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Streaming VR and AR content from Google Cloud with NVIDIA CloudXR

August 11, 2021
Rob Martin

Chief Architect - Google Cloud for Games

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The Opportunity for Streamed AR/VR Content 

What if you could get a high quality AR/VR experience without a dedicated physical computer—or even without a physical tether?  

In the past, interacting with VR required a dedicated, high-end workstation and, depending on the headset, wall-mounted sensors and a dedicated physical space. Complex tasks in VR can push the limits of sensor reach, cable-length, and spatial boundaries, entangling the artist and restricting their movement. This solution was not scalable beyond a handful of advanced use cases.

Recently, tetherless VR headsets from manufacturers such as HTC and Oculus have emerged that free the user from these odious restrictions, enabling a new freedom to experience VR and AR from just about anywhere. The enhanced portability and reduced cost has led to substantially increased adoption among consumers and opened up many new exploratory use cases in enterprise.

However, while these headsets are more accessible and portable, a tradeoff in compute power was required in order to achieve these goals. The limited on-device compute power of this new generation of Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) is acceptable for many consumer applications such as casual gaming. However, advanced enterprise workloads with heavy graphics, compute, or memory requirements can be difficult or even impossible to run on these lightweight devices.

By combining NVIDIA CloudXR with their powerful GPUs running NVIDIA RTX Virtual Workstations (vWS) in Google Cloud data centers, you can experience high-fidelity VR and AR applications from just about anywhere with a good internet connection. The heavy computations are performed in the cloud on a GPU-attached VM and the content streams to any CloudXR compatible headset. 

The combination of Google Cloud's private fiber optic network — the same network we built for global delivery of YouTube content — and CloudXR's QoS technologies provides the user with the highest possible quality of service. In fact, the streaming experience is comparable to that of a headset tethered to a powerful physical workstation, but without the friction of hardware and cables. 

This combination of power and portability sets the stage to unlock the potential of high-quality gaming and enterprise AR/VR experiences anywhere on Earth.

Case Study: Creating a Masterpiece

Digital character creation is a core skill for many 3D artists today. One of the preferred methods of 3D character creation is digital sculpting, which lets artists create both hard-surface and organic shapes with high levels of accuracy and control.

Sculpting is one of the many tasks in the character designer's skillset. Artists must also master the texturing, rigging, and posing of characters as part of the digital character creation pipeline. 

Mastering all these tasks can be challenging, and often, the technology gets in the way; working in multiple applications requires switching contexts and workflows, breaking the artist's creative flow. The traditional user experience can also be unintuitive, forcing the creator to translate what they want to do with their hands and head into mouse movement and keyboard presses.

Masterpiece Studio Pro revolutionizes this character creation workflow by giving artists the first fully immersive 3D creation pipeline. Artists work in VR, giving them a far more intuitive and seamless way to work which combines the best of the digital and physical worlds.

In Masterpiece Studio Pro, the artist can work on the character or object at any scale, using familiar tools and hand gestures to sculpt a model, much as they would a real clay figure. Performing other tasks such as skeleton creation is simple, allowing the artist to work directly with the limbs of a character to place and adjust the joints.

Bringing It All Together

NVIDIA CloudXR streaming from the cloud provides tremendous opportunities for new creative use cases within gaming and across the enterprise. This solution joins Virtual Studio for Gaming as the latest in our series to help developers build better games.

The Masterpiece Studio use case is a powerful demonstration of new modalities for content creation and collaboration. To try CloudXR with NVIDIA RTX vWS on Google Cloud for yourself, see this tutorial. Masterpiece Studio Pro also offers extensive learning materials and a free trial.

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