Nvidia's GTC announcements typically don't have much relation to video games or gaming GPUs directly. And while the rumours around the RTX 3000 series cards are juicy, the company's keynote this week was all about data centres and high performance computing. Still, the keynote couldn't go by without showing something from video games, and there was one neat surprise.
The addition was Marbles RTX, a physics-based game meant to showcase of Nvidia's Omniverse, a computer graphics and simulation platform. Omniverse was announced last year, but the Marbles RTX demo was an example of something built remotely through the platform.
It's basically what you'd get if you were a graphics engineer wanting to remake Marble Madness in someone's workshop. As a game, it could naturally use a little work - the way the camera shakes to represent the direction of where the marble is being titled might be a touch nauseating.
Omniverse isn't really pitched as a game development platform but more one for design collaboration, although obviously the potential is there. As for announcements more directly related to gaming, Nvidia went back over previous announcements that they'd made regarding RTX, DLSS 2.0 and Minecraft RTX.
When Nvidia launched their RTX GPUs, the cards shipped with a wealth of potential to leverage AI in different scenarios. One of those was deep learning super sampling (DLSS), an AI-powered anti-aliasing technique that was designed to improve frame rates at higher resolutions by using neural network upscaling. The technique worked in practice, but the hit to image quality varied from game to game.
What was interesting there was a graph showcasing the performance of Minecraft RTX on an RTX 2080 Ti. It basically highlighted the limitations of current graphics cards: without the latest implementation of DLSS, RTX in Minecraft was barely playable, running at 35fps at 1440p. That nearly doubled with DLSS enabled, which makes you wonder how far we have to come for ray-tracing to be enabled in games all the time, and what the performance hit on consoles might be like.
The rest of Nvidia's GTC keynotes don't really relate to the gaming world at all, although more on that front is coming soon. A new op-ed from Bloomberg Technology notes that Nvidia's gaming division has seen a 50 percent surge in total gaming hours across its GPU base, and that the company's manufacturing capacity should return to about 70 percent to 80 percent of normal levels by the end of May.
Most critically, Nvidia recently told investors that their upcoming products are still expected to boost Nvidia's revenue for the current financial quarter, which is probably the biggest news of all: It means Nvidia is confident they'll be able to ship product on time, and that they'll also have enough product to meet demand.