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  • PhysX Performance Tests - The way games should be played
  • PhysX Performance Tests - The way games should be played


    About PhysX

    The concept of PhysX started to gain real momentum when a new upstart company, Ageia, bought a software physics API and designed a standalone processor to run those physics calculations.  The entire package was called Ageia PhysX and really got a lot of gaming enthusiasts excited to see additional realism in their games with increased performance.

    Much like 3dfx cards of gaming past, gamers were upset that they needed to buy an expensive add-on card to see some additional flashes of light and minimal effects.  This prompted Ageia to start creating games of their own to help showcase the technology and get more game designers to understand what could be done with PhysX when using the powerful Ageia add-on card.  The process and adoption were both slow moving and especially difficult when it came to multiplayer gaming, mostly due to the broadband limitations of moving vast amounts of physics data.

    The first real breakthrough for PhysX came with the release of the Unreal 3 Game Engine that was able to take advantage of hardware PhysX processing or run in software mode if the PhysX processor was missing.
    NVidia PhysX
    Adoption rates of the Ageia PhysX API were at an all time low when NVidia acquired the company but NVidia did something extraordinary with the technology by enabling the PhysX API to use the power of the NVidia GPU for its physics calculations.  Not only did this remove the dependency of the Ageia add-on card but paved the way to using PhysX on hardware most gamers already had in their systems.
    How does PhysX work?
    Unfortunately for PhysX to be enabled in a game it has to be built into the game when the engine is being designed.  When the game detects there is a PhysX driver available it can start using offloading the required calculations before the final scene is rendered.  Sadly, because of this there will be no magical PhysX wrapper to add realism to games, but it does mean that any game built using a PhysX enabled game engine can take full advantage of the technology.