posted 6/16/2005 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
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Realistic physics in games has become one of the bigger trends over the last few years as they add a whole new level of realism to games. They have become integral game play elements of games like Half-Life 2, Psi-Ops, and the upcoming City of Villains.expansion pack gamers are able to interact with games in new ways and the tools to create them will provide developers with a new way to create the world gamers can explore.

While most gamers are familiar with the Havok physics engine there is a new physics engine maker on the horizon and they are looking to become one of the major players in this physics space, not only on the console side but on the PC side as well. To overcome the problem that the PC won’t have the multi-processor support that next generation consoles have, AGEIA is going to be releasing a dedicated physics processing card for PC’s later this year. Some people might scoff at card dedicated to only processing physics instructions you have to remember people weren’t won over by the concept of dedicated video processing cards until a small company named 3dFX came in and changed the way we played games.

To get a better feel for what they are actually producing we got to chat with Andy Keane, the VP Marketing at AGEIA to find out what exactly their technology can do.

GamingNexus: First off can you talk about what products AGEIA is developing?
Andy Keane: AGEIA is developing the PhysX technology. This technology includes the PhysX processor, its supporting driver software and the PhysX software (NovodeX). This processor is expected to be available in PC add-in cards by Christmas 2005.

GamingNexus: Are realistic physics something that will decrease development time or does it add to the development time?
Andy Keane: This is an interesting question because in one way physics simplifies games and in another it opens up possibilities that the game developer can take advantage of. To help the developer, tools will become available to assist in integrating physics into games. You’ll be able to see some of these tools at SIGGraph at the end of July.

GamingNexus: Which platforms will the NovodeX engine support? Will you eventually support the Nintendo Revolution or not?
Andy Keane: We have announced NovodeX support for Xbox 360, Sony Playstation3 and the PC. Nothing to date has been announced for Nintendo Revolution.

GamingNexus: This is a politically charged question but was it easier to port the engine to the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3? Will one perform better than the other?
Andy Keane: We can’t comment on the individual platforms. We’ll have optimized versions of our software for both platforms.

GamingNexus: Why no current generation support (X-Box, PS2, Gamecube)?
Andy Keane: Our development looks forward to the next generation of hardware that offers tremendous power for compelling physics. If you look at the activity in developers and publishers, the interesting development work for us is on the next generation platforms. If the developers and publishers we work with demand the legacy platforms we’ll certainly support those.
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