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What to expect from GPU PhysX in Batman: Arkham City ?

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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.

PhysX particle effects, most widely used type of content in GPU PhysX titles, will find their place in new Batman game. Scattered across Arkham City, they will consist of:

  • Interactive SPH-smoke from fire extinguishers and smoke pellets, dynamic steam and fog.
  • Ice particles for Freeze Gun and Freeze Grenade.
  • Interactive debris from destructible thrown objects, like stools and vases.
  • Environmental specific particles: molten and electrical sparks, coal debris, chunks, etc.
  • Extra particles jutting from destructible objects like breakable glass, tiles and walls.
  • Forcefields for explosions that will push particles away.

Interactive smoke and debris from Batman’s explosive gel

In addition, PhysX cloth effects are emulating the behaviour of fabric and clothing to make Batman and his enemies more realistic, as well as lend realism to environments. They will include:

  • Simulated clothing on characters: coats and hoodies for Penguin, Two Face, and Joker’s thugs; Bruce Wayne’s jacket, pants, and tie.
  • Dynamic paper: eviction and office papers, posters, x-ray sheets, museum tickets, etc.
  • Money littering the floor of the vault (Sewer level).
  • Leaves on the ground.
  • Various interactive cloth objects throughout the game: rugs, banners, curtains, flags, ropes, bunting.

Banknotes are simulated as invidial cloth pieces, affected by character and weapon movement

But beauty comes with a burden, performance wise – GPU PhysX effects, especially coupled with DX 11 features like tesselation or HBAO, can bring frame rate to its knees if your GPU is not fast enough.

Various tesselation settings

Following table (based on NVIDIA testing) provides recommended baseline settings for specific GPUs to ensure the comfortable combination of playability and features (average frame rate of 40-55 frames per second and minimum 35 fps).

GPU Resolution Detail PhysX DX11 FXAA Ambient
GTX 590 1920×1080 Very High High High High On
GTX 580 1920×1080 Very High High Normal High On
GTX 570 1920×1080 High High Normal Medium Off
GTX 560 Ti 1920×1080 High Normal Off Low Off
GTX 560 Ti 1680×1050 High Normal Off Low Off

Batman: Arkham City is set for launch on November 22 in US and November 25 in EU.

Don’t forget to visit soon after game’s release for comparison PhysX video, screenshots and detailed overview.

Written by Zogrim

November 18th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

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