What is Back-face Culling?

Making VR hardware more efficient and powerful is the main objective for all manufacturers. That is much easier said than done, though. One technique used to achieve this goal is called back-face culling. This method allows removing polygons from the rendering process when they are not visible. As a result, a higher degree of efficiency can be attained.

Back-face Culling is a Godsend for Virtual Reality

Most consumers will be well aware of how buying VR hardware can get expensive pretty quickly. More specifically, the headset itself can cost close to US$1,000. One also needs a powerful computer to produce proper VR content, which adds another US$1,250 to the tally. To a lot of people, that price is way too high. It would also explain why VR headset sales are far below expectations, except for Sony and Samsung.

Making VR hardware more efficient and affordable is the next logical step in the evolution. To do so, content creators will need to squeeze more performance out of cheaper components. Using Back-face culling will certainly help in this regard. Computer programmers use this method to determine if a polygon is visible or not. If not, the polygon is not rendered directly. This improves the overall efficiency of the available hardware. A lower number of polygons to draw will benefit low-end VR headsets.

Considering how manufacturers are focusing on mobile VR right now, techniques such as back-face culling become even more important. The upcoming Daydream VR headset will pack all of the necessary hardware in the HMD it. This means the components will not be on par with a desktop computer by any means. However, by using back-face culling, it becomes possible to generate a very similar VR experience.

In the end, all consumers want is cheaper VR hardware and engaging content. On the software side of things, back-face culling can make a big difference. It allows for more performance out of both low-end and high-end hardware, which benefits everyone. Not rendering polygons which aren’t visible is a powerful tool that should not be underestimated by any means.

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