Ongoing (and prolonged) release of NVIDIA APEX framework has not only brought us PhysXLab (authoring tool for APEX Destruction and APEX Particles), but also new versions of PhysX plug-ins for Autodesk 3ds Max, 3ds Max Design and Maya (plug-ins were uploaded just several hours ago).
UPDATE: NVIDIA APEX 1.0 Beta released
Since many developers and VFX artists are waiting for this plug-ins, we decided to provide detailed overview of new features and changes in this versions. New PhysX plug-ins v. 2.60 for 3ds Max and Maya are available for download via Developer Support Center.
If you are experiencing trouble with registration of PhysX Developer account, please refer to our registration guide.
PhysX plug-in for 3ds Max v. 2.60.0314.1641
[supports 3ds Max (2009, 2010, 2011) and 3ds Max Design (2010, 2011), 32-bit and 64-bit versions]
Update: PhysX plug-in for 3ds Max updated
2.60 version of PhysX plug-ins seems to be used as basis for new MassFX unified dynamics system, included in upcoming 3ds Max 2012, as it resembles same interface and basic feature list. However, 2.60 PhysX plug-in supports APEX Clothing, while MassFX does not.
Lets take a view on new features, in comparison to previous 2.40 version of PhysX plug-in:
- APEX Clothing
This long-anticipated feature enhances PhysX plug-in with cloth and clothing simulation capabilitites, and also provides authoring pipeline for APEX Clothing module.
APEX may look different from previous NxCloth implementation in 3ds Max – it is using so-called constrained cloth simulation (cloth modifier can be applied only to skinned mesh), does not support several features like tearing or pressure, and is mostly oriented on real-time simulation for games (but can be backed as vertex animation).
We won’t talk about APEX Clothing much, as all its features were revealed long before the public release. Several in-depth tutorials will help you to start with it (you can also find Clothing tutorial packages in plug-ins download folder at Dev. Support Center).
- Substeps Control
Users can now specify number of physics calculations per frame. Increasing this parameter makes simulation more stable, but decreases performance accordingly.
Previosly, only framerate trick was able to prevent bodies from jiggling and interpenetrating each other, and now simulation results are much more convenient. Recommended setting for real-time preview is 3-5 substeps.
- Composite rigid bodies
New composite physical mesh type allows complex concave rigid bodies (not supported in PhysX SDK) to be represented and simulated as set of convex shapes, using automatic convex decomposition algorithm.
Composite objects usage decreases simulation performance, but not dramatically.
- Changing PhysX properties for many objects at once
New “Edit” Tab of PhysX Tools panel allows users to change rigid body, physical materials and physical mesh properties for many selected objects simultaneously.
- Performance viewer and MassFX visualizer
Viewer tool allows users to preview simulation performance, not bottlenecked by 3ds Max internal rendering pipeline (thus, it will be mostly useful if you’re setting up PhysX scene meant to be exported into game engine).
In addition, new “MassFX Visualizer” section was added to “Display” tab of PhysX Tools panel – it contains several debugging options (visualize contact points, collision meshes, etc) for physics simulation in viewports.
- Many minor bug-fixes and features (like ability to specify sleep and CCD options for whole scene).
As interesting note: whoever was responsible for packaging of 3ds Max plug-in has forgot to delete PhysX SDK 3.0 .dlls in plug-in folder
Yes, internal builds are already capable of using SDK 3.0 for simulations.
PhysX plug-in for Maya v. 2.60.0314.1641
(supports Maya 2009, 2010 and 2011, 32-bit and 64-bit versions).
Update: PhysX plug-in for Maya updated
This is first public release of 2.x generation of PhysX plug-ins for Autodesk Maya. Previosly, only old Nima plug-in was available.
Generally, it supports most of the 3ds Max plug-in features (including APEX Clothing) mentioned above.