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What to expect from GPU PhysX in Batman: Arkham City ?

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Batman: Arkham City tests the patience of PC gamers with several release delays, but will try to wheedle them with DX 11 Graphics and PhysX Technology.

Update: GPU PhysX in Batman: Arkham City - review and comparison video.

Recent comparison trailer gave us a glimpse of extra physics effects, and now we want to provide you with some additional details on what to expect from GPU PhysX content. In addition, new comparison PhysX video was released as well.

As usually, it will be possible to adjust level of in-game physics via “Hardware Accelerated PhysX” option in game’s launcher. There will be three settings:

PhysX Off: all GPU accelerated effects are disabled, only standart CPU physics (like ragdolls) is used.

PhysX Normal: enables additional particles effects (debris, volumetric smoke and steam, etc) and destructible environments.

PhysX High: includes all effects enabled withing “Normal” settings as well as realtime cloth and clothing simulation.

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Written by Zogrim

November 18th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Metro Last Light: developer talks about CPU and GPU PhysX support

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Metro: Last Light, sequel to Metro 2033 title, is aiming technology throne with DX 11, tesselation and support for GPU accelerated PhysX effects. had the chance to talk with Oles Shishkovtsov, Chief Technology Officer at 4A Games, about improvements that are planned for PC version of the game.

Update: Metro Last Light – GPU PhysX effects explored

PC Games Hardware: You keep the support for GPU PhysX in Metro Last Light. If so can we expect some improvements or enhancements compared to Metro 2033 (e.g. soft bodies, debris, and destructible environments)? What graphics card do you recommend for maxed details in Full HD with Antialiasing? An upcoming Nvidia Kepler-based Geforce for example? ;-)

Oles Shishkovtsov: Yes, you can expect a lot of improvements, especially in destruction and debris. The upcoming Geforce cards will be fully supported.

PC Games Hardware: When benchmarking Metro 2033 we found out that the engine utilized more than four cores of multicore CPUs if we were using the advanced PhysX effects on CPU, so you are utilizing Nvidias PhysX SDK 3.x? Will all the advanced PhysX effects only be available in PC version?

Oles Shishkovtsov: That’s the common misconception that PhysX 2.X cannot be multithreaded. Actually it is internally designed to be multithreaded! The only thing – it takes some programmer time to enable that multi-threading (actually task generation), mostly to integrate with engine task-model and ensure proper load-balancing. So, 2033 used PhysX 2.8.3, and Last Light uses similar, a slightly modified version at the time of writing. And yes, advanced PhysX effects will be available only on PC.

Read the full interview

Sounds good.

However, we are hoping that this time Metro will be able to surprise us with more than two minor particle effects (as in Metro 2033 – while “debris, smoke and dust” were promised) and it won’t require “upcoming GeForce card” to run those GPU PhysX effects with playble framerate.

Written by Zogrim

October 31st, 2011 at 3:28 pm

PhysX Comparison Trailer for Batman: Arkham City

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First trailer, showcasing supplementary GPU PhysX content for upcoming Batman: Arkham City title in comparison to normal “console” physics layer, was revealed today.

Update: PhysX in Batman: Arkham City article at

Some effects, like SPH smoke, cloth banners and “dynamic” paper, are familiar for us from previous Batman game, others, like intense particle effects, are promising new experience and immersion.

Slightly delayed PC version of Batman: Arkham City is set to be released at November 18, 2011.

Written by Zogrim

October 18th, 2011 at 11:33 pm

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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).

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Written by Zogrim

September 27th, 2011 at 12:43 am

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First screenshots showcasing GPU PhysX in Batman: Arkham City

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At Gamescom 2011,  Rocksteady Studios have released a new set of screenshots, featuring new “Mr. Freeze” foe, for higly-anticipated Batman: Arkham City. Previous game, Batman: Arkham Asylum, was one of the best titles with GPU PhysX support, and sequel is promised to support PhysX feature too, as well as DX11 and tesselation.

However, attentive user may notice that some of those screenshots are already containing GPU PhysX effects. Let’s take a closer look:

Description for this screenshot at states “Broken shards of ice will really pop out with PhysX enabled”. Looks similar to APEX Destruction effects we saw in other GPU PhysX games.

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Written by Zogrim

August 18th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

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Metro: Last Light is going to support GPU PhysX ?

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Metro: Last Light is a sequel to Metro 2033 – highly acclaimed survival-horror shooter, released in March 2010. In addition to decent atmospheric story and great visuals, Metro 2033 was also supporting GPU PhysX.

Update: Metro Last Light – GPU PhysX effects explored

Recent video interview with Huw Beynon, Communications Lead at THQ, reveals some details about PhysX effects (with emphasis on X) in new Metro: Last Light (starting 6:16).

Huge amount of particle effects“, cloth physics and destructible environments were mentioned. According to our other sources, namely GPU PhysX support (since CPU PhysX will be used in any case) in this title is highly plausible.

Lets hope that this time hardware PhysX content will be not that subtle, as in in previous game. Metro: Last Light is planned to be released in 2012.

Written by Zogrim

August 18th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Posted in PhysX Games

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PhysX SDK 3.0 based game was demoed at ChinaJoy 2011

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Several chinese websites have reported, that first PhysX SDK 3 based game – online shooter called “Extreme Fire” – was demonstrated by NVIDIA at China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy 2011).

You can find video, showcasing some destructible environments and particles effects, here. It was also mentioned, that this game will also support GPU PhysX acceleration.

Previously, GPU PhysX support was announced for another Chinese shooter – Mars.

Written by Zogrim

August 9th, 2011 at 7:58 am

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SOE announces PlanetSide 2 with PhysX support

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Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has announced today PlanetSide 2, a sequel to previously-popular MMO first person shooter game, PlanetSide.

Update: PlanetSide 2 Closed Beta: PhysX Effects Preview

PlanetSide 2 takes all the groundbreaking features from the original game – massive multiplayer battles, distinctive empires to rally around, and enormous continents to support intense ground and air combat – and adds features that modern gamers have come to expect out of the FPS and MMO genres.

PlanetSide 2 will be based on new next-generation MMO engine, called Forgelight, that will rely on PhysX SDK integration for all in-game physics calculations.

SOE has also partnered with NVIDIA to provide the game’s physics engine, utilizing its PhysX technology to allow art and design environments in PlanetSide 2 to become truly interactive. NVIDIA PhysX technology is considered the world’s most comprehensive physics solution for designing real-time, real-world effects into interactive entertainment titles.

According to our knowledge, there is a high possibility that PlanetSide 2 will feature GPU accelerated PhysX effects.

In addition to PlanetSide, Forgelight technology will also be used in another upcoming MMO project – EverQuest 3.

You can watch PlanetSide 2 trailer here

Written by Zogrim

July 8th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

PhysX Fluids in Alice: Madness Returns

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NVIDIA has published a technical article, related to Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) fluid simulation method, used in as part of GPU PhysX effects in recently released Alice: Madness Return title.

As we said before, overall level of PhysX particle effects is impressive, but fluid dynamics itself can only be called – decent. We already saw more detailed SPH-fluids in Cryostasis (up to 30 000 particles), gameplay affecting fluids in Crazy Machines 2 and even SPH based smoke in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Mafia II.

What we are really expecting from upcoming PhysX games, are next-gen fluid solvers like those showcased in this PhysX research video or in Raging Rapids Ride demo, for example.

However, if you are interested in SPH-fluid simulation technique and particles rendering, we recommend you to familiarize with following materials (in addition to the article this post is related to – which is an interesting read anyway):

Written by Zogrim

June 25th, 2011 at 1:27 am

Alice: Madness Returns PhysX benchmarks roundup

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Alice: Madness Returns – first game with GPU PhysX support this year and title with most impressive PhysX particle effects.

To determine hardware PhysX performance patterns and GPU requirements we tried to gather all PhysX focused articles and benchmarks, available so far.

[18.06.2011] Alice: Madness Returns GPU test by

One of the first articles with proper GPU PhysX benchmarks.

According to their test, only top level NVIDIA GPUs can ensure decent framerate, while used for both graphics and PhysX calculations (however, from our experience, only most intensive PhysX scenes are affecting performance so negative).

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Written by Zogrim

June 24th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

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