Bonelab “may end up” using 120 Hz refresh rate on Quest 2 via Application SpaceWarp, one of its developers said.
Quest 2 gives game developers a choice between four refresh rate modes: 72 Hz, 80 Hz, 90 Hz, and 120 Hz. Technically there’s also a 60 Hz mode, but the store & App Lab only allows this for video content, not immersive apps or games.
Stress Level Zero’s Brandon Laatsch revealed on Twitter that Bonelab – the Boneworks follow-up revealed at the Meta Quest Gaming Showcase – is currently using 90 Hz for physics, render and display, but “may end up” doing 120 Hz physics, 60 Hz render and 120 Hz display with ASW – Application SpaceWarp. But what does that mean?
Not yet. Right now we’re targeting 90hz physics, 90hz render. We may end up doing 120hz physics, 60hz render, 120hz display with ASW. We’ll see how it all shakes out.
— Brandon J Laatsch (@BrandonJLa) April 20, 2022
Application SpaceWarp is an advanced extrapolation technology on Quest that lets apps render at half frame rate by generating every other frame synthetically. It uses the depth buffer and motion vectors provided by the game engine to extrapolate a plausible next frame for every real frame. The depth buffer is a low resolution version of each frame representing the distance of each pixel from your eye instead of color, while the motion vectors represent the movement of pixels from one frame to the next.
When revealing ASW back in November Meta claimed that when the overhead is taken into account, it can give apps roughly 70% more power to work with compared to rendering at full framerate.
Like Boneworks before it, Bonelab will have a heavy focus on physics-based interactions, with almost all objects grabbable and even interacting with the player’s body. Game engines like Unity allow physics calculations to run separately from rendering, so if Stress Level Zero does decide to go with ASW the fidelity and responsiveness of the physics engine wouldn’t be affected, and in fact may even improve.
It’s unclear how 60 FPS -> 120 Hz ASW would actually feel and perform compared to 90 Hz in practice – that’s probably what Stress Level Zero is experimenting with ahead of Bonelab’s release later this year.