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 GameStar.de 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.