The idea of hardware accelerated physics has been around for a long time and PhysX on NVIDIA GPUs has had some time to mature. There are more games coming out with support for hardware PhysX and not all of them have completely sucked. So we want to get a better picture of the impact of PhysX on our readers. Is this a thing that matters to you?

Before we get to the questions, last week saw the announcement of several upcoming titles that will support PhysX:

Terminator Salvation
Dark Void
Darkest of Days
U-Wars

Until we actually play the games, we won't know whether the PhysX implementation is any good though. Many of the ideas like debris, fog, smoke, contrails, destructable environments and weapons / fighting effects have seen light in other titles only to fall short of the expectation. But at least Mirror's Edge was able to take some of the same things and package them in a professional and appealing way.

There are more games still that will have support for PhysX in the near future, but other titles we've seen that touted their PhysX support (like Cryostasis) have fallen short of expectations. We certainly see a future in hardware accelerated physics, but, in the eyes of our readers, is physics hardware really "here" with NVIDIA and PhysX, or will OpenCL be the vehicle to usher in a new era in game physics?

To get a better idea of the landscape, we'll be asking two questions about PhysX software and hardware. For the software question, it would be helpful if those who do not have PhysX hardware could answer the question as if they did. We can't limit respondents to NVIDIA hardware owners, but we would like to keep things as fair as possible.

{poll 131:850}

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  • aigomorla - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Mirror Edge is suposed to support physx, but that game blows. Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Would you please avoid leading questions such as:

    "Not useful; Hardware physics doesn't matter until it's cross platform (OpenCL) (231 votes)"

    If I wanted to vote "Not useful," that's not necessarily the reason WHY I would vote "Not useful." You're assuming that is the ONLY reason it is not useful. Otherwise, at least include another option. The way the poll is going, you will get the result that "People want cross-platform PhysX" while that's not necessarily what the voters intended.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the feedback -- I just removed the OpenCL reference to try and help balance it out again.

    I do understand your sentiment -- the text following the useful-or-not bit was just supposed to be an example of the type of feeling that would be associated with the category, not the only thing that fits ... with no context at all it can be hard to understand what we intended and everyone would have different ideas of what the category would mean to them. At the same time, you are right that it could make people feel like the categories are overly narrow or non-inclusive.

    I'll try to be more careful with this in the future. Thanks again.
    Reply
  • just4U - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    well to be fair .. for many of us one of the main reason's it's not useful is because it's not cross platform. I would think the vast majority out there are take it or leave it types as it's not really a biggie to get excited about right now. Reply
  • icingdeath88 - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    You could also give multiple reasons for the same choice, such as:

    no - it's not cross platform
    no - none of the games i'm interested use it

    i put no, but i meant the second one.
    Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    and in the hardware question, shouldn't it be "Marginal; PhysX is a bonus if a CARD I like supports it" (card instead of game)? Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    you could add an "etc." there. Reply
  • ThePooBurner - Wednesday, May 06, 2009 - link

    I agree with the bad form of voting. I find GPU physics to be a complete waste. The cards are using every last drop of power they have to run the graphics and give me good FPS, the last thing i need or want is resources being sucked away to run physics when i've got 2-3 extra cores in my CPU doing approximately nothing. GPU physics is a waste of time and marketing gimicry. There is more than enough CPU power to go around these days to have the need to run physics on my GPU instead of graphics. I uy a video card to give me graphics, not physics. If i wanted a physics card i would buy a physics add-in card. So would everyone else. I find running anything but the graphics processes on the GPU to be offencive (in terms of gaming. If you are not gaming and Folding or whatever, fine, but turn that crap off when i am gaming so i can get the best performance possible.) Reply
  • joeysfb - Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - link

    Completely agree. Even the best single gpu graphic cards GTX285 can't run Crysis@MaxSetting@4X/8AA@1920X1200 at a comfortable 30fps. Why worry about Physics. Besides Physic effects has very minor impact on gameplay. Reply
  • SuperGee - Thursday, May 07, 2009 - link

    Sure the vote forming might be bad, made it hard for me to choose.
    But if you want to use your GPU full for rendering you can put a extra GPU for PhysX.
    If you don't want that, you can optional go for a faster GPU wich has enough power for both task.

    It's basicly a luxory choice. And Dev must support mainstream but optional they can support upt to the extreem game rigs imanigable.
    If budged is a problem then disable that much more PhysX option.
    That the aim for mainstream, the budged restricted people who don't want to invest in extra hardware. So the get the normal game experience.
    But other people apriciate those extra checkboxes or sliders for PhysX. For full PhysX experience with there favo PhysX game.

    It's just like if 1900x1200 is to much. You settle for 1024x768.
    Or no FSAA instead 4XFSAA.
    But if you want 2560x1600x32 with FSAA AF motionblur depth of field bloom abd HDR. Then you can go for triple GTX285. That luxory.

    GPU Physics means that game are much more Physics richer.

    Because Gameplay Physics doesn't go well with this luxory choice. It would be most of all effectPhysics.

    So if you want GPU just for rendering and Physics for CPU. You choose with that, for a low Physics setting.
    That freedom of choice. Just like there is SLI and CF and 30" monitors. You can go for that extra hardware PhysX acceleration by GPU or PPU.

    PhysX and FPS do have inflence on each other but arent the same.
    The GPU is for rendering performance. So you choose your gPU to do that on a decent FPS level. For normal setting that it, if you don't care about PhysX.
    If you want more PhysX. PhysX isn't about FPS but Physics. And Physics can be also very computing heavy. Wich mean you need extra GPU power to get that extra Physics and keep decent FPS.

    So a 8600GT doesn't render games well trowing a heavy PhysX load gives a slide show.
    Compare to a GPU PhysX disabled PhysX AAA game can stress a 9800GTX+ in decent setting.
    If you want to run a decent heavy PhysX mode a GTX275 give decent performance and is stressed in balance with rendering and Physics task.

    I go for that extra optional Physics wih decent FPS that means I must invest in some extra or better hardware.
    That choice. And I would like it very much if dev give you that. instead only service the poor people. Or fps focused people.

    Don't judge or review or bench physX with FPS performance.
    PhysX is about Physics the core of a review would be a review about how Physic is used in the game. And how much more hardware it needs.
    Reply

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