Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Gamers may get better explosions through science

Filed under
Gaming

To a physics fan like Manju Hegde, even today's best video games look fake. When a building blows up in a game, he notices the debris doesn't cascade like a waterfall or scatter correctly and cause damage to nearby structures.

That's because game creators haven't taken the time to calculate the physics that govern the behavior of objects such as falling bricks. Hegde, CEO of Mountain View, Calif., startup Ageia, wants to make it easy for them to do that with a chip for the personal computer that specializes in physics calculations.

Dubbed PhysX, the chip will enable things like gelatinous creatures whose bodies shift shape like a liquid, crumpling fenders in car crashes, massive explosions with 10,000 pieces of debris, clothing that hangs realistically, and lava or blood that flows like the real thing.

"We think a game should be like the 'Star Trek' holodeck," Hegde says, referring to the virtual-reality simulator from the science-fiction TV series whose illusions were indistinguishable from real life. "Our chip is the first step toward that."

Ageia has $38 million in venture capital from firms such as Apex Partners and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. It has commitments for $30 million more from other investors.
One reason Ageia has garnered such support is its chip could tip the scales in the PC's battle with game consoles.

The PC gaming community is about to be overshadowed by another set of new consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Those machines will have plenty of extra processing power to handle better physics.

The consoles will be able to calculate the interaction of moving objects and determine what the graphics chip needs to display on the screen at any instant. And they may have enough power to imbue the game environment with physical attributes, so that the grass sways when the wind blows.

Hegde says a PC with a physics chip could match the consoles.

Physics chips are "a major innovation that is likely to breathe new life into the PC as a gaming platform," said Jon Peddie, president of graphics-research firm Jon Peddie Research.

But do gamers really want to buy an add-on card just to improve the realism in their games?

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Open-Source Radeon 2D Performance Is Better With Ubuntu 14.10

While we're most often looking at the OpenGL 3D performance of the Linux graphics drivers, in the tests currently being done of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS vs. Ubuntu 14.10 are also a number of 2D graphics benchmarks. In the article today are our 2D benchmarks between Ubuntu 14.04.1 and Ubuntu 14.10 for various AMD Radeon graphics cards and it shows off significant performance improvements. Read more

Today in Techrights

Today's articles: Links outline:

KDE With Theoretical Client-Side Decorations, Windows 10 Influence

KDE contributor and graphics designer Ken Vermette has penned an interesting series of KDE "What if..." articles where he talks about (and has some visual mock-ups) about what KDE might look like with client-side decorations along and separately if KDE were to use Windows 10 design components. Read more Also: What if… Plasma Used Launchers from Other Systems & Enviornments? (Part 1) What if… KDE Used Windows 10 Design Components?

Pondering FOSS foundations

In the case of the Document Foundation, the LibreOffice project needed an independent, solid and meritocratic entity dedicated to support it. In other terms, the OpenOffice.org community wanted to be its own boss and stop relying on corporate – or even third party – good will. If you attend the Community Track on the 31st you will be able to learn more about the Document Foundation and the other entities, but my message here is that while there is no silver bullet in these matters, forcing a community be hosted or to bend to a software vendor never works. It bends if it wants to; it goes whereever it wishes to go. In the case of the Document Foundation, independence and community rule prevailed over convenience; today the results do not need to be proven anymore. But it does not mean we hold the truth more than anybody else: we just ensured the community was in charge. Read more