Dark Void is interesting title – at least from GPU PhysX perspective. It’s using brand new APEX Turbulence module for dynamic real time fluid smoke and particles simulations, which is looking much more realistic and natural then usual SPH-based smoke we’ve seen, for example, in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Hovewer, more immersive gameplay came at great cost – Dark Void is most demanding GPU PhysX game currently. Consider dedicated GTX260 GPU as minimum requirement for High PhysX settings.
In general, there are four PhysX modes in the game:
PhysX – Off: standart physics stuff, calculated on CPU – ragdolls, some dynamic rigid bodies, some particles. Default level for console versions.
PhysX – Low: adds some dynamic particles – chunks and debris from bullet impacts, physically simulated sparks for Hypercoil and Magnetar weapons, additional shards for destroyed enemies. We’ve seen such effects before, in almost every single GPU PhysX game, but this time there is really huge amount of particles, and they are not dissapearing for like half a minute or so.
Remark: The Low setting is the only setting that can be used to compare CPU PhysX effects versus GPU PhysX.
PhysX – Medium: additionally enables turbulence particle simulation for Disintegrator Gun. Each vaporazed enemy emits 30 000 particles, and there can be several simultaneous effects on-screen at once. As ragdoll moves and rotates it imparts linear and angular forces into the fluid simulation, thus each disintegration is unique.
This mode is NOT available for CPU calculations, you just won’t be able to enable it without appropriate Nvidia GPU.
PhysX – High: includes all additional physics effects, and adds dynamic fluid smoke for Jetpack in Hover mode. Smoke simulation uses up to 100 000 particles, which are emitted every time whenever there is a change in applied power (i.e. the jetpack is turned on or off). This mode is NOT available for calculations on CPU.
Let’s talk a little about performance. First benchmarks are showing that APEX Turbulence simulations are very computational intensive. On our system (GTX 275 + GTX 260 PhysX) and High PhysX settings fps was jumping from 70 to 30 depending on scene complexity, sometimes – even lower.
Well, our work is done, now it’s up to you to decide, are those effects worth hardware they require. Later on be sure to visit Dark Void PhysX info mini-site, as we’ll add comparison PhysX screenshots soon.
Update: PhysX patch and benchmarks available. CPU utilization graphs included.