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This repository holds the open-source code for the OSVR RenderManager developed by Sensics. It is licensed under the Apache-2 license.

RenderManager is an API for rendering and presenting graphics for virtual reality. There is a detailed description below, but in short, it is a codebase that contains:

  • Rendering code that performs time-warp, distortion correction, (per-eye) client-side prediction, for multiple graphics APIs
  • Distortion mesh creation from a variety of distortion descriptions
  • An output backend for rendering in extended or direct mode on a range of platforms and drivers

It has a set of submodules that point to sets of non-open source code to build vendor-specific extensions to support direct rendering. These were developed under non-disclosure agreements with the vendors.

Most Windows users will want to install the precompiled binaries (which include the DirectMode interfaces for nVidia, AMD, and Intel graphics cards) using the installers provided at the developer downloads site.

Those who don't have access to the NDA repositories get using:

git clone
cd OSVR-RenderManager
git submodule update --init --recursive vendor/vrpn

Sensics internal users, who have access to the NDA repos, get using:

git clone --recursive

This code is built using CMake, and as of 2/23/2016 compiled on Windows, Linux (tested on Ubuntu) and Mac-OSX. It makes use of SDL2 to construct windows and GLEW to set OpenGL settings, so install those packages before compiling. It also requires Eigen3, which is built as part of OSVR (so you can manually point CMake at its build) or can be installed separately (sudo apt-get install libeigen3-dev on Ubuntu, for example). The Linux and Mac ports only support OpenGL and do not yet support direct-to-display (DirectMode) rendering. The Android compile is done using the OSVR-Android-Build project.

What RenderManager Provides

RenderManager provides a number of functions beyond the OSVR-Core library in support of VR rendering. It wraps the Core functions in an easy-to-use interface that implements many VR-specific needs.

DirectMode: On platforms that support it, RenderManager implements direct rendering to the display, bypassing operating-system delays and enabling front- buffer rendering. On Windows, this is implemented using nVidia's VR Direct Mode rendering, AMD's Direct-to-Display rendering, and on Intel cards via a new Windows rendering interface that supports DirectMode. These share a common interface in RenderManager and plans are underway to extend these to new operating systems as they become available. DirectMode supports both D3D11 and OpenGL (core and legacy) on Windows except that OpenGL is not yet supported on Intel cards because they do not yet support the OpenGL/D3D interop calls.

The following capabilities are provided on all supported platforms:

  • Distortion correction: This enables undistortion of HMD lenses. Configuration files can be used to specify the type of distortion correction used, from several choices: rgb polynomial away from a center, monochromatic unstructured mesh, and rgb unstructured mesh. RenderManager includes distortion-mesh-construction for all of its rendering libraries based on all of the above input types. See RenderManager.h for more information.

  • Time Warp: Synchronous time warp is provided on all platforms. This is done at the same time as the distortion-correction render pass by reading the latest tracking information and adjusting the viewing transformation using the texture matrix to fix up changes due to motion between the start of rendering and its completion. This warping is geometrically correct for strict rotations around the center of projection and is approximated by a 2-meter distance for translations.

  • Just In Time Warp is provided on all platforms. This uses shear and anisotropic scaling to reduce the impact of head rotation on objects in the scene. Because each scan line in the image appears at a different time, head motion causes apparent shearing and stretching of the scene in standard full- frame time warp. Just In Time Warp adjusts the image so that each scan line is at the correct location during head rotation about X and Y.

  • Asynchronous Time Warp is supported under DirectMode configurations. This mode is enabled by a configuration-file setting and does not require code change. It produces a separate rendering thread that re-warps and re-renders images at full rate even when the application renders too slowly to present a new image each frame. Applications that want to avoid an extra copy of their render buffer to the ATW thread can do internal double-buffered rendering and present alternate sets of buffers. An example D3D11 program doing this ATW double-buffered rendering is available in the examples directory. NOTE: As of 8/18/2016, pre-emptive GPU scheduling is only available on nVidia Pascal-series cards (eg. GeForce 1080), and only with GeForce driver version 372.54 or later. In other cases, ATW cannot pre-empt a long-running render thread so is useful only for cases where the application renders infrequently by with low GPU load (such as the example programs).

  • Client-side prediction: When used with trackers that report velocity or angular velocity, RenderManager predicts the time each eye will be rendered based on the next upcoming vertical retrace. The transform associated with each eye is adjusted to suit the time at which it will be rendered. This prediction happens for both time-warped and non-time-warped presentation and can use a different delay for each eye (supporting systems in portrait mode). This capability is enabled using a setting in the configuration file.

  • Rendering state: RenderManager produces graphics-language-specific conversion functions to describe the number and size of required textures, the viewports, projection and ModelView matrices needed to configure rendering for scenes. Configuration files specify the number of eyes, whether they are in a single screen or multiple screens, and their relative orientations. RenderManager takes all viewports and textures in their canonical (up is up) orientation and internally maps to the correct orientation, enabling the use of bitmap fonts and other rendering effects that require canonical orientation. An optional, callback-based rendering path provides these transformations for arbitrary spaces within the OSVR configuration space (head space, hand space, room space, etc.).

  • Window creation: RenderManager uses SDL on Windows, Linux, and Mac systems to construct windows of the appropriate size for a given HMD or on-screen display. Configuration file entries describe window size, placement, and orientation. For non-DirectMode operation, these show up within the operating system's virtual screen and can be either full-screen or windowed. For DirectMode operation, they provide full- screen operation on one or more displays.

  • OverFill & Oversampling: To avoid borders during time warp, the rendered view must be larger than the image to be presented on a given frame. This provides a border around the image that can be pulled in as the user's viewport rotates. Also, the distortion caused by lenses in VR systems can cause a magnification of the screen that requires the application to render pixels at a higher density than the physical display. RenderManager handles both of these capabilities internally, hiding them from the application. Configuration file entries can adjust these; trading rendering speed for performance at run time without changes to the code.

Coming Soon

Android support is under development. As of 2/23/2016, the OpenGL internal code is all compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0 and there is an OpenGLES example application that build and links (not yet tested). Work is underway to port RenderManager to Android on top of the existing OSVR-Core port.

DirectMode/Linux is planned as graphics-card vendors finish drivers to enable it on this platform. It is being designed to use the same RenderManager interface and configuration files as the current Windows implementations.

Two RenderManager Interfaces

RenderManager provides two different interfaces, a Get/Present interface and a Callback interface. Example applications are provided that use each. The Callback interface provides the ability to easily render objects in multiple spaces (head space, hand space, etc.). The Get/Present interface lets the application have complete control over render-buffer construction.

Example programs

There are a number of example programs that highlight the different RenderManager interfaces and features.


See the RenderManager Configuration document for more information on how to configure RenderManager.

Optimizing timing

See the Rendering Optimization document for more information on how to optimize rendering performance using RenderManager. (Warning: Some of this information is out of date as of 11/16/2016.)


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