Archive for September, 2012
Rui Casais, Chief Technology Officer at Funcom, has joined us today to shed some light on how the company plans to further utilize the PhysX engine in their current and future projects.
PhysXInfo.com: So what exactly is the server-side PhysX, integrated into Dreamworld engine?
Rui Casais: One of the most computational expensive operations we do in our servers is collision checking. Due to the nature of PC gaming, we can never trust the client and have to therefore validate all the player movement in the server.
We had a homebrew collision system that worked ok, but when it comes down to it nothing beats the performance of a physics library like PhysX for collision checks.
In addition to this the addition of PhysX makes it possible for us to do more interesting physics simulation in the future, collision is just the beginning.
PhysXInfo.com: Since PhysX SDK has replaced your own collision detection system, has it resulted in any performance improvements or ability to implement new physics features?
Rui Casais: Server performance doubled when using PhysX, and we plan to expand on the physics side of gameplay in the future, although that isn’t a simple problem to tackle. But we like challenges!
Borderlands 2 from Gearbox Software, first title with GPU PhysX title of Year 2012, has occupied the hearts and minds of many PC gamers the last week.
Finally, we are also ready to present our PhysX oriented review of the game and, of course, usuall comparison video, showcasing additional PhysX effects.
In depth overview of the PhysX content and description of the differences between PhysX settings can be found in “Blood, Goo, & Destruction: A Close Look At PhysX In Borderlands 2” article at GeForce.com.
Now, let’s proceed to the review.
Borderlands 2, latest and probably one of the greatest games with support for GPU accelerated PhysX effects, is a HOT topic these days.
Update: GPU PhysX in Borderlands 2 – PhysX review and comparison video
Update #2: Borderlands 2 PhysX Benchmark Roundup
Usually, extra PhysX effects are meant to be executed on compatible NVIDIA GPUs, so even if one can force his CPU to do the work, it is not very effective – massive slowdowns and fps drops during scenes with intence physics are make the games hardly enjoyable. This is valid for titles like Batman series, Alice: Madness Returns, Mafia II and others.
Said matter was a tough topic over recent years, even resulting in claims that NVIDIA “hobbles” the CPU PhysX performance by purpose, to make their GPUs look more advantageous.
However, recently we saw many reports (mostly from AMD users) that Borderlands 2 shows surprisingly good performance, while running with all PhysX effects enabled even without a NVIDIA card in the system.
Thus, we decied to perform a little investigation to answer the question – can a CPU handle all the extra PhysX effects in Borderlands 2 ?
A boss fight against “Boom and his brother Bewm” is a good candidate for PhysX testing – scene contains a lot of particles (also, particles are constantly generated over time) and some cloth objects.
NVIDIA has revealed updated APEX SDK 1.2.1, which includes several new features, like GPU Rigid Bodies support for PhysX 3.x branch, and is compatible with latest PhysX SDK 3.2.1.
Update #2: APEX SDK 1.2.2 is available.
Updated authoring tools will follow soon.
Update: PhysXLab 1.2.1 is released.
|APEX SDK 1.2.1 – Release Notes|
- APEX Framework 1.2.1
- NxApexSphereShape getRadius/setRadius use PxF32 instead of PxVec3 to represent the radius.
- APEX Destruction 1.2.1
- Enabled GRB support with PhysX 3.2.1.
- Support multiple interior materials.
- Added hard sleeping option, which turns chunk islands kinematic when they sleep. They may be turned dynamic again if enough damage is applied.
- New sleepVelocityFrameDecayConstant parameter replaces sleepVelocitySmoothingFactor.
- Added edge face noise in cutout mode.
- Removed surface trace functionality (was used for old dust system).
- APEX Clothing 1.2.1
- Support for convex collision added to 3x clothing solver (only a total of 32 planes per clothing actor is supported).
- Self collision parameters moved to the ClothingMaterialLibrary NxParameterized interface.
- Fixed a Clothing Tool issue where the “Generate Tangent Space” button could generate several warning dialogs for certain older clothing assets.