EA, Take-Two lift Nvidia physics to next level

The largest graphics chip supplier is announcing on Monday that Electronic Arts and Take-Two have licensed its PhysX technology as a development platform.

"PhysX is a great physics solution for the most popular platforms, and we're happy to make it available for EA's development teams worldwide," said Tim Wilson, Chief Technology Officer of EA's Redwood Shores Studio in a statement.

"We are very impressed with the quality of the PhysX engine and we licensed it so our studios can use this solution early in development," said Jacob Hawley, technology director for 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, also in a statement.

Nvidia got its physics technology--which is trademarked as PhysX--when it acquired Ageia in February. PhysX runs on the graphics processing unit, or GPU. Intel and AMD, on the other hand, have been promoting technology that is executed on the central processing unit or CPU. Intel's approach uses technology from Havok, a developer of a physics engine, that Intel bought in September of 2007.

Based on the laws of physics, the goal of Nvidia's technology is to make game objects respond in a realistic way to physical events. More conventional technology uses a canned response, in which the same response is repeated over and over. For example, a window breaks or a person falls the same way every time. In a PhysX-enabled football sports game, however, the angle and velocity of the impact is calculated by the GPU to generate a real-time response that is different every time.

The technology was meant to run on the GPU, according to Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, a firm that tracks developments in the graphics chip industry. "It's a GPU thing and the fact that EA and Take Two are coming out (with support) gives you a clue why," said Peddie. "This really is a significant event. Going forward and enabling the GPU to do physics," he said.

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