Innovation is hard work. Doing work that has already been done elsewhere can be satisfying, but also annoying - no-one wants to reinvent the wheel every time. In the realm of 3D graphics, we are not limited to creating our wares from scratch - toolsets such as NVIDIA GameWorks are provided to developers allowing them to include advanced graphics rendering and physical simulation features into their products. The latest version, NVIDIA GameWorks 3.1, is being released this week.

NVIDIA GameWorks SDK 3.1 introduces three new graphics technologies involving shadows and lighting. NVIDIA Volumetric Lighting involves simulating how light behaves as it scatters through the air, and was showcased in Fallout 4. Moving over to shadows, we will see NVIDIA Hybrid Frustum Traced Shadows (HFTS) which involves rendering shadows that start as hard shadows nearer the casting object and transition to soft shadows further away. Lastly, in the new graphics features, we see NVIDIA Voxel Accelerated Ambient Occlusion (VXAO), which NVIDIA dubs as the highest quality ambient occlusion algorithm. What makes this version better than previous techniques is the ability to calculate shadows with all geometry in world space, versus older screen space techniques that can only cast shadows for geometry visible to the camera.

Adding to the roster of PhysX features is NVIDIA PhysX-GRB, which is a new implementation of NVIDIA’s PhysX rigid body dynamics SDK. This new implementation provides a hybrid CPU/GPU pipeline that NVIDIA claims can improve performance by a factor of up to 6X for moderate to heavy simulation loads, especially for those that are large on compute shader register resources. NVIDIA Flow is the other update to PhysX which will introduce the ability to simulate and render combustible fluids such as fire and smoke, and this time simulation will not be confined to a bounding box. This should lead to much more flexibility and usefulness in games and other software in the future.

Source: NVIDIA

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  • Sttm - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    "when Nvidia innovates you have to buy their cards to use it."

    It is almost like they are business and not a charity.
  • close - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    You're right here. And everything is fair game when money is involved. Intel did the same thing for business reasons. That was also fair, right?
  • close - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    Damn edit button. Also this is why I brought MS in the discussion. They also have good business reasons behind the decision to shove Win10 down your throat through any means, through misleading actions, through tricks, etc. But having a business reason can't justify everything.

    And it takes a special guy to look at 2 identical pieces of poop and actually decide that one of them tastes good because it comes from someone they like ;). No dude, unfair business practices are unfair even if you like that particular company or if the strategy actually works and brings money. And this isn't about what you or I like or what card we own and what games we play. If this kind of strategy is in encouraged it will become the norm and you will get to see it more and more.

    And using an SDK that leaves a quarter of the users unable to enjoy the full set of features in a game for purely arbitrary ("special" SW optimization) reasons is disrespectful to those people especially when their cards are technically powerful enough for them. But I guess respect is too much to ask from a developer you give money to.
    Remember this when software developers start artificially limiting software to promote hardware upgrades. Like when MS will say that if you want who knows what encryption feature or an improved scheduler you have to buy the latest CPU even if your current one would do the job just fine.

    BTW, CD Projekt Red did give AMD a heads up to allow them to also optimize for GW. Problem is Nvidia really did a good job in crippling AMD cards and the developer could not "help" AMD because the agreement with Nvidia doesn't allow any kind of changes that might benefit the competition. So I would say that Nvidia is really abusing their position sine such a strategy involves using your market share to artificially force exclusivity. And at some point someone will stop caring about that NDA ;).
  • medi03 - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    TreeFX is there, no need to cripple GPUs with Hairworks.
  • medi03 - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    As in, say, Project Cars.
    Oh, wait...
  • Zak - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    Someone please tell AMD so couple of years down the road they won't cry that they never heard about this when Witcher 4 comes out and their cards can't render something in the game.
  • 06GTOSC - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    AMD knows about Gameworks. The issue is that developers are roped into using Nvidia specific technology that AMD has no way to optimize for themselves. It's wrong. AMD is supporting open standards for all to use. Nvidia is supporting technology only they benefit from.
  • Dribble - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    By "supporting" you mean producing a few power point slides. There is no open equivalent to most games works features. This isn't like rendering where you can pick vulkan or DX12, both really exist and both have equivalent functionality. In this world you basically have gamesworks or nothing.

    Hence the choice for most games is really a straight console port without extra features for the PC, or one with extra features provided by nvidia.
  • DrKlahn - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    OpenCL could be used if Nvidia wanted. But they have no interest in that. It wouldn't further their goal of creating a monopoly where they can charge whatever they like for their products
  • Dribble - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    Gamesworks using OpenCL? Other then h/w physx I think everything runs on AMD gpu's, so whatever it's coded in clearly is open.

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