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Archive for July, 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010: Nvidia APEX and Scalability

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Nvidia has recently uploaded APEX related presentation called “APEX : Creating scalable immersive game environments” from their  SIGGRAPH 2010 sponsored sessions list.

Usual overview of APEX framework and current modules (like Destruction and Clothing), which are already familiar to us from past GDC10 and SIGGRAPH09 sessions, is followed by topic never described in detail previously – Scalability and LOD features inside APEX (starts at 32:55).

In general, it’s devided into two components – scalable parameters for each of the modules (like number of particles or cloth vertices), that can be adjusted during authoring to fit into platform computing capabilities..

..and dynamic LOD system, that manages resources destribution between actors and modules, based on current situation and resources budget (for example, clothing on character closer to the camera will be simulated with higher fidelity).

Now, as we know almost everything about APEX, we just need to wait until it will be released to public (standalone, or integrated into popular engines like UE3).

Written by Zogrim

July 29th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Posted in PhysX Tools

Tagged with ,

Mafia II: Developers Interview

with 4 comments

With Mafia 2 coming closer to it’s release, hype atmosphere is getting hotter, and apart from other materials you can find on the web, PC Games Hardware has published decent interview with Denby Grace from 2K Czech on several Mafia’s engine features, and PhysX part specifically:

PC Games Hardware: Are there any differences between the Console and the PC Version of Mafia 2 as far as technical as well as visual aspects are concerned, for example GPU accelerated PhysX effects?

Denby Grace: You hit the nail on the head. The biggest difference is the GPU enabled physics effects. While on a system without GPU (consoles and ATI cards), the game will have a great PhysX simulation with particles and cloth, however, if you have the extra hardware we are able to push things to a whole new level which has not yet been seen in open world game before.

Our destructible environments feature thousands of physical particles which in turn can be affected by individual explosion force fields to make them move. It’s all very impressive and it’s these kinds of improvements that high end PC gamers can expect.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Zogrim

July 23rd, 2010 at 10:00 am

WeeklyTube Issue 40: PhysX video overview

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Metro 2033 PhysX #3 by protowiz

Rigid body and destruction physics in Metro 2033. “Advanced PhysX” option is disabled.

5870 with worlds fastest physX card by KingOfSand100

Hybrid PhysX system including HD 5870 and GTX 470. FluidMark 1.2 test with GPU acceleration enabled and disabled.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Zogrim

July 19th, 2010 at 11:55 am

Posted in WeeklyTube

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Mafia 2 Official PC Specs: dedicated PhysX GPU recommended

with 23 comments

2K Czech has revealed requirements and recommendations for Mafia 2 PC version:

MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
Processor: Pentium D 3Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ (Dual core) or higher
RAM: 1.5 GB
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8600 / ATI HD2600 Pro or better
Hard Disc Space: 8 GB
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Peripherals: Keyboard and mouse or Windows compatible gamepad

RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core processor
RAM: 2 GB
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 3870 or better
Hard Disc: 10 GB
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compliant card
Peripherals: Keyboard and mouse or Windows compatible gamepad

PHYSX/APEX ENHANCEMENTS SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
Minimum Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core processor
Recommended Processor: 2.66 GHz Core i7-920
RAM: 2 GB

Video Cards and resolution: APEX medium settings
Minimum: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 (or better) for Graphics and a dedicated NVIDIA 9800GTX (or better) for PhysX
Recommended: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 (or better)

Video Cards and resolution: APEX High settings
Minimum: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 (or better) and a dedicated NVIDIA 9800GTX (or better) for PhysX
Recommended: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 for Graphics and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 285 (or better) for PhysX

NVIDIA GPU driver: 197.13 or later.
NVIDIA PhysX driver: 10.04.02_9.10.0522. Included and automatically installed with the game.

Written by Zogrim

July 9th, 2010 at 10:19 am

Posted in PhysX Games

Tagged with

PhysX SDK 3.0: automatic multi-threading

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nvidia-physx

As everyone else, we have very little information about next major release of PhysX SDK 3.0, which was rumored as complete rewrite of current SDK, full of new features and extended capabilities, currently kept under straight NDA.

UPDATE: PhysX SDK 3.0 has been released

However, few pieces of information are beginning to leak:

Today, as answer to all the hype about PhysX and SSE instructions, Nvidia’s senior PR manager Bryan Del Rizzo has stated in interview to THINQ.co.uk website, that new SDK 3.0 will feature “a task-based approach that was developed in conjunction with [Nvidia] Apex product to add in more automatic support for multi-threading“.

In generally, SDK 3.0 will automatically take advantage of however many cores are available, or the number of cores set by the developer, and will also provide the option of a “thread pool” from which “the physics simulation can draw resources that run across all cores“. – adds THINKQ.co.uk

We will keep an eye on all SDK 3.0 traces and post new info as we’ll find it.

Written by Zogrim

July 8th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Posted in PhysX SDK

Tagged with ,

PhysX Research: Real-Time simulation of Large Bodies of Water

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Another paper called “Real-Time Simulation of Large Bodies of Water with Small Scale Details” (you can find previous one, Wrinkle Meshes, here) has arrived from Dr. Matthias Müller-Fischer, PhysX SDK research lead at Nvidia Switzerland.

Paper is decribing hybrid grid- and – particle based fluid solver used in latest, and technically most impressive, demo from Nvidia – Raging Rapids Ride.

Abstract:

We present a hybrid water simulation method that combines grid based and particles based approaches. Our specialized shallow water solver can handle arbitrary underlying terrain slopes, arbitrary water depth and supports wet-dry regions tracking. To treat open water scenes we introduce a method for handling non-reflecting boundary conditions. Regions of liquid that cannot be represented by the height field including breaking waves, water falls and splashing due to rigid and soft bodies interaction are automatically turned into spray, splash and foam particles.

The particles are treated as simple non-interacting point masses and they exchange mass and momentum with the height field fluid. We also present a method for procedurally adding small scale waves that are advected with the water flow. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in various test scene including a large flowing river along a valley with beaches, big rocks, steep cliffs and waterfalls.

We still hope that this solver will make it into next, 3.x release of PhysX SDK.

In addition, demonstrational video is available (61 mb)

Written by Zogrim

July 8th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Articles, Reviews, PhysX SDK

Tagged with ,

PhysX: x87 and SSE

with 11 comments

David Kanter from RealWorldTech.com in his “PhysX87: Software Deficiency” article has hypothesized that origin of slow execution of PhysX content on CPU is fact that PhysX SDK is mostly based on x87 rather than faster SSE instruction set.

“On modern CPUs, SSE can easily run 1.3-2X faster than similar x87 code” – stated Kanter.

However, TGDaily has managed to recieve commentaries from Bryan Del Rizzo, Nvidia spokesperson

[And although] our SDK does [include] some SSE code, we found [that] non-SSE code can result in higher performance than SSE in many situations. [Nevertheless], we will continue to use SSE and plan to enable it by default in future releases. That being said, not all developers want SSE enabled by default, because they still want support for older CPUs for their SW versions.

Update: official responce from Nvidia – We’re not hobbling CPU PhysX

Update #2: some more Nvidia statements at this ars technica article

Update #3: and more at Hothardware.com article “NVIDIA Sheds Light On Lack Of PhysX CPU Optimizations

But lets get back to original article. According to David, sole reason for PhysX SDK to rely on outdated x87 instruction is to make “Nvidia GPUs looks a lot better than the CPU“. This idea was inherited other websites, like TechReport.com

The PhysX logo is intended as a selling point for games taking full advantage of Nvidia hardware, but it now may take on a stronger meaning: intentionally slow on everything else.

and Semi Accurate

In the end, there is one thing that is unquestionably clear, if you remove the de-optimizations that Nvidia inflicts only on the PC CPU version of PhysX, the GPU version would unquestionably be slower than a modern CPU.

Unfortunately, previous authors are missing few vital points: PhysX SDK is used in many games running on CPU, and physics level in those titles can be easily compared to physics content in games based on other “non crippled” physics engines, like Havok; nor there are any games, that can offer content, similar to GPU PhysX effects, but running on CPU with stable framerate.

And, most important, GPU can accelerate only few parts of PhysX code – rigid bodies, joints, raycasts, forcefields, broadphase, etc – rely purely on CPU, so what is the reason not to optimize those at the full potential, to make PhysX SDK more attractive for developers (and thus increase number of  games with GPU PhysX support) ?! Something is telling us that reason “just to make GPUs look better over CPU” is not so obvious.

And what do you think ? Tell us in comments.

Written by Zogrim

July 8th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Articles, Reviews, PhysX SDK

Tagged with ,

PhysX Game Titles list: new features

with 5 comments

As you already may noticed, PhysXInfo.com frontpage has changed a little, as we have renovated our PhysX Game Titles table.

Apart from other features, it now includes new Filtering Panel, which allows to display only certain entries based on selected conditions and thus make browsing through huge amount of PhysX based titles easier.

For example, to view recently added titles only, you can just click Table Updates -> New. After that – Show All, to bring full list back on screen.

We hope you will find these additions usefull.

If you’ll spot any bugs please post your reports via comments to this post.

Written by Zogrim

July 3rd, 2010 at 3:30 am

Posted in Website

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PhysX powered Carmageddon XNA remake

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Indie developers community can always bring nice surprises.

Update: OpenCarmageddon early beta released

In this particular case,  Jeff Harris is making remake of classic Carmageddon 1 using XNA and PhysX SDK – alone, and has reached pretty remarkable results, as you may see from following video:

Core features like deformation and repair systems, opponent’s AI, paticle effects, nice tuned car physics are already implemented.

You can watch over Carmageddon XNA remake development process on Jeff’s blog – 1am  Studios.

Written by Zogrim

July 1st, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Posted in PhysX Games

Tagged with , ,

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