Archive for 2011
It is time to summarize what PhysX Technology has achieved in year 2011, recall the most memorable events and releases.
GPU physics acceleration still can not gain enough momentum – only two games with support for GPU PhysX effects were released this year, this is the lowest result since Ageia was aquired.
One may call this an agony, but NVIDIA has told us that it was “conscious decision” – time was taken to develop and improve underlaying technology (PhysX SDK, APEX, DCC tools), thus sacrificing ability to create content and integrate it into many games.
It was promised that we will see “more GPU PhysX games next year than you did this year” and even “a lot more in 2013″.
Meanwhile, both GPU PhysX titles released this year were pretty interesting by themselves:
- Batman: Arkham City, one of the best games with hardware PhysX support.
- Alice: Madness Returns, which is a decent game too and is certanly worth more than two Darkest of Days.
NVIDIA has revealed PhysX SDK 3.2 Beta-1, thus providing early public access to next general release of PhysX 3, enhanced with many features and improvements – as a Christmas present, we suppose.
Update [25.01.2012]: PhysX SDK 3.2 Beta-2 is available
Update #2 [20.03.2012]: SDK 3.2 Beta-3 is released
Update #3 [10.05.2012]: Final release is available
Binary SDKs are available for Windows PC, Linux, Mac OSX and Android platforms.
PhysX SDK 3.2 Beta-1/Beta-2/Beta-3 can be downloaded at Developer Support Center.
If you are experiencing trouble with registration of PhysX Developer account, please refer to our registration guide.
PhysX SDK 3.2 Beta-1/Beta-2/Beta-3 Release Notes:
- Three new sample applications: SampleCharacterCloth (character with cloth cape and cloth flags), SampleBridges (character controller walking on dynamic bridges and moving platforms), SampleGravity (character controller with arbitrary up vector).
- On Windows, the PxFoundation instance is now a process wide singleton and part of the new PhysX3Common.dll library.
- PxCreatePhysics() does not create a PxFoundation instance any longer. The PxFoundation instance has to be created in advance through PxCreateFoundation().
- Calls to PxCreatePhysics() are not valid anymore if a PxPhysics instance already exists.
- If profiling information should be sent to the PhysX Visual Debugger, a PxProfileZoneManager instance has to be provided when creating the PxPhysics instance.
- The version number constant PX_PUBLIC_FOUNDATION_VERSION has been replaced with PX_PHYSICS_VERSION. Both PxFoundation and PxPhysics use the same version number now.
- The API now distinguishes between input and output stream types.
- Added mechanism to reduce code size by not linking optional components. See PxCreateBasePhysics() and the PxRegister*() functions.
- Added getConcreteTypeName() to API classes to provide run time type information.
- Added PxScene::getTimestamp() to retrieve the simulation counter.
- PxGetFoundation has been moved to PxGetFoundation.h
- Changed the functions PxPhysics::releaseUserReferences(), releaseCollection(), addCollection() and releaseCollected() to now take a reference rather than a pointer.
- The signature of PxCreatePhysics has changed: The Foundation SDK instance must be passed in explicitly. One can also hook profiling information by passing a PxProfileZoneManager.
- [Beta-3] Contact data block allocation now provides statistics on usage and max usage.
- [Beta-3] On all platforms except PS3, contact data blocks can be progressively allocated.
- [Beta-3] Changed the functions PxPhysics::releaseUserReferences(), releaseCollection(), addCollection() and releaseCollected() to now take a reference rather than a pointer.
- [Beta-3] Default implementations of memory and file streams added in PxDefaultStreams.h
- [Beta-3] Renamed PxPhysics::getMetaData() to ::PxGetSDKMetaData().
- [Beta-2] Platform conversion for serialized data has been moved from the ConvX command line tool to the PxBinaryConverter interface in the cooking library.
- [Beta-2] Documentation has been updated.
- [Beta-3] Added migration guide page from 3.1 to 3.2 to user’s guide.
- [Beta-2] Samples have been updated.
- [Beta-2] Various bug fixes.
We have added a set of comparison PhysX screenshots for Batman: Arkham City, which in pair with previously released comparison video are completing our GPU PhysX Profile for this title.
You can view comparison screenshots, video and additional info at Batman: Arkham City – GPU PhysX Profile page.
First set of tutorials is explaining creation and usage of Fracture Maps – simple black-and-white images, that can be used to specify fracturing pattern for cut-out fracturing mode.
APEX Destruction: Fracture Maps (Part 1) – Photoshop
APEX Destruction: Fracture Maps (Part 2) with PhysXLab
Updated PhysX 3.1.1, which adresses many issues found in SDK 3.1.0, is now available for download.
Update [11.01.2012]: PhysX SDK 3.1.2 available
- Fixed wrong write/read clash checks.
- Removed some compiler warnings from public header files.
- Fixed PxScene::getActors() returning wrong actors when a start index is specified.
- Fixed broken joint projection in connection with kinematics.
- Fixed inaccurate normals returned from height field scene queries.
- Fixed a crash when the geometry of a shape changes and then the actor gets removed from the scene while the simulation is running.
- Fixed a crash when re-adding scene-query shape actors to scene.
- Fixed crash bug in particle simulation code on GPU.
- Fixed a crash when GPU fabrics are shared between cloths.
- Fixed a hang in cloth fiber cooker when handed non-manifold geometry.
- Fixed SampleVehicle doing an invalid write.
- Fixed SampleVehicle jitter in profile build.
PhysX SDK 3.1.1 Release Notes:
- Ported samples to Linux.
- Fixed crash bug in ConvX.
- Fixed crash bug in the allocator code of PXC_NP_MEM_BLOCK_EXTENSIBLE.
- Fixed crash bug when connected to PVD on various platforms.
- Fixed bogus asserts due to overly strict validation of quaternions.
- Fixed one frame lag in PVD scene statistics.
- Fixed a number of OSX PVD sockets issues.
- Fixed SampleSubmarine code that violated concurrent read/writes restriction.
- Added warnings about read/write hazards to the checked build.
- Fixed RepX not reading joint properties.
- Fixed support for concurrent scene queries.
- Fixed PhysX GPU Visual Indicator support.
- Made it more clear in documentation that simulate(0) is not allowed.
Time to update PhysX performance metrics of NVIDIA GPUs with newest title with Hardware PhysX support – Batman: Arkham City.
In following article we’ve tried to gather all the benchmarks and tests, published on the web.
[25.11.2011] Batman Arkham City im Technik-Test: Grafikkarten-, DirectX-11- und Physx-Benchmarks by PCGamesHardware.de
German article with graphics benchmarks, overview of DX 11 and PhysX features, and a superficial PhysX tests.
Batman: Arkham City, sequel to award winning Arkham Asylum title and second GPU PhysX game this year, has finally hit the shelves worldwide.
As usually, we are proud to present you our PhysX review and comparison video, showcasing extra physical effects that can be found in PC version of the game.
Can't view the video ? Watch alternative variant on Vimeo
Some technical details, like difference between PhysX settings, were already revealed in our preview article, so let’s give a score to different aspects of GPU PhysX implementation and compare them to previous Batman: Arkham Asulum title:
All effects are done accurately, with diligence – you will not see jerky or buggy behaviour (within physics engine limitations, of course), art is fine, almost everything is configured correctly. However, some particle effects could be done better – for example, it is not appealing to see when glass shards are jumping all over the place like they were made out of rubber.
PhysX effects are scattered all over the game and accumulated in a places you will visit during main storyline (for example, you won’t see dynamic paper sheets on a random street).
Overall amount of extra physics content is similar to Arkham Asylum, but the components differ: you won’t see many “environmental” cloth objects, like all those banners and flags that can be teared appart with batarang, but in return APEX Clothing module is used extensively to simulate dynamic clothing on characters, including hoodies and coats on thugs, pants on russian twin-clowns, costume of Bruce Wayne, etc.
SPH smoke, steam and fog are rare in this game, but other particles (physical debris, shards, splinters, sparks) can be encountered much more frequently. All boss battles are enhanced with unique particle effects, for example.
As a good tradition, there is psychedelic level with lots of GPU Rigid Bodies. Looks gorgeous, actually, without PhysX effects this scene feels not nearly as vivid and spectacular.
Continuing the good tradition of it’s predecessor, Batman: Arkham City provides built-in benchmark with GPU PhysX (and also DX11) effects, however this time sequence is significantly shorter and less diverse.
Update: GPU PhysX in Batman: Arkham City - review and comparison video
For those who is interested how it looks like, we have prepared following video which is showcasing the difference between minimum and maximum PhysX settings.
Meanwhile, full-scale comparison PhysX video is in the works and should be available next week.
Update [14.02.2012]: Latest build of PhysXLab 1.1 is available. It is recommended to re-download it.
Update [16.05.2012]: Beta 3 version of APEX 1.1 is released.
- APEX 1.1 support (PhysX SDK 184.108.40.206).
- Possibility to have multiple physical meshes per chunk – convex decomposition (controlled by “Collision Quality” settings).
- New options for “Playground” simulation – Radius Damage Tool, ability to throw or drop destructible asset, shoot it with box or sphere.
- Separate pieces now detected by the FBX importer.
- Can now import a multiple mesh and export without further fracturing.
- Ability to cancel fracturing opertation – “Stop Fracture”.
- Chunk instancing (correponding chunks between different destructible actors will be rendered through intance bufer).
- Chunks tiling (matching chunks created from cutout fracturing will be instanced within the same actor, as well as referenced actors).
- Visualization of instanced chunks.
- LOD settings can now be applied to destructible in playground.
- Supports ASDW keys to move camera.
- Updated interface with support for all new features.
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.