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PhysX Research: Wrinkle Meshes

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Dr. Matthias Müller-Fischer, PhysX SDK research lead at Nvidia Switzerland, Novodex founder and man behind many core PhysX algorithms, like Position Based Dynamics solver for cloth and soft-bodies, has published another interesting paper – Wrinkle Meshes.


We present a simple and fast method to add wrinkles to dynamic meshes such as simulated cloth or the skin of an animated character. To get the desired surface details, we attach a higher resolution wrinkle mesh to the coarse base mesh allowing the wrinkle vertices to deviate from their attachment positions within a limited range. The shape of the wrinkle mesh is determined by a static solver which runs in parallel to the motion of the base mesh. Our method can be used to automatically enhance a purely animated skin mesh with wrinkles which would be atedious task to do by hand.

The fact that the tessellation of the wrinkle mesh can be chosen independently of the structure of the base mesh can be used to control the look of the wrinkles. The locations of wrinkle formation can be defined by painting the maximum distance the wrinkle mesh is allowed to deviate from the base mesh. The second important application of wrinkle meshes is to add detail to simulated meshes such as cloth. Our method allows one to reduce the resolution of the simulation mesh without losing interesting surface detail. This speeds up the simulation, collision detection and handling and it reduces stretchiness. We show the efficiency and visual quality of the approach in a real-time setting.

In generally, that means more detailed cloth simulation with less resourse consumption. Previous research – Hierarchical Position Based Dynamics – was already added in PhysX SDK 2.8.3 so we believe that Wrinkle Meshes will appear in PhysX SDK or APEX Clothing module soon enough.

Also, you can download demonstrational video (63 mb)

Written by Zogrim

June 15th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

3D Rad Engine v7 switches from ODE to PhysX SDK

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As it was announced recently, new v7 version (currently in development) of free 3D Rad game engine will switch from ODE physics engine, used curently, to PhysX SDK.

According to developers, advantages from this decision are going to be following:

  • faster physics processing, both on normal systems and on systems equipped with recent NVidia cards (where hardware processed physics simulation will allow a very high number of simultaneous simulated bodies).
  • more accurate and robust polygonal collision detection (no more crashes on triangles that are too stretched, too small or too big)
  • additional collision detection primitives (boxes, capsules), with the ability to stack a high number of objects to create large collapsible buildings.
  • built-in breakable joints support, to effectively make in-game objects fully and realistically destructable.
  • advanced tire/suspension simulation for cars
  • soft bodies
  • physics-enabled particles/fluids
  • cloth simulation
  • bult-in advanced character control
  • volumetric force field simulation

Written by Zogrim

June 4th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Engines and Wrappers

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pCubee: 3D display cube

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Interesting research project, called pCubee – five-paneled LCD cube that gives users the appearance that virtual objects are inside and product of two years of work by students at the University of British Columbia – has drawn our attention recently. Why ? Because software part of pCubee is based on Open Scene Graph and PhysX SDK.

As you may see, pCubee can handle not only simple rigid bodies collisions, but also more complicated objects, like softbodies (1:20 – 1:27) and particle systems.

Gonna be interesting to see if this project will evolve from concept to something more consistent, like game console or other consumer entertainment product.

Written by Zogrim

April 16th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Other

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Post-GDC 2010: Nvidia Theater presentations available

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Presentations from “Nvidia Game Technology Theater“, which were demonstrated at Nvidia booth on GDC 2010, are now live – slides and following sound accompaniment. Let’s take a look at those related to PhysX SDK and APEX toolset.

Update: main PhysX and APEX session are now available as slide decks and video records

APEX Clothing with 3ds Max by Gavin Kistner, Product Designer, NVIDIA

Gavin gives a quick overview of 2.0 PhysX plug-in for 3ds Max, and uses superhero character with cape to explaing full clothing authoring process. Personal love Gavin’s manner of talking.. funny guy :)

Physically Simulated Clothing By CCP (EVE Online) Using NVIDIA APEX by Vigfus Omarsson, Lead Technical Artist, CCP; Snorri Sturluson, Senior Software Engineer, CCP; Monier Maher, APEX Product Manager, NVIDIA

Include overall cloth sim benefits overview from CCP, clothing tools pipeline features demonstration with Maya, and, of course, authoring process with pretty female character. While authoring was done in Maya, actual simulation was running in “CCP engine” window, as stated by Vigfus.

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Written by Zogrim

March 15th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Autodesk MotionBuilder 2011 comes with Nvidia PhysX plug-in

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It seems that next “2011″ product line from Autodesk will rely on PhysX SDK in more intensive manner than before. We already wrote about updated PhysX solver in Softimage 2011, and now PhysX plug-in integration is listed in new features set for Autodesk MotionBuilder 2011, character animation software package.

Rigid-body and ragdoll simulations can now be calculated using the Nvidia PhysX plug-in, a feature of particular benefit to games customers using the PhysX middleware.

As you may notice on the screenshot, PhysX SDK 2.8.3 is used for the integration, and apart from rigid body solver plug-in provides cloth simulation features.

Written by Zogrim

March 10th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Autodesk Softimage 2011 adds PhysX 2.8.3. integration

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Autodesk Softimage is well known 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing solution. Rigid body physics system in Softimage has moved to PhysX SDK with version 5.0, and old physics core wasn’t upgraded since than.  However, according to latest press-release, upcoming Softimage 2011 will finally include updated PhysX components

PhysX 2.8.3 — Helps artists create meshless deformations in ICE with the latest NVIDIA PhysX rigid body library. Provides new support for springs and dampers. New library also offers accelerated performance when using the optional addition of an NVIDIA CUDA enabled graphics processing unit (GPU).

Interesting detail – since hardware acceleration support is promised with clear definition of PhysX SDK as “rigid body” solution, it seems that GPU rigid body solver is going to be used.

Update: confirmed via Softimage wiki – “Support for CUDA acceleration for PhysX Rigid Body Dynamics (including ICE)”

Update #2: official press-release from Nvidia

Written by Zogrim

March 10th, 2010 at 3:09 am

Posted in PhysX Middleware

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Pre-GDC 2010: PhysX demonstrations overview

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GDC 2010 (Game Developer Conference) is just about to start, and is going to be rich on PhysX related content this year. Apart from session on APEX Clothing integration with EvE Incarna we mentined previously, featured talks will include “Authoring Physically Simulated Destruction with NVIDIA APEX” and “Taking Fluid Simulation Out of the Box: Particle Effects in Dark Void“.

You can read session descriptions via provided links, but actually not only this has catched my eye. Nvidia GDC 2010 page was updated with schedule of presentations, that are going to be demonstrated at Nvidia booth #1702 at March 12-13

Those include such intriguing topics like:

Unity for Engineers – are they planning to demonstrate update physics system in Unity 3.0 ?

Authoring Runtime Animation with NaturalMotion Morpheme 2.3 – I’ve heard that Morpheme is going to be integrated with APEX Clothing, is that it ?

Softimage 2011 Enhanced with PhysX – next version of Softimage will include updated PhysX SDK integration ?

Streamlining PhysX Content in Max – is it related to rumored new physics system in XBR ?

Sadly I can’t visit GDC myself, but I’ll try to provide you with any open or insider information I’ll be able to gather :)

Written by Zogrim

March 9th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

PhysX Rocket for SDK 2.8.3.

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Old PhysX fans will certanly recognize this name – Novodex Rocket (PhysX Rocket later on). This application combines two roles: demo physics playground (with large number of  preliminarily created and configurable scenes, ability to change and visualize SDK parameters) and physics editor, which can export objects data to COLLADA or NxuStream.

PhysX Rocket was often used by Ageia to demonstrate SDK features and PPU computing capabilities in year 2005, and was included in SDK package as PhysX tool (till SDK 2.7.3.).

John Ratcliff, PhysX Rocket creator, has made a nice present recently – he revealed an updated legacy version of Rocket, which is based on latest PhysX SDK 2.8.3 and includes advanced UI options (unavailable in previous public versions), but is missing some vital demo scenes and object files. Fortunately, we were able to merge this updated Rocket with old one, from SDK 2.7.3 Tools – this means all demos like in regular Rocket, but SDK 2.8.3 solver and additional UI options from new one.

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Written by Zogrim

February 24th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

New PhysX tools from John Ratcliff

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PhysX developers may be familiar with John Ratcliff – author of NxuStream (XML file format which is used to capture state of a PhysX SDK scene), Novodex/PhysX Rocket (physics demo application and editor) and other physics related researches.

In recent days John has updated his blog, known as John Ratcliff’s Code Suppository, with new usefull PhysX tools and code snippets:

PhysX2Obj – library that allows one to export a PhysX SDK scene as either a single Wavefront OBJ file in world space or a series of OBJ files in object space. Code has been compiled and tested with PhysX SDK 2.8.3 but should work with earlier versions of the SDK with little or no modification.

Library is available for download via Google Code page.

Tool with reverse purpose – Obj2PhysX - is going to be released shortly.

NvCoreDump is a windows 32 bit DLL which allows any PhysX 2.8.3 based project to perform an NxuStream XML compatible core dump in a single function call.

Rather than including all of the NxuStream source code in your application, instead you can simply demand load this tiny DLL and save it out.  The value, purpose, and benefit is to take simply add the ability to export the contents of the current PhysX SDK in any application by simply adding this tiny code snippet and the DLL.

Project is available for download via Google Code page.

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Written by Zogrim

February 24th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Posted in PhysX SDK, PhysX Tools

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PhysX SDK integration with Unreal 1 engine

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Group of enthusiasts is working on interesting project – classic Unreal 1 engine enhancement with real-time physics, based on PhysX SDK. Current version supports only primitives like boxes and spheres, convex meshes and several joint types, but result is already impressive:

Future plans include vehicles integration, soft bodies and possible ragdoll support. You can download beta version of PhysX mod for Unreal v. 227 here

Hope this project will be more successful than this abandoned PhysX integration into Half Life 1 engine.

Written by Zogrim

February 22nd, 2010 at 2:22 pm

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