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Nvidia moves PhysX engine to an open-source license

By Cal Jeffrey · 9 replies
Dec 3, 2018
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  1. If you play video games at all, even occasionally, you are probably familiar with or have at least seen the logo for Nvidia’s PhysX engine. The software is used in a multitude of titles from Call of Duty to The Witcher to realistically simulate objects that react naturally to forces in a 3D-rendered environment.

    Some examples of PhysX at work include the movements and flow of Batman’s cape in Arkham Origins, Geralt’s hair in the Witcher 3, and the particle effects from an explosion in Call of Duty: WWII.

    Until now the PhysX API has been proprietary. However, on Monday Nvidia announced it would be going open source with version 4.0 of the engine. The company claims that it has realized that the software has far more uses than just simulating physics in games. Nvidia see the technology used in robotics, AI, autonomous vehicles, and more.

    "NVIDIA is proud to announce PhysX SDK 4.0 … The engine has been upgraded to provide industrial grade simulation quality at game simulation performance."

    Nvidia believes that PhysX can be an essential tool in these other fields and would like to make it more broadly available. For this reason, the company is moving it under an open source license.

    “PhysX will now be the only free, open-source physics solution that takes advantage of GPU acceleration and can handle large virtual environments,” says the company’s press release.

    Along with the announcement, Nvidia demonstrated some new capabilities added to PhysX 4.0 in a video (above). Improvements include a Temporal Gauss-Seidel Solver, improved contact resolution, reduced coordinate articulations, reinforcement learning in simulated environments and more.

    The PhysX API will be available for free under the BSD-3 license starting today, December 3. However, version 4.0 will not be ready until December 20. You can pick up the full source code (after jumping through a couple hoops) on GitHub.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,513   +5,077

    Now that they have milked it of everything and way too late for the party.
  3. Shibas

    Shibas TS Member

    Oh so generous, it only took them like 10 years
  4. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Guru Posts: 550   +271

    And all those old games would now need a physx patch to enable on AMD cards?
  5. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Guru Posts: 423   +423

    After years of game developers not taking advantage of Gameworks/Physx NVidia make it open source... Slow clap.
    Reehahs and hahahanoobs like this.
  6. MattS

    MattS TS Evangelist Posts: 575   +146

    They want to divert the attention from the crap they've been trying to sell at high prices to instead force amd to implement physx a graphics engine which is barely used in 5% of the titles out there if not less. Big joke.
  7. MasterMace

    MasterMace TS Booster Posts: 90   +55

    Hasnt been any games with PhysX in forever for a reason
    Reehahs likes this.
  8. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 2,007   +1,540

    Minor graphical improvements with big performance hit? Sounds familiar.
  9. gamerk2

    gamerk2 TS Maniac Posts: 273   +169

    I believe things like NVIDIA Hairworks were built on top of the API, so the GPU acceleration is still used in some sense. The CPU engine dominates in games nowadays; it's by far the most used Physics API.

    Multi-object dynamics is hard. That's why no one really tries to do it for the most part. PhysX is the best API I've seen that tries to do it at a reasonable performance level, but it still crushes performance.
  10. VinnyC

    VinnyC TS Rookie

    Can someone please fix performance of PhysX on Windows 10 for Borderlands 2?

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