Consoles and low to mid-range systems usually have to choose between frame rate and image quality. Frame rate makes a more responsive experience, but image quality gives a visually pleasing experience.
Can asynchronous reprojection give you the best of both worlds? Let’s explore.
What Is Asynchronous Reprojection?
Asynchronous reprojection improves responsiveness by rendering the movement refresh rate separately from the graphics frame rate. It is the key technology that helps virtual reality users from feeling nauseous by reducing the delay in head movements to the display, even if the rendered images are slightly delayed.
How Does Asynchronous Reprojection Work?
Asynchronous reprojection works by asynchronously rendering the image from your movement. When you move your mouse, the movement gets rendered at a higher rate than the rendering of the image.
You can check out this asynchronous reprojection demo on Google Drive by Comrade Stinger. The link is safe and simply click on AsnycTimewarp.exe to open the demo. Set the frame rate to 30FPS, then turn on the asynchronous time warp by pressing “4” on your keyboard. This will render your movements at 120FPS and moving around will feel very responsive, yet the images are being rendered at 30fps. You can even press “2” on your keyboard, and it will freeze the rendering for you. You are still able to move and explore how it is rendered to give you a more responsive experience.
You may notice black borders that are not rendered, but that can easily be remedied by extending the range of the rendered image. You can do that by checking Extend timewarp borders on the upper-right box.
How Can Asynchronous Reprojection Improve Your Gaming Experience?
Frame rate is something we’ve always viewed as something that is tied to the smoothness of a game’s movement. When it comes to PC games, low frame rates are greatly associated with input lag. Especially when you’re using a mouse to move around as input lag is less noticeable on controllers.
You may want to check out this explanation on video game graphics settings to know which settings considerably lower your frame rate and increase input lag.
Asynchronous reprojection can help traditional, non-VR gaming the same way it helps VR gaming. Reduced input lag and a responsive gaming experience are always good things as input lag can ruin interactive experiences.
If this is implemented in games today, you’d be able to run demanding titles at higher graphics settings without sacrificing the responsiveness of the game. Maybe Cyberpunk 2077 wouldn’t have been plagued by complaints if it had this as a feature.
If you want to try out VR and asynchronous reprojection in action, check out the best PC gaming VR headsets to help you get started.
Should Asynchronous Reprojection Become a Staple in Future Games?
Asynchronous reprojection may not come to non-VR gaming because of other features that increase responsiveness like NVIDIA’s DLSS or AMD’s FSR.
These technologies use AI to upscale a low-resolution image to a higher one. This increases the frame rate as your graphics processor renders the image at a lower resolution, thus decreasing the workload on the graphics processor. These technologies have gotten so advanced that it’s very difficult to tell between the upscaled image and native resolution.
However, asynchronous reprojection can be made available to everyone. DLSS and FSR are only available on respective graphics cards that feature them, making these features less accessible to everyone, even if those people have games that support them.
Asynchronous reprojection can make more games available to more gamers, which is why it should be a staple in modern games. It has already done it for VR, there’s little doubt it can’t do the same for normal games.
The Responsive Future?
Asynchronous reprojection has already proven to be a great feature for less capable systems in VR. It would be awesome to see it on modern games, especially demanding ones. This feature may not be suitable for competitive games, but it would be great for people who just want a better gaming experience on a budget.
If asynchronous reprojection becomes more popular outside the VR world, there may be hope that some smaller game developers may use this to create more graphically demanding games without trying to compensate too much for the lower-end market. Eventually, this might make its way into bigger games as well, giving more people a chance to enjoy more games.