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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  • xthetenth - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    Honestly with the last bunch of drivers being incredibly problematic, and how it looks like Maxwell's scheduler getting gutted to make room for more cores is going to hurt it in the long term, I'm not that impressed with NV's drivers or cards these days.
  • Zak - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    I guess you're not familiar with the story I was referring to: AMD's chief scientist and the top brass complained that they were not aware of HairWorks being used in Witcher 3 until two months before the game release and accused Nvidia of sabotaging AMD's performance which was utter bullshit, as the HairWorks feature was widely demoed for two years and the developer said AMD was involved all along. Then it took AMD five months to fix their drivers.
  • BinaryTB - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    I believe a similar occurrence occurred when Rage was released. John Carmack was lambasting AMD's drivers on his Twitter account on release day.
  • ToTTenTranz - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    The Hairworks code was CHANGED at the last minute to include sub-pixel levels of tesselation into Geralt's/Creatures' hair, and a driver that limited maximum tesselation levels was released about 2 months after the game was out.

    My guess is CD PROJEKT RED learned their lesson and they're probably not using gameworks again in future titles. Besides, The Witcher 3 was so successful that they don't need use "free proprietary effects" for Cyberpunk anyways.
  • jasonelmore - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    just no.....gameworks is a library, not a hardware specific set of features. The library could very well be made by someone else, like AMD. AMD just didn't make a open set of tools for developers. they like to make a few very specific standards, and hope everyone picks them up.
  • medi03 - Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - link

    Gameworks is a library that notoriously cripples competition beyond repair.
    When 960 beats 290x.
  • F@st - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    But when AMD libraries make 380X faster than 780Ti, and forcing every DX12 game with Async to cripple competition is nothing wrong according to you, imbecile?
  • prtskg - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    Wow! you're well mannered. Do you even know that Nvidia says its hardware is capable to do async compute and they'll release a driver update to enable it? Async compute increases performance all around, if it works. So I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be used.
  • D. Lister - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    I always find it so adorable when AMD fans whine on about Nvidia copyrighting their software features.

    Try to get it through your childlike minds if you can - GPUs are just toys for grownups. If you want to complain about truly unfair copyrights of IPs, there are much higher callings, like pharmaceuticals copyrighting life-saving drugs, or automotive/aeronautical companies copyrighting safety features which, if they were made public, would save many, many more lives.

    Have you simpletons ever wondered why the various world governments don't force these people to make these technologies public? Because then without the potential for profits the big businesses wouldn't have any incentive to invest billions in R&D, and then even the fewer lives that are being saved would be lost.

    'Copyright' gives a developmental incentive. Without it, any research conducted would be extremely slow and disorganized. AMD babbles on about "open standards" because they don't have the budget for in-house development. When they did, they had their own copyrights and others paid them for it. Now, they could get in on Gameworks, but they can't, or won't pay for it. Instead, they impede development done by their competition by making absurd accusations that only the most gullible fanboys would fall for.

    Incidentally, while I believe that all knowledge should be equally shared by all mankind, I also understand that unfortunately collectively, our species simply isn't evolved enough to appreciate the bigger picture, and our currently dominant economics model is FAAAR from being perfect.
  • DiLi - Thursday, March 17, 2016 - link

    "'Copyright' gives a developmental incentive. Without it, any research conducted would be extremely slow and disorganized. "

    Is that why Linux is arguably better and more stable than Windows or Mac? Is that why OpenOffice/LibreOffice can open older and corrupt Word and Excel files better than MS Office? There are many examples in the software world of open-source and "FOSS" being superior to closed source. Yeah, that copyright is really useful in the software industry...

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