Sep 23, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
In case you missed it, Facebook Connect was full of exciting announcements and valuable workshops for developers in Extended Reality (XR). Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) has been collaborating with Facebook to put next-generation XR hardware and tools into the hands of developers. As a result of this collaboration, we wanted to draw your attention to some great information presented at the event to help you with optimizing the graphics processing unit (GPU) in your XR development.
Working together, we have helped Facebook develop some GPU profiling tools designed to help developers optimize GPU performance in their VR applications for the Oculus platform. And second, Facebook Connect saw the introduction of Oculus Quest 2, the first commercially available VR device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform.
Let's take a closer look at what all of this means for developers and where to find out more.
GPU profiling tools
GPU profiling is an important aspect of developing high-performance graphics for games and XR applications. By gaining insight into what the GPU is doing and how long the various render pipeline stages are performing, developers can better optimize for speed, maximize framerate, and even improve power efficiency.
Traditionally, developers building apps for devices powered by Snapdragon have relied on our Snapdragon Profiler to get this information. Now, thanks to our collaboration with Facebook, developers can take advantage of the Performance Interface Library (PIL), which provides new ways through which developers can get rich GPU performance information. PIL is a low-level, on-device library embedded within the Oculus operating system that exposes real-time, render stage metrics. And built on top of this, are two tools that developers can use to access this information:
- GPU Systrace: a modified version of Android's Systrace tool that supports per-tile level GPU tracing. Having this capability is important because tile-based renderers on mobile devices, batch up draw calls for a surface, prior to splitting the surface into tiles. Each tile then executes all draw calls that effect the tile. GPU Systrace provides granular insight into the time spent for each surface and presents it graphically along a timeline.
- Ovrgpuprofiler Tool: a low-level tool that runs on the Oculus device to expose GPU metrics and perform render stage tracing. Developers then access this information by invoking commands in Android Debug Bridge (adb). Like GPU Systrace, the Ovrgpuprofiler Tool provides granular insight into the time spent rendering each surface.
Learning resources on the new tools
If you're interested in learning more about these tools, we recommend accessing the recordings of the following talks presented at the recent Facebook Connect conference:
Developer Super Session: This session with multiple speakers, looked at all the new and recent developer solutions launched, such as new development tools, improvements to integrations, and how to use the GPU Systrace tool.
State of the Art GPU Profiling on Quest: In this session, Remi Palandri from Facebook provided a deep-dive session that covered the Qualcomm Adreno GPU and the PIL.
For more information about the tools, checkout this Oculus blog that provides an overview PIL, GPU Systrace, and Ovrgpuprofiler.
First commercial device powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Platform
XR continues to offer more opportunities for developers in both the games and enterprise spaces. Some reports project the XR space to be worth in excess of $346 billion by 2026. QTI continues to innovate to bring you new tools to optimize your development, and new XR technologies to help you in developing better-than-ever gameplay and virtual reality (VR) experiences.
Also announced at Facebook Connect was Oculus Quest 2, the first commercial VR device powered by the Snapdragon XR2 Platform. Oculus Quest 2 features a number of performance improvements and provides a variety of engaging games experiences for all to enjoy, including fitness apps, immersive entertainment, and social places to connect with friends.
This means developers can create ever-more realistic graphics content, and combined with the usage of our new GPU profiling tools, developers can further push the envelope of high-performance, XR graphics.
If any XR developers are interested in learning more about the Snapdragon XR2 platform, please check out the hardware reference design.