Hardware, Software Programs

NVIDIA PhysX 3.0 Expands to Smartphones, Tablets


On E3 2011, NVIDIA introduced PhysX 3.0 SDK, spreading the support for its popular in-game physics API to tablets and smartphones. Being the most popular out of three physics API (Application Programming Interface), NVIDIA is investing strongly into bringing in-game physics to smartphones and tablets – markets which the company sees as ones with the biggest market potential for gaming.

The company claims they worked on PhysX 3.0 for the last three years with an explanation that they had to do a parallel effort in order to clean the code from the original AGEIA PhysX API, which had its fair share of limitations. 

After seeing an impressive in-game video of Lost Planet 2, which CapCom converted from PlayStation 3 to Kal-El engineering prototype in only couple of weeks time, it is clear that mobile gaming is going to experience an exponential growth not just in number of games, but in quality as well.

As well all know, gamers demand the best possible graphics and with the next-generation, quad-core tablets such as NVIDIA’s Kal-El i.e. Tegra 3(D) that will expand with 12-core GeForce 8-class graphics. In fact, seeing those videos are a clear testament of us dreaming how would PC gaming look if game developers would not be constrained by support limitations (for instance, if developers would make a DirectX 10-only or 11-only game which would not need to support Intel’s integrated graphics). Just like consoles, game developers don’t have those limitations on Android operating system – meaning that accelerated in-game physics is becoming a reality on a tablet, even sooner than on a PC.

According to the release, PhysX 3.0 SDK (Software Development Kit) brings the following improvements:

  • Larger Levels: Game levels are getting larger these days. That means they require more actors. In PhysX 3.0, developers can combine multiple actors into a single "aggregate", which is managed as a single bounding-box entity in the broadphase stage of the collision pipeline. This reduces the computing load required to predict collisions between actors, and helps improve overall performance and memory efficiency of PhysX-3 relative to earlier versions.
  • Streaming: PhysX 3.0 enables efficient streaming of asset data into a simulation through a new feature,binary in-place serialization, which allows quick and memory-efficient insertion of actors into a scene. In addition, out-of-scene actor creation, which allows actors to be created outside the scene and stored rather than being created and destroyed on demand, provides developers with better asset management while minimizing troublesome compute load spikes.
  • More Effective Multithreading: The new Task Manager with managed thread pool allows games to take advantage of multi-core processors on all platforms, resulting in greatly increased performance and a much improved gaming experience.
  • Flexible and Powerful Tools: In addition to a highly optimized physics runtime, NVIDIA is releasing improved tools for artists that have been tailored to work within the developer?s asset production pipeline.  A new release of PhysX Visual Debugger allows superior performance profiling, detailed memory analysis and improved visualization of all PhysX content across all major platforms.

You can learn more by visiting PhysX homepage or visiting the Developer Relations website.