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Mafia II: PhysX effects hands-on

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Gamespot took an exclusive glimpse on several new features, available for PC version of upcoming Mafia II title – GPU PhysX effects via APEX and 3D Vision.

Specifically, the PC version of Mafia II will take advantage of two different aspects of APEX technology. The first, the “clothing module,” will realistically model flowing clothes on what are designated as “primary characters.” In the case of Mafia II, this means Vito (the protagonist) and any other characters that happen to be up close to him will benefit from this module. The APEX clothing module realistically makes trench coats flap in the wind and sway while characters walk or run.

The second APEX module, the “destruction module,” models realistic damage and deformation on exploding objects, as well as the concussive force of a powerful explosion with an “invisible force field” that realistically sends any sufficiently light objects (or characters) flying. We watched a demonstration of this in action with an exploding car, which smashed nearby crates to bits and sent their splinters–and a nearby mobster–hurtling through the air.

It also offers Mafia II an enhanced particle system that creates discrete and unique, procedurally generated debris when you or other characters destroy any of the game’s deformable objects. The demonstration we watched was from the Wild Ones level we’ve covered previously–specifically, the part where Vito and his gangster buddies use tommy guns and Molotov cocktails to tear a rickety wooden diner to shreds. The scraps of wood and shards of glass realistically went flying with each explosion, and we’re told that no two play-throughs should produce the exact same scraps and shards.

While certain statement brings only more confusion, it’s unclear – is Mafia II really using APEX Destruction (in addition to Clothing and Particles modules) or it is just result of misinterpretation, this article is pretty interesting read in overall.

Moreover, material contains some new screenshots, showcasing particle effects in action.

Update: another preview from has brought us even more details:

- According to the article, PhysX content will have three levels – normal (physics like on consoles) and two enhanced with additional effects.

- Explosions will have forcefield based “shock wave”, repelling particles and objects in certain radius.

- On consoles only few main characters are able to “wear” physically simulated clothing, while with enabled GPU PhysX option clothing sim can be applied to much more characters – up to 30 (Police, NPCs, etc).

- If no Nvidia GPU is present, extra PhysX effects can be processed on CPU.

Update #2: few additions from Destructoid preview

As you’re shooting up the building, pieces of wood and glass will splinter onto the ground in a realistic manner. PhysX also powers Mafia II’s clothing and explosion systems, giving both a real-world look.

The PhysX tech will scale appropriately to your PC depending on what your rig can handle.

Update #3: another article by TG Daily

Mafia II is the first Windows PC game ever to utilize our Apex clothing module. Now, the use of PhysX and Apex technology – which includes the particle module – allows the city and personalities of Empire Bay to truly come alive.

For example, Apex causes clothing to behave realistically and its secondary motion(s) add a lot to a character’s actions. Indeed, even the subtle movements of a trench-coat can tip a player off about hidden firearms or other potentially dangerous objects and intentions.

Now in Mafia II, a pistol fired into a glass pane will emit hundreds of glass shards, while a shotgun blasted through a wooden landing will splinter the wood and a Tommy Gun will chip into a brick or stone wall to methodically fracture and break it into piece.

Written by Zogrim

May 21st, 2010 at 8:18 am

Posted in PhysX Games

Tagged with ,

12 Responses to 'Mafia II: PhysX effects hands-on'

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  1. Hi Zogrim,

    Will Mafia II use multi CPU PhysX or people who don’t own NV GPU won’t see these effects?



    21 May 10 at 9:37 am

  2. i think, the debris – GPU and destroy + clothing sumlation – multi CPU



    21 May 10 at 4:15 pm

  3. As I read, it depends on developer if he implements it using multi CPU or not. In Metro 2033 developers implemeted it, no NVIDIA. This company implemented only GPU part. So my questeion is if developers did this work or didn’t.



    21 May 10 at 4:25 pm

  4. i think yes, they cant use only one-cpu. …



    21 May 10 at 6:24 pm

  5. mareknr
    Will Mafia II use multi CPU PhysX or people who don’t own NV GPU won’t see these effects?
    I believe Mafia II will use multi-core PhysX (for cloth sim, rigid bodies, ragdolls, car physics , etc), but not for those particles effects.
    However, I don’t know for sure, so I’ll try to get some details on this

    Upd. according to GameStar article extra effects can be processed on CPU – hope effectively enough ;)



    21 May 10 at 6:42 pm

  6. woah, really ? i hope yes x)



    21 May 10 at 9:07 pm

  7. ok, to peoples with bad processor and geforce – GPU PhysX and peoples with bad geforce or ati – CPU PhysX ?



    22 May 10 at 9:16 am

  8. MicrO
    Not really. GPU can’t calculate general purpose physics, so fast CPU will be needed for both (ATI or NV) cases.

    With NV GPU you’ll just recieve more performance with extra physics effects (more cloth, particles) enabled.



    22 May 10 at 11:54 am

  9. aha x) ..and, Mafia 2 use special effects ? like in Metro2033 ? only for GPU geforce ?



    22 May 10 at 1:30 pm

  10. MicrO
    and, Mafia 2 use special effects ?
    Yeah, kinda ;)
    It’s actually well described in article above, this press release and this video

    like in Metro2033 ?
    Much more intensive, judging from what we saw already



    22 May 10 at 1:52 pm

  11. nice ! :D



    22 May 10 at 7:13 pm




    24 May 10 at 1:27 am

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