Graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA bought PhysX cards creators AGEIA back in February, promising a free upgrade to existing GeForce 8 and above cards using their CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) interface down the line. Well we are now sufficiently down the line, as NVIDIA has released the first of many planned GeForce Power Packs (grab it here), which not only enables the technology but also gives you some nifty tools to explore it with.
Included in the first Power Pack is a complete version of Warmonger, one of the original showcases for the PhysX technology, an Unreal Tournament 3 PhysX Mod Pack with three maps, sneak peeks at Unreal Engine 3 powered social networking service Nurien, a couple of tech demos, and the drivers to make the whole thing go. Hit the jump for more info on this rather impressive update.
NVIDIA Makes Physics A Reality For Gamers
NVIDIA PhysX Technology and GeForce GPUs Usher in a New Era of Immersion for PC Games
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SANTA CLARA, CA-August 12, 2008-Gamers would agree that they would love to see the worlds in their favorite games be depicted as realistic as possible. For total immersion, the gaming environment has to "feel" as real as possible, and characters must be able to move and interact with the objects in the environment that have a compelling, dramatic impact on game play. With customized physics effects, developers can design trees that bend in the wind, water that ebbs and flows naturally, and include objects in the environment that dramatically impact the gaming experience. To deliver this level of interactivity, developers are rapidly taking advantage of NVIDIA® PhysX™ technology, interactive entertainment's most pervasive physics engine, already used in more than 140 shipping titles for Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii. With today's release of the GeForce Power Pack, a compilation of games, demos, and mod packs for the PC platform that is available for free at www.nvidia.com/theforcewithin, NVIDIA is now bringing this new depth of gameplay to PC gamers everywhere.
On the PC, PhysX technology harnesses the power of any CUDA-enabled general-purpose parallel computing processor, including any NVIDIA GeForce® 8 Series or higher GPU, to handle 10-20 times more visual complexity than what's possible on today's traditional PC platforms. All of the 80 million plus GeForce 8 Series and higher GPUs in the field are CUDA-enabled, the largest installed base of general-purpose, parallel-computing processors ever created.
And, unlike competitive solutions which do not offer hardware scaling capability, only PhysX technology can leverage the best of both CPU and GPU architectures to deliver the ultimate, immersive, end user experience. Upcoming PC titles that incorporate PhysX technology include Cryostasis, Backbreaker, Aliens: Colonial Marines, with close to 20 more PC titles expected before the year-end holiday seasons.
"Game physics is essential in enabling deeper interactivity and real-world effects in any game. Epic is pleased to offer PhysX as a standard feature within Unreal Engine 3 to enable such effects," said Mark Rein, Vice President of Epic Games. "The introduction of GPU acceleration for PhysX promises both additional potential effects and faster performance. You can get a glimpse of the possibilities of what PhysX is able to do with the special levels for Unreal Tournament 3 where damage effects greatly enhance the gameplay."
Starting today, any owner of a GeForce 8 Series or higher GPU can immediately discover the immersive playability that NVIDIA PhysX technology brings to PC gaming. This first of many planned "GeForce Power Packs" is a fascinating showcase of how PhysX technology is fundamentally changing video games and interactive entertainment.
Available for free from www.nvidia.com/theforcewithin, the PhysX-enabled content from this first GeForce Power Pack includes:
* Warmonger-Full free game! Destroy walls, floors, and whole buildings to open up new paths or close existing ones. Destructive power is more than eye candy here-it's a tactical weapon in this ground-breaking action game.
* Unreal Tournament 3 PhysX Mod Pack-includes three maps with amazing effects that fundamentally change the gameplay (requires full version of Unreal Tournament 3)
* A sneak peek at the upcoming Nurien social networking service, based on the Unreal Engine 3 (with built-in benchmark)
* A sneak peek at the upcoming game Metal Knight Zero (with built-in benchmark)
* All new NVIDIA "The Great Kulu" tech demo that showcases the use of PhysX soft bodies in a real game play environment
* All new NVIDIA "Fluid" tech demo-a simulation of realistic fluid effects with a variety of liquids
In conjunction with the release of the GeForce Power Pack, NVIDIA has also released new WHQL-certified drivers that enable PhysX acceleration for all GeForce 8, 9, and GTX 200 Series GPUs. This new driver also adds support for PhysX-accelerated features in the commercially available Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 game.
By installing these drivers, GeForce owners can immediately experience much higher levels of interactivity, special effects, and realism on their PC. In addition, GeForce owners will love being able to run PhysX-accelerated applications faster on their GeForce GPU than on competitive GPUs. For example, in the PhysX-enabled levels of Unreal Tournament 3, the GeForce 9800 GTX+ runs 180% faster than on the AMD Radeon HD 4850.
"The use of physics in games is highly effective in enabling new levels of interactivity and gameplay options. Gearbox is excited about these developments and we are rapidly finding new ways to use NVIDIA PhysX to improve the game's immersive feel and overall excitement factor," said Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox Software. "The addition of GPU acceleration allows us to add even more effects whilst maintaining great performance. Gearbox titles, including Borderlands and others, will feature increased use of PhysX and we look forward to developing more with the support of NVIDIA."
"Seeing really is believing and is the reason why we compiled all of this great PhysX content into a free download for our end users," said Ujesh Desai, general manager for GeForce GPUs at NVIDIA. "We want GeForce owners to experience for themselves these amazing effects to get an idea how PhysX will make games much more lifelike in the years to come. Physics-accelerated content is already here, and there are a ton more titles on the way. We can't wait for our customers to jump in, get wet, and tell us what they think!"