Archive for the ‘Articles, Reviews’ Category
It seems that TweakTown loves testing monstrous (and thus redundant for regular user) PhysX configurations. Previously it was HD 5970 + GTX 480, and now – GTX 480 for graphics along with GTX 465 working as dedicated PhysX card.
Update: and yet another article from TweakTown – GTX 480 vs GTX 470 + GTX 260 in PhysX games.
Read the full article.
Performance numbers are great, but GTX 465 does not seems to be a good candidate for such role because of heat, noise and high power consumption. I’m personally waiting for low-end Fermi based GPUs, to reinforce my new GTX 470
Pretty decent article emerges on TweakTown recently – it contains benchmarks of monstrous Hybrid PhysX system with Sapphire HD 5970 TOXIC card for graphics and GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 480 for PhysX calculations, coupled with Core i7-980 @4.2 GHz CPU and 6 GB of RAM.
Update: Another article from TweakTown. HD 5970 and HD 5870 with GTX 465, GTX 285 and GTX 260 as PhysX cards.
Hardly many people can afford such system, but at least, it is interesting read.
Recent news coming from NGOHQ website with statement “performance on non-Cuda cards got dropped even further (from 20 fps to 5 fps [Mirror's Edge]) in the recent PhysX software” have forced us to perform more detailed testing procedures, to discover how actually valid such claims are.
Update: From NGOHQ:
After deeper investigation, this issue has identified as a rare overflow bug. Looks like Nvidia PhysX System Software 9.10.0222 doesn’t cripple performance, but I’ll run more tests just to be sure
In following article we are comparing both GPU and CPU performance of PhysX effects, using most recent PhysX System Software 9.10.0222 (blamed for “ruining game experience”), previous 9.10.0129 version and several games – Mirror’s Edge 1.01 and Cryostasis Tech Demo.
System: C2Q 9400 @2.66 GHz CPU, GTX 275 GPU, 4GB RAM, Windows 7 Professional x64
Standart “Flight Fly By” sequence was used (can be activated by “- FlybyFlight” parameter), in-game setting; 1680×1050, all high, 4xAA. Framerate measured by FRAPS 3.0.1.
Decent article called “AMD and NVIDIA butt heads over physics” emerges on Atomic MPC website yesterday.
Richard Huddy, AMD’s Worldwide Developer Relations Manager, Ashu Rege, Nvidia’s Senior Director of Content and Technology, and Nadeem Mohammad, Nvidia’s Director of Product Management and PhysX, are speaking out against physics engines support strategies of their rival companies. During discussion, Bullet physics SDK is opposed to PhysX SDK.
Apart from slight pro-AMD tone and some factial mistakes in engines descriptions, it’s interesting read. Conclusion we are complitely agreed with:
Whether or not Bullet takes off remains to be seen, but the next few years will certainly be an interesting challenge for both companies.
However, as we’ve already took a view at AMD and PhysX relationship history, future of that AMD-promoted GPU Bullet and it’s implementation in games (not Bullet SDK itself) isn’t looking so bright and clear for us.
Apart from Supersonic Rocket Sled demo all of you are probably familar already, for GF100 launch Nvidia has prepared another technical PhysX demo, called Raging Rapids Ride, with boat riding down a montain river – maybe not so impressive in graphics aspect, but with intensive and complex real-time fluid simulation.
It using PhysX SDK based objects with custom hybrid water simulation, utilizing both heightfield fluid solver and particle simulation. Boat behaviour is a little choppy, escpecially when it collides with waterside surface, but water simulation looks very impressive.
Update: You can download Raging Rapids Ride demo here
Grid based shallow water flowing pass a terrain with high slope is automatically turned into particle waterfall, and than – back to heightfield water (thus, two different fluid solvers are used simultaneously).
Well, NDA for new GTX480/470 GPUs from Nvidia is lifting now all over the world, and we are ready to spoil some details about PhysX computing capabilities of new GPUs.
Not bad, huh ? GTX 480 promises 2.5x performance gain over GTX 285 in PhysX calculations. To reinforce this statement, some benchmarking results vere revealed.
First one – for Raging Rapid Ride techno-demo, featuring complex water simulation (you can read our overview here).
Slides (.pptx, 23 mb) from GDC 2010 session “Taking Fluid Simulation Out of the Box: Particle Effects in Dark Void” have emerged at GDC Vault recently.
Driven by Sarah Tariq (Nvidia) and Joe Cruz (Airtight Fames) this session is covering implementation of a seamless, scalable and directable fluid solver in a Dark Void game engine and describing how it was used to create complex particle effects.
Update: slides in .pdf format
Why ? Because, actually, hardware accelerated PhysX was criticized by AMD/ATI throughout it’s lifespan (more or less). Let’s take a retrospective look at escalation of the conflict:
In June 2006, just after Ageia PPU launch, ATI unveils their GPU physics processing conception called “Boundless Gaming” (also known as Asymmetric Physics Processing) based on Havok FX engine (technology was supported by Nvidia as well).
X1900 XT GPU was promised to deliver over 9x performance of a PhysX PPU card and games augmented with Havok FX physics were supposed to come out in 2007.
Result ? Havok FX died with Intel aquisition of Havok company, no games were released, 16 titles with Ageia PPU support from hardware PhysX side.
Recent articles about Metro 2033 have revealed so much technical details (about engine itself, and PhysX components specifically) so, one would think, nothing new can be added. However, recent interview with Chief Technical Officer Oles Shishkovstov by PCGamesHardware.com has something to offer:
PCGH: It could be read that your game offers an advanced physics simulation as well as a support for Nvidia’s PhysX (GPU calculated physics) can you tell us more details here? Does regular by CPU calculated physics affect visuals only or is it used for gameplay terms like enemies getting hit by shattered bits of blown-away walls and the like?
Oles Shishkovstov: Yes, the physics is tightly integrated into game-play. And your example applies as well.
PCGH: Besides PhysX support why did you decide to use Nvidia’s physics middleware instead of other physics libraries like Havok or ODE? What makes Nvidia’s SDK so suitable for your title?
Oles Shishkovstov: We’ve chosen the SDK back when it was Novodex SDK (that’s even before they became AGEIA). It was high performance and feature reach solution. Some of the reasons why we did this – they had a complete and customizable content pipeline back then, and it was important when you are writing a new engine by a relatively small team.
PCGH: What are the visual differences between physics calculated by CPU and GPU (via PhysX, OpenCL or even DX Compute)? Are there any features that players without an Nvidia card will miss? What technical features cannot be realized with the CPU as “physics calculator”?
Oles Shishkovstov: There are no visible differences as they both operate on ordinary IEEE floating point. The GPU only allows more compute heavy stuff to be simulated because they are an order of magnitude faster in data-parallel algorithms.
As for Metro2033 – the game always calculates rigid-body physics on CPU, but cloth physics, soft-body physics, fluid physics and particle physics on whatever the users have (multiple CPU cores or GPU). Users will be able to enable more compute-intensive stuff via in-game option regardless of what hardware they have.
Pay attention to last paragraph – Metro 2033 will feature true multi-core implementation of GPU PhysX content – feature that most PhysX titles are lacking currently ? We are curious to see if this will really work, and since game has already gone gold, we’ll learn that very soon.
Eurogamer.net website has published some very interesting materials, related to upcoming Metro 2033 title. Firstly, they revealed full specifications of proprietary technology behing Metro 2033, known as 4A Engine, which is called even by its developers “one of the most advanced engines on the planet”.
You can read full specs here, and we’ll quote only part related to engine physics system:
Powered by nVidia PhysX technology, can utilise multiple CPU cores, AGEIA PhysX hardware, or nVidia GPU hardware.
* Tightly integrated into the content pipeline and the game itself, including physical materials on all surfaces, physically driven sound, physically driven animations
* Rigid body and multi-jointed constructions. Breakable fences, walls , sheds and other objects. Thousands of different physical entities simulated per frame.
* Cloth simulation, water physics (including cross-interactions)
* Destruction and fracturing, physically based puzzles
* Soft body physics on selected special game entities
* On hardware-accelerated PhysX platforms engine implements full physically correct behaviour of particles such as smoke, debris, etc.
For dessert – Metrospective, interview with 4A Games chief technical officer Oles Shishkovtsov about game engine optimizations and platform specific features.
Metro 2033 is coming out March 16 on PC and Xbox 360, PC version will include 3D Vision, DX 11 and GPU PhysX support.