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More details about PhysX support in Batman: Arkham City

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In a recent interview to, Ben Wyatt, technical director at Rocksteady Studios, has revealed some technical details about PhysX implementation and GPU PhysX support in upcoming Batman: Arkham City title.

Let’s overview disclosed facts briefly:

  • Batman Arkham City won’t use PhysX 3, but PhysX SDK 2.8.4 instead.
  • GPU PhysX content will be able to run on CPU, but with significant performance drop (typical GPU exclusive content type, we presume).
  • APEX Destruction (destructible objects and walls) and APEX Clothing (clothing simulation on characters, dynamic paper and leaves) modules will be utilized.

Since APEX Particles module was not mentioned, it seems that GPU accelerated particles (smoke, debris) will be based on default PhysXParticleSystem implementation (like in Alice: Madness Returns).

Update: english version of the interview from

PCGH: Will the PC version of Batman: Arkham City like Batman: Arkham Asylum utilize Nvidia’s PhysX API including support for Physics calculated on the GPU?

Ben Wyatt: Yes. Like Batman: Arkham Asylum, the PC version of Batman: Arkham City will feature realistic smoke, debris, leaves, and paper using GPU PhysX. There will also be features not seen in Batman: Arkham Asylum including clothing on characters.

PCGH: Which of the different APEX modules do you use (Apex Clothing/Particles (Destruction/Turbulence for fluids)? Can you give a short description where in the game APEX will be applied?

Ben Wyatt: APEX destructibles are used in the PC version for breakable elements in the game including breakable walls and objects that get thrown during fights. APEX clothing is used in the PC version for several of the characters you’ll encounter in the game and for simulating effects like paper and leaves. APEX clothing was also used for many of the cutscenes which can be seen on all platforms.

PCGH: What are the visual differences between physics calculated by CPU and GPU (via PhysX/APEX)?

Ben Wyatt: The extra PhysX effects in the PC version of the game add another dimension of realism to the game. When fighting as Batman or Catwoman, you will see walls break into splinters, paper and debris get kicked up, smoke respond realistically, and clothes on the thugs you fight.

PCGH: Are there any features that players without an Nvidia card will miss? What technical features cannot be realized with the CPU as “physics calculator”?

Ben Wyatt: All PhysX and APEX features can be run on the CPU or an NVIDIA GPU, but you can expect the game to run much slower without NVIDIA GPU acceleration when the additional PhysX effects are enabled. An NVIDIA GPU is recommended for all the additional PhysX features.

PCGH: Do you plan to use the latest PhysX SDK 3? Which advantages do you see compared to previous versions?

Ben Wyatt: Batman: Arkham City uses PhysX 2.8.4.

PC version of Batman: Arkham City is supposed to be released in first weeks of November, 2011.

Written by Zogrim

September 27th, 2011 at 12:43 am

Posted in PhysX Games

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses to 'More details about PhysX support in Batman: Arkham City'

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  1. Note: some people are already confused by this article, saying that Batman: AC won’t have “exclusive hardware accelerated” PhysX content (like no GPU PhysX support at all).

    This is true – in most GPU PhysX games (except for Dark Void, for example) extra physics effects can run both on CPU and GPU, but if you remember poor CPU performance, you can call those effects exclusive to NVIDIA GPUs.

    I believe, Batman: AC won’t be an exception.



    27 Sep 11 at 1:15 am

  2. “can be run on the CPU; but you can expect the game to run much slower without NVIDIA GPU acceleration”

    What’s the point?



    3 Oct 11 at 4:26 pm

  3. Anon
    Point ? All GPU PhysX games are working like that.



    3 Oct 11 at 6:02 pm

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