If you know PhysX only as GPU accelerated physics effects for PC games, lack of news and announcements of new GPU PhysX titles may give you an idea that NVIDIA has decided to drop support for PhysX completely. Forum threads like “Is PhysX Dead?” or “Physx dead?“, popping up from time to time, are indicating – users are worried.
We were able to contact NVIDIA and Mike Skolones, product manager for PhysX, has revealed us the company’s plans regarding PhysX Technology.
PhysXInfo.com: Is PhysX still playing important role for NVIDIA ? Are you planning to use and evolve the PhysX Technology over the years, or thinking about abandoning it in a favor for other solutions ?
Mike Skolones: PhysX has been and continues to play an important role for NVIDIA, as well as for the thousands of game developers who use PhysX for physics simulation across a broad range of platforms, including PC, Xbox360, PLAYSTATION 3, Nintendo Wii , iOS (including iPhone, iPod, and iPad), OSX, Linux, and Android (including NVIDIA Tegra™ devices), MMO servers running Linux and Windows; OSX ports; and Windows games, where GPU-accelerated advanced simulation is poised for continued growth.
More importantly, because PhysX continues to be the choice of developers for integration into world’s leading commercial game engines, including Unreal Engine 3, Trinigy, Unity, Torque, Gamebryo, Lightspeed, Hero, and Dark Basic, not to mention other internal tech engines which also use PhysX, designers and artists know they have compelling development platforms they can immediately take advantage for making their games that much more realistic and interactive.
PhysXInfo.com: One may said that GPU accelerated PhysX is dead, since there is no new titles with PhysX support on the horizon. Is the situation going to change in near future, and if yes – what are you planning to oppose the inceptive competition (like OpenCL Bullet) ?
Mike Skolones: Actually, there are quite a few titles on the horizon with GPU PhysX support and more developers everyday are enthusiastically exploring this technology with an eye toward making their Windows-based games richer and more exciting. The gaming experience that savvy designers can deliver with GPU-accelerated PhysX remains unparalleled. NVIDIA is making a serious investment in PhysX to solve the simulation problems that are critical to game developers on all of the platforms that are important to their customers. As the mobile computing revolution continues to transform the gaming landscape, this effort provides more and more value each day.
The PhysX approach is fundamentally different from the open-source alternative, because in practice what really counts is the ability to support the whole spectrum of platforms. Game developers have many conflicting requirements and clearly we want to support them no matter what library they choose to use for design. Of course, the big difference between PhysX and other open source efforts is that NVIDIA is investing in tools and support for PhysX to directly support designers. We help them adopt and integrate our core technologies and we provide regular updates to address their key issues. Today that type of support is not available with open source alternatives.
PhysXInfo.com: After GDC 2011, you have announced first public release of artist-friendly NVIDIA APEX physics simulation framework. Are you planning to update PhysX SDK core (which is still based on old NovodeX engine) to enhance performance/features based on a modern platforms capabilities, and further improve recently added APEX сomponents ?
Mike Skolones: You bet. The PhysX SDK v. 3.0 is now in beta, and is in the hands of a great number of developers. Although PhysX will always have its roots in Novodex, version 3.0 is a solid re-write of the whole core of PhysX. The PhysX-3 code base is now substantially cleaner, which is absolutely critical to achieve optimal performance across all modern gaming platforms.