Vitor, a reader, sent me a link to an awesome game demo developed just to show off what the PhysX engine by AGEIA can do. If you’ll recall, the PhysX engine is also available to PS3 developers to use in their PS3 games.
Anyway, this demo is actually on the PC, not a console, but it gives a taste of the kind of fun that can be had with physics. I especially appreciate the Jedi Force Push -type effects that the soldiers are capable of. The battle playfield is rather small. It actually reminds me of the one level in Quake II that my friends and I have a blast with. It’s quite small, but you jump around a lot to go from platform to platform.
Cool stuff, thanks Vitor.
As well, Mark Rein of Epic Games had some interesting things to say in an interview:
Shack: What are your thoughts on AGEIA’s PPU hardware? Any thoughts about how that’s going to take off?
Mark Rein: One thing AGEIA’s done that’s really smart is that–well, if you’ve seen our PS3 demo, and this is really version .1, really not a finished performance at all, but we’ve got some really great cool physics things going on PS3. They’ve done a really good job of optimizing their library to work well with the SPUs in the Cell processor, which means we’re going to be able to get a lot of physics performance out of PlayStation 3. Also on Xbox 360 to some extent, but definitely on PS3 we’re going to be able to get a lot of physics capabilities out of that. Which means that, to bring [games using those methods] to a PC, you’re probably going to need the hardware. Or you could maybe scale it up even further on the PC, I believe, with their hardware. I think that bodes really well for them if developers go nuts and do really cool physics on PlayStation 3, then if people want to play it to that level on PC, they’ll buy the card. So it’s a matter of them coming out with great applications, great games that use it. I know Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter will be using the hardware, and Unreal Tournament 2007 will be using the hardware. Not today, but eventually. So I think that’s pretty exciting for them, and I think it’s going to be pretty cool.
In other words, to get the kind of physics performance you’ll be seeing on the PS3 on a PC, you’ll need to buy the PhysX hardware card and plug it into your PC. How often do I have to say “cool stuff” ?