GDC 2006: AGEIA Technologies
, the guys who will bring hardware accelerated physics to the PC for the first time very soon, announced today that it will be releasing a version of their PhysX SDK to PlayStation 3 developers at the end of this month.
For those who are new to the impending physics revolution, PhysX is the software API accelerated by AGEIA's Physics Processor Unit (PPU). It enables developers to focus on designing great games by providing a drop-in physics engine to power ragdoll animation, realistic smoke and particles effects, and processor intensive simulations like fluids.
With the latest v2.4 of the PhysX SDK
, AGEIA can now boast support for PC as well as both next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony, as Cell processor-optimised routines for PlayStation 3 join support for Xbox 360.
By adopting PhysX for their physics middleware, developers can invoke complex physics routines such as hardware-accelerated joints and advanced cloth handling. According to the press release, developers can stretch, twist, drape and attach cloth to other rigid-body objects and then have the cloth interact with the environment, creating dramatically realistic "cause and effect" game experiences. Hardware-accelerated joints will be able to "dramatically enrich games with large quantities of ragdolls and pervasive interactive grass and foliage and/or hair."
Crazy stuff indeed. Of course, AGEIA's challenge all along has been to secure the support of AAA developers - Epic are on-board with Unreal Engine 3.0
, but greater penetration is needed. Rivals Havok powered the likes of F.E.A.R., Half-Life 2 and Halo 2, but now with full next-generation cross-platform support, we hope to see more developers backing PhysX.
Indeed, this week we will be reporting live from the Games Developers Conference 2006 in San Jose, California and we have been told to expect much more noise from the guys at AGEIA.