Feeds

Ageia PhysX physics accelerator chip

Very special effects?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Game support just now is limited to Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter - my thanks to Ubisoft for access to the full-game prior to release - Bet on Soldier and Rise of Nations.

GR:AW is largely graphics limited at 1280x1024 - our chosen test resolution - so keep that in mind when you look at the following graph data.

Ageia PhysX test

You can see three pronounced dips in performance, corresponding each time to your author lobbing a grenade at a car and it being blown up. GR:AW uses the PhysX PPU to enable more bits of debris during explosions, enhancing their visuals. Each performance dip a combination of data being generated for the PPU to work on, moved to the PhysX board, sent back when done and then made use of. All that adds up to latency. Then the extra visuals to be rendered by the game, largely just some alpha-blended sprites.

Ageia PhysX screengrab
Click for full-size image

The sprites are identical - if there's more than one variation I can't spot it - and just scaled, rotated and blended to give the illusion of randomness. They don't persist, fading out after a short time.

While it's impressive the first few times you witness it, you soon spot the illusion and the smaller particles not persisting ruins the realism. Videos abound on the web of the GR:AW effects in action. It's 'Ooooh'-worthy the first few times, but that's about it.

Bet on Soldier employs much the same tactic, using the PPU to enable visual effects. The PPU does work intermittently, but a large amount of game physics is still done on the CPU in both titles.

If you think that such a limited analysis is a bit off, it's largely because there's simply not much to show you, or explain. And therein lies the rub with this first wave of PhysX-enabled games. Let me explain.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Verdict

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
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...
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
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.