Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

A new dedicated physics chip and SDK announced with Epic pledging full Unreal 3 support for the breakthrough.

Silicon Valley chip maker AGEIA Technologies at the Game Developers Conference introduced a new category of semiconductor-the Physics Processing Unit, or PPU. The company's debut product, the AGEIA PhysX chip, will be the first dedicated physics semiconductor chip to be used in next-generation game platforms.

The current trend among game developers is to use software-based physics engines to enable objects and characters to interact in a real-world manner and provide some of the industry's most stunning effects. However, without dedicated physics hardware game developers are unable to fully unleash the power of physics on today's platforms.

What is increasingly defining successful games is how well they emulate reality, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group. PhysX has the potential to create environments that are vastly more real and compelling to both existing gamers and those that have not yet discovered the amazing worlds created by leading developers.

By performing advanced physics simulations in real time, the PPU can respond to gamer actions as well as environments contributing to pervasive interactive reality. By introducing dramatic amounts of physics, games can now react uniquely to each input, adding a tremendous variety of game play. Physics will offer a host of advanced features including universal collision detection, rigid-body dynamics, soft-body dynamics, fluid dynamics, smart particle systems, clothing simulation, soft-body deformation with tearing, and brittle fracturing for destruction of objects in gaming environments.

Completing the Triangle: CPU - GPU - PPU

The advent of the PPU and its influence on game reality has the power to mirror that of Graphic Processing Units (GPU) in the late 1990s. The GPU was developed as a specialized form of hardware to speed up the rendering and display functions previously done in software. As a result, the visual quality of games increased dramatically and every significant game was compelled to incorporate the new 3D hardware technology.

In turn, the widespread adoption of GPUs created the need for other functions on the CPU to support the increased visual quality. A similar phenomenon can be anticipated with the adoption of Physics Processing Units (PPU). The increased scope of physics has the ability to create the need for additional CPU functions and raise the bar on the visual effects provided by the GPU.

Hardware-accelerated physics is a major innovation that is likely to breathe new life into the PC as a gaming platform, said Dr. Jon Peddie, Jon Peddie Research, the leading graphics research firm based in Tiburon, CA. While the CPU and GPU offer high-speed game processing and 3D imagery, a dedicated PPU like the AGEIA PhysX chip is required to truly handle the compute-intensive tasks of real-world simulation.

NovodeX SDK Enables PhysX Adoption

To give game developers a head start in designing hardware-accelerated games, AGEIA has made available a software development kit, the NovodeX Physics SDK. NovodeX is already in wide use by game developers, many of whom expect to have hardware-accelerated titles by Christmas of 2005. NovodeX is also the only multithreaded physics SDK on the market today, which allows game developers to prepare for tomorrow's multiprocessor PCs and multiprocessor game platforms.

Unreal 3 To Support PhysX

Epic Games will support AGEIA's PhysX chip. One of the world's leading developers of cutting-edge computer and video games, Epic has integrated AGEIA's NovodeX Physics SDK into its Unreal Engine and announced the integration of AGEIA's NovodeX Physics SDK and support for AGEIA's PhysX chip in Epic's Unreal Engine 3. PhysX will be the first dedicated physics processing unit to be used in next-generation game platforms.

NovodeX is the only SDK that is equipped for the future of hardware-accelerated physics and meets the needs of the next generation in multiprocessor PCs and game consoles.

Tim Sweeney, founder and lead programmer of Epic Games comments, We've been using the NovodeX Physics SDK with the Unreal Engine 3 for the past year and it has added some awesome effects. It's going to be exciting to see what NovodeX can do once the PhysX chip hits the market.

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Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

Since they are talking on putting in the new X-box, i guess we can expect Microsoft will support it on a new DirectX version,or something like that, since all chips need a common table to talk to each other,anyway if they keep on pumping up my harware expenses, i guess i´ll aft to play more Gamez :P

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

I see many of you's guys doubt the power of dedicated hardware. Not many of you's round when gfx cards became dedicated hardware? I remember what that did and what that means for us now in terms of where games have gone. But you's will just have to wait and see i guess. This stuff is sposed to be in the up and coming xbox next isn't it? If so I suppose that will be the first look we get at it.

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

Just to refrain from hype for a second, I guess it really does depend on whether developers can find good useful ways to use a lot of physics in thier games. I fear that it may be used as a gimic until a clear company comes along.

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

OMG whats with all the morons? A deditcated ppu could dramatically increase performance on mid and low end computers. Duh that means you can keep that athlon xp another year or so. Most likely this technology will work fine on standard pci 2.0 running the card on x16 pcie wouldnt make sense at all so I would guess well se it in pcie1x and pci versions. I defianatley cant see this card costing more than $100 after it takes off and if it becomes a mobo intergration expect it to be even cheaper.

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

"What is increasingly defining successful games is how well they emulate reality, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group. PhysX has the potential to create environments that are vastly more real and compelling to both existing gamers and those that have not yet discovered the amazing worlds created by leading developers."Again this is why our gaming industry is failing because of tards like this one acting like graphics and effects are everything. Most of the games I love don't even compair to the new ones out in terms of graphics and physics and I still play them.f**king annoying that EVERY game coming out is a 3D game , its horrible whatever happend to good games coming out every year now its like 1 or 2 a year.Bleh I guess some could argue but I still play games from like almost 10 years ago so I guess thats why I'm not as much into the newer gen games

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

like duke nukem 3d?lol i loved that game but i can't stand it now, mainly because of the controls. hard to go back to a game with no mouse look support after all these years.physics could be a game on its own, i remember when i was playing half life 2, later in the game the gravity gun changed color and allowed me to ragdoll the bots. it was amusing just flinging them around, and flicking them into that slow motion (like matrix) liquid it looked like they were doing kung fu, too bad i didn't record it with fraps, wasn't able to recreate the funny motion.your stance is much like nintendo's, "gfx isn't everything", everyone poo poo that notion and now their working on gameboy advance 2 which is to compete with sony's psp. heard there was a lack of developers working for nintendo DS titles, from IGN.com.gfx quality is all relative, like star wars tie fighter, i thought that game looked amazing back in its day, now it looks like pixelated shit. its natural for standards to change, aka change in standard control keys, gfx, depth of player interaction within game (ex. items do more than just give you points, u can use the items).

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

i mentioned the need for a physics chip on a comment page about the new havok engine not so long ago. have to admit i'm really suprised they already had one planned to come out so soon. this is good!! and stop whinging about price people. gaming is an expensive hobby, thats something you going to have to accept. another step in the direction to completely interactive games.

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

@{WOR}lockI reserve my right to b1tch and moan... :) Price shouldn't be that much of an issue though, just like gfx cards now, just because you get something cheaper doesn't mean that you can't play a game, just that it isn't as pretty as something who spent more...@geekshackChill dude... it's not like they hard code real-world physics into something like this, it's just another processor tweaked to be able to do the kind of calculations needed to emulate physics. I'd assume you just call functions with a whole stack of parameters which identify the objects in your world and it returns the result.

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

PPU!??? that's bu****it! If gaming is an expensive hobby for home-users, it's surely very profitable bussiness for developers!No more money waiste of money for kids stuff! karma and havok are good physics engines, do we have to buy these now?

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

Another way to make money.. They say the current CPU's only allow interactions between 30/40 objects? Then I must've been dreaming cause I've played many games with a greater number of objects interacting with each other. I just hope they don't make computer games hobby as expensive as golf or something like that or else instead of raising sales they're ceartainly gonna loose them cause I can't see anyone spending large amounts of money every year to upgrade their comp just to play the mostly crappy games released nowdays. MOST games today are sold based on GFX, I still prefer good gameplay and story though, that's what matters most, see Foom3 example weak gameplay story and pixelated textures! but the tricky lightning/shadows system just made every d**k out there spend money on it.. just SAD..

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

ohh.. I fogot to mention, most game today don't last shit also, I miss the good old games, why is everything getting crappier nowdays you ask? Cause game companies are full of money and don't care anymore about making really good game to get gamers attention and that explain why the best games usually come out of smaller companies and developers.

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

The chip comes in the form of an add-on card.Quote: "But do gamers really want to buy an add-on card with a Ageia physics processing unit just to improve the realism in their games? Ageia's president, Curtis Davis, argues that gamers will when they realize that physics is key to situations where they try to do something in a game and the environment doesn't respond. If you crash a plane into some trees and none of them fall, it destroys the fantasy."source: [url removed]

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

Someone here said something about HL2's Gravity Gun ,And now talking about physics kinda reminded me of something I couldn't figure out.. If the gravity gun can lift big heavy thing up in the air, shouldn't the one that hold the gun (GORDON) be carrying all the weight???

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

Dude, i find this amazingly sweet looking, and if u understood what u read and looked up the features, it does a lot. Im prolly gonna buy a chip as long as its not no $500 like a gfx card. And my guess is its gonna be a seperate card that uses the 2nd SLi slot on an SLi mobo. POSSIBLY if it doesnt need that much bandwith it could use pci-e 1x or PCI

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

Sigh, I hope it dosnt need to be upgraded every year so I can play the lattest games. Hopfully motherboard manufactures just make onboard ones to save us money.I must agree that now days game developers arnt making games that are nice and indepth. I realy only cair about gameplay, I will go back to playing DeusEX when I have the time.I think the example of "the plane flying into the trees" was bad, because that is compleatly up to the game designer and has nothing to do with the PPU.The only good thing I think the PPU would be doing would be relieving the CPU so it can use its power elswere.What are they going to think of next? An AI processing unit?

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

should take some load off the processor - like one instruction to multiply a couple of vectors or something, but with processors getting faster and faster by the second, this???Since Physics doesn't change (I guessed so untill one camp started talking about quantum stuff!) the PPU shouldn't change much... but maybe they'll make them one instructiona second faster every month to roll out a new chip!Did anyone read the article about realism and verisimilitude?

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

problems may arise when a competator comes onto the market - no reason to asume there wont be discrepancies between the chips (like between ati and nvidia boards) - what happens when your playing someone online and they frag you purely because they have a different ppu - could get annoying

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

what about duel core cpus. the PPU would still be faster since its hardware but it could be emulated on one of the cpu cores. the advantage would mean no need to purchase PPU hardware upgrades to stay uptodate.I can't think of a better usage for duel core cpus.

Physics Dedicated Hardware Soon

"Completing the Triangle: CPU – GPU – PPU"Ummm.. The "Triangle" has been "completed" for years now. Ever hear of an APU? o0 Audio is just as important as graphics, etc. =PI am however pumped for this to come out. This is gonna change everything for the better just like 3D video cards did. I'd say it'll come as a PCI-E card at first, but will quickly be incorporated on-board mobos just like GPUs and APUs. Obviously you'll always be offered the latest-greatest PCI-E upgrade card though; every six months I'd assume. I hope they aren't as expensive as GPUs though. I'm thinking they won't be though as I can't see how this line of chips could be constantly enhanced and pimped-out to the extent that GPUs can be / are.I'm guessing it'll be a $100-150 card. Sold.

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