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PhysX and Breach: Final Verdict

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Multiplayer shooter Breach from Atomic Games is hot topic for us these days, thanks to features like fully destructible environments and robust integration of PhysX SDK physics engine.

We’ve spent some time playing Breach and are presenting our overview, focused on PhysX related components of the game.

Destruction and physics systems.

Destruction in Breach is pretty pervasive  – each level contain lot of active physical objects, from fully desctructible (wooden cabins, bridges, barricades, etc) to semi-destructible (structures made of stone and concrete will take damage, but won’t collapse entirely). Rigid body chunks and bricks from explosions will remain active physics objects, reacting to players movement, gunfire and explosions.

Physics calculations quantity can be controlled through special Physics Settings panel, that allows users to tweak amount of rigid bodies present on the scene and time they stay active before disappearing.

Breach and PhysX overview - high physics settings

Breach - high physics settings (click to view full pic)

These settings are  mostly related to secondary rigid bodies (bricks, debris and smaller pieces), while gameplay affecting obejcts (for example, falling wooden planks, that can hurt other players) remain intact.

Breach and PhysX overview - low physics settings

Breach - low physics settings (click to view full pic)

“Spawned particles” parameter was looking promising, however, we’ve failed to notice any difference between minimum and maximum values.

Hardware PhysX support.

Despite of ongoing rumors, we weren’t able to verify support for hardware PhysX acceleration in Breach, in current version at least.

AgPerfMon profiler logs, PhysX Visual Indicator overlay, dedicated PhysX GPU load (zero), performance difference with GPU/CPU PhysX modes (no difference) are explicitly indicating that all PhysX calculations are running purely on CPU.

We can assume that promised superiority of PC version over Xbox 360 one is related to unlocked physics settings panel, while Xbox version has fixed physics effects level. However, we’ve heard that some features, like GPU accelerated rigid bodies may be implemented into Breach (or following titles) in the future.

As interesting note, game is taking advantage of multi-core CPUs..

Breach - CPU usage on PC

.. providing 60+ fps even in intensive firefight, with lot of destruction going on.


Decent game, especially for its price (first week – $11.99 on Steam). Unfortunately, not a reinforcement for GPU PhysX games collection, as we hoped previously.

Breach some flaws – unpresentable graphics, poor sound effects and network connection problems, and certanly it won’t replace BC2 on your PC, but may give you few evenings, or even weeks, full of joy and new experience.

Written by Zogrim

January 27th, 2011 at 3:32 am

Posted in Articles, Reviews, PhysX Games

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2 Responses to 'PhysX and Breach: Final Verdict'

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  1. So there isn’t a way how to accelerate PhysX via GPU? I thought that this option would be here. Like in Two Worlds II… This can help CPU which can do another calculations.




    27 Jan 11 at 4:53 pm

  2. mareknr: So there isn’t a way how to accelerate PhysX via GPU?

    In this version – nope. :-/




    27 Jan 11 at 5:39 pm

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