As a more direct answer to AMD FEMFX, which was recently announced; NVIDIA looked to be caught on the back foot by the red team. However, it looks like that’s not actually be the case so far. This is thanks in no small part to the announcement of a new iteration of NVIDIA’s flagship physics simulation suite, PhysX. The new version, PhysX 5.0, will bring in improvements and new aspects to the software, unlocking a new level of deformation and other simulation power to team green’s GPUs.
The new PhysX implementation will focus on a few key areas. The FEM standard for simulation of physics objects has already become standard within other industries, like automotive design, but it just took a bit for gaming to catch up. This system allows for more realistic handling of different objects made up of different materials. So just like in the real world, a rubber ball with behave very differently under the same conditions to a metal sphere, or a rock.
PhysX 5.0 will also add more advanced terrain and environmental simulation to the mix, allowing more realistic interactions between physics objects and the space around them in future games and other projects.
NVIDIA also recently revealed a partnership with Tencent to bring cloud-based gaming to China, so it looks like they’re serious about innovation and competition in 2020 and beyond.
We don’t know when exactly the new software version will land, so until then just enjoy this tech demo video.
Here’s a rundown of the main new elements being added to PhysX in PhysX 5.0:
- The Finite Element Model (FEM): an industry-standard simulation technique for deformable bodies. It is used extensively in the automotive and manufacturing industries to accurately simulate the structural strength of both rigid and soft assemblies.
- Liquid simulations: Developers will be able to use discrete particle simulations to model granular flow. The implementation is scalable; robust-to-large time-steps can be used to stably simulate a wide range of liquids.
- Arbitrary meshes: These can be simulated as cloth or rope using PhysX 5.0’s constrained particle model. These meshes can be coupled with volume preservation constraints with application-defined pressures to simulate inflatable shapes. The mesh-based simulations also provide a model to simulate aerodynamic drag and lift. The constraint model supports springs so it can be used to create mass-spring systems.