The SteamVR Beta channel currently includes performance improvements for Valve Index, as well as fixing support for the Oculus Rift’s Asynchronous Spacewarp 2.0.
The most recent build, 1.7.6, released on Saturday. Among the changes, it says “Motion Smoothing no longer throttles applications that are primarily cpu bound (e.g. No Man’s Sky).” Motion Smoothing is Valve’s motion extrapolation technology, similar to Facebook’s Asynchronous Spacewarp. When an app isn’t maintaining framerate, SteamVR can force the app to drop to half framerate while synthetically generating every other frame.
Motion Smoothing is available on the Valve Index and HTC Vive. Valve didn’t provide details in the changelog about what specifically they changed, but this should result in better performance when your CPU is the bottleneck of your performance rather than the GPU. Valve’s wording suggests this applies to No Man’s Sky.
For AMD hardware specifically, the update fixes “a gpu scheduling issue with motion smoothing” which was “causing motion smoothing to disable itself after a while due to poor performance”.
In an earlier build, 1.7.2, which is also not yet on the main channel, it says “Fixed passing depth through to the Oculus runtime from apps which provide it.“. Passing depth through to the Oculus runtime is how apps can support Asynchronous Spacewarp 2.0. ASW 2.0 builds on ASW by incorporating depth, allowing for extrapolation of head motion rather than just scene motion and head rotation. It doesn’t appear that No Man’s Sky currently sends its depth buffer to SteamVR in the first place.
Additionally, the build brings a new refreshed look to the SteamVR UI, more in line with Valve’s recent styling.
As with all beta software, you should opt in at your own risk, as it may introduce bugs and glitches when playing VR. Based on Valve’s past release timing we expect these changes will roll out to the stable build with a few weeks.