While the majority of virtual reality (VR) titles available today are very much designed for a single player in an unobstructed space, Nvidia has released details of a prototype system which allows up to four players to coexist and interact from a single host system.
The traditional method of setting up one of HTC's Vive virtual reality (VR) headsets is simple: a single headset and Lighthouse position tracking system connected to a single high-end gaming PC. For multiplayer games, local interaction isn't usually a thing; instead, players are physically isolated in the real world and interact only in virtual space.
Nvidia, however, is looking to change that, releasing details of a prototype system which allows four players to coexist in a single physical space and interact in virtual space, all running from a single server. Announced at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) late last night, Nvidia's project is based around a powerful server with four Quadro P6000 graphics processors - one per player - linked to four HTC Vive Business Edition headsets sharing a single Lighthouse tracking system.
'The possibilities are endless,
' crowed Tom Kaye, one of the Nvidia architects responsible for designing and building the system. 'With the addition of remote management and reliability features, such as multiple templates, clone on boot and remote rebuilds, we could see system builders working to create a robust, ready-to-deploy multi-user VR appliance.
The system works through virtualisation: While there's only a single physical machine, it is split into four distinct virtual machines, one per player. Nvidia has also hinted that the technology may scale beyond local multiplayer, suggesting that the ability to drive multiple headsets from a single system could allow for a mixed-reality spectator view with virtual cameras.
A handful of additional details, including the announcement of partnerships with MonsterVR and Cavrnus on commercialisation of the technology, are available from Nvidia's official blog