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

4MLinux 12.0 Beta Arrives with Better Support for Watching and Downloading YouTube Videos

Zbigniew Konojacki had the pleasure of announcing today, March 28, on his Twitter account that the development cycle towards the 4MLinux 12.0 computer operating system has started with the Beta release for the 4MLinux Allinone Edition, 4MLinux Core, and 4MLinux distributions. Read more

Gorgeous Live Voyager X Distro Brings Xfce 4.12 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS - Video and Screenshot Tour

On March 27, 2015, French developer Rodolphe Bachelart, the creator of the Live Voyager series of GNU/Linux distributions based on Ubuntu/Xubuntu, was proud to announce the immediate availability for download of a new computer operating system, Live Voyager X 14.04.4 LTS. Read more

Head 2 Head: Android OS vs. Chrome OS

A large part of Google’s OS success hasn’t been because of its awesomeness. No. Frankly, we think nothing speaks louder than the almighty dollar in this world. But both are “free,” right? So this is tie? Not really. Although Android is technically free since Google doesn’t charge device makers for it, there are costs associated with getting devices “certified.” Oh, yeah, and then there’s Apple and Microsoft, both of which get healthy payouts from device makers through patent lawsuits. Microsoft reportedly makes far more from Android sales than Windows Phone sales. You just generally don’t see the price because it’s abstracted by carriers. Chrome OS, on the other hand, actually is pretty much free. A top-ofthe-line Chromebook is $280, while a top-of-the-line Android phone full retail is usually $600. We’re giving this one to Chrome OS because if it’s generally cheaper for the builder, it’s cheaper for you. Read more