Thanks to Gavin Kistner, Nvidia PhysX plug-ins manager and designer, we can now take a print of what features and improvements 2.0 PhysX plug-ins (currently in development) will have over current generation DCC tools
Following overview is related to PhysX Plug-in for 3DS Max, but we think Maya plug-in feature set won’t differ much.
There’s a proper PhysX toolbar providing access to commands and simulation control, and a proper panel for setting global parameters.
The new plug-in has been heavily overhauled to better support Max workflow. Rigid Bodies are created as modifiers (constraints are still separate helpers). You can change attributes of the modifier, or the underlying geometry, and changes are automatically reflected in the simulation. There are sub-object modes in the modifier for visualizing and controlling the Initial Velocity and Spin directions. We have a much better presentation of all attributes.
The physical mesh shapes (Sphere, Box, Capsule, Convex Hull) wrap around the geometry nicely by default. You can regenerate a convex hull with specified inner (deflation) or outer (inflation) offset. You can convert a convex hull to an Editable Mesh, tweak vertices, and get those changes reflected on the shape.
If all works as planned, it should be pretty clear and easy how to use multiple physical meshes for a single object.
The D6 joints have been heavily worked on to be more useful. The visualizations are improved. For a minor convenience, there are toolbar buttons to create a joint with common presets (e.g. Hinge, Ball & Socket, Sliding, etc.). The presentation of the attributes has been greatly simplified and clarified in the new rollouts.
A lot of work has been done on supporting various units setups, and reflecting units in the UI.
You can create a dynamic or kinematic ragdoll from a skeleton. The dynamic ragdoll puts rigid bodies on all bones and joints between each, while the kinematic omits joints. You can control the physical mesh for various bones to be capsules (fitting the bone), convex hull (from the Max bone shape), or convex hulls automatically calculated from the vertices best-associated with the bones of a skinned mesh.
There is a (small) library of predefined “Physical Materials”, which are similar Max’s graphical materials. Physical materials specify the density, friction, and ‘bounciness’ of a common real-world material like wood, metal, rubber, etc. You can apply these to rigid bodies and have changes to the common material reflected in all references.
In some areas (TBD) you will be allowed to scale an object without ill effect.
There will be Max 2008, 2009, 2010 (and 2011 when available) support, including 64-bit.
As a major overhaul, though, we have taken a few (temporary) steps backwards. Some features present in the old plug-in will not be possible with the initial 2.0 release. Notably missing at first will be tearable or metal cloth, fluids, soft bodies, and force fields. We’ll be re-adding demanded features in priority order as we move forward.
Source: Nvidia Developer Forums