Distribution, YouTube said that they are doing a “equiangular cube map” which will “distributes equal pixels for equal angular change.” So what does this mean? It means that instead of giving the same pixel distribution for the whole center frame of the screen, Youtube will do it for the very center of the screen.
Imagine a smaller cube within the screen, that would be the focus of the person wearing VR. So no matter how much he moves his head around, the very center will always be higher resolution.
The Executive Vice President of Wevr Anthony Batt believes that “At the high level, I think that the consumer will potentially see more pixels packed where the creator, like myself, will want them.”
Jaunt’s CTO Arthur Van Hoff also seems to be thrilled about this project, he says that “We are always happy to see the wide adoption of industry standards that ultimately improve the user experience.”
Both Jaunt and Wevr said they were already implementing a similar approach for their content, however the improvement from Youtube is welcomed. Google’s goal is to create an industry standard, and to achieve this they have released this standard on GitHub. They hope that experts will comment on it, and improve upon it.
In any case Youtube’s efforts should not only improve VR Quality, but also reduce hardware requirements for VR.
Yet another step forward into making High end VR cheaper, and reach a wider audience.
Image Credit Esther Vargas