Feeds

Nvidia pitches physics-on-GPU code

Games to get more real?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Nvidia will this week show in-game physics code calculations being run on a graphics processor, the first time this has been done in public, the company claimed today. When the technique is implemented in future games, the benefit for players will be more realistic virtual worlds, Nvidia said.

The process uses code from physics and character animation middleware maker Havok. Its Havok FX software provides an API for the mathematics games need to perform to work out how objects physically interact with each other - the effect of gravity, friction, mass, elasticity and so on. Havok FX runs these calculations on the host computer's GPU rather the main processor. Havok's approach frees up the CPU to focus on ever more complex artificial intelligence calculations.

Nvidia likes the technique because it provides another job for its graphics chips to do. With high frame rates at high definition resolutions and the ability to do complex rendering effects all pretty much sorted out, the law of diminishing returns is kicking in, leaving the latest products providing less of a leap forward than previous generations of products achieved over their predecessors. Nvidia needs new tasks for its GPUs to perform if it's to continue to make the latest upgrade attractive to gamers.

Havok FX ties leverages the GPU using Shader Model 3.0 rendering instructions, so it's as applicable to ATI's latest GPUs as it is to Nvidia's, of course. That didn't stop Nvidia saying how well the code works on its GeForce 6- and 7-series GPUs, even in SLI mode.

Of course, mult-core processors and multi-threaded game code capable of using all of the CPU's processing engines may render Havok's technique redundant, which is why it's pitching the system at special effects rather than game-play physics. The company sees the code controlling, say, fountains of objects rather than what happens when the player shoots at something. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?