Physics Processor - AGEIA (Cool Demo)

Discussion in 'GPGPU Technology & Programming' started by rwolf, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. colinisation

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    Vertex Shaders

    I know im in late but bear with me.
    Was it not one of the purposes of vertex shaders to be able to off load some of the physics calculations from the CPU to the GPU ?
    or is all the excitement about this new PPU down to the fact that it significantly faster than the vertex units found on modern day GPUs ?
     
  2. Geo

    Geo Mostly Harmless
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    I agree with Chalnoth. There. I said it.

    I'll go one step further and predict it ends up in the GPU, that it gets incorporated into DXxx, and that one of the big boys buys up these guys or their assets a little down the road.
     
  3. Geo

    Geo Mostly Harmless
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    Uhhh, anyone notice way back there on page 2 or 3 that NV's official spokesman cleared their throat about "legal issues"?? Wuzzup wit dat? That sounds ominously like lawyer-boy thinking he's sitting on patents to clobber the upstarts with once it gets financially worthwhile to do the clobbering. . .
     
  4. KimB

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  5. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    I agree, it actually sounded like a fairly tepid reply from nVidia...I don't think they see this thing as catching on or being a threat right now.
     
  6. Geo

    Geo Mostly Harmless
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    That's the one. Mebbee it was generic. Seemed an odd thing to toss out there to me. I still think he had IP issues in mind in more than a "like everybody" sense, whether or not it was NV's portfolio he specifically was thinking about as the hurdle.

    Here's a wild shot in the dark (hey, at least I label mine as such! :) ) --Sage? Mebbee in the way it is a discrete chip communicating with the gpu?
     
  7. Geo

    Geo Mostly Harmless
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    [Note to self: Mention "Sage" and thread dies as natives flee in terror.]
     
  8. rwolf

    rwolf Rock Star
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    Imagine if all the characters have hair that flows in the wind or when you take out the chain gun you can blow holes in the wall. Imagine buildings that fall down when you blow up a weak support. Think about shooting a rocket launcher at a mountain and having boulders rain down on your opponents.

    You are thinking in the context of todays games not what could be.
     
  9. KimB

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    And how would these games play on games without the physics processor? Surely you can't believe that there would be any games built around such a low-volume piece of hardware.

    See, even assuming that this hardware could allow dramatically better physics interaction than we're going to get anyway in the next couple of years, it'd just take too much developer work to make something truly amazing for it to ever happen before these products reach market saturation.
     
  10. BlackAngus

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    Well really as long as the physics are not involved directly in game play, and they are just used to enhance emersion it could be done.

    I would like to see more life like hair, trees with leaves that all move in the wind, real dust storms not texture walls. All of those could use lots of physics power, and (hopefully) should not be too hard for devs to work with in accelerated vs non accelerated physics modes. I dont know for sure it how difficult it would be, but it does seem to me that if you keep accelerated physics doing emersion tasks, those could be written for in 2 modes rather easily, or at least far more so than if you intertwined game play and accel physics.
    Just a thought.

    Edited for clarity
     
  11. KimB

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    All of these dynamic objects will require a significant amount of work to make look right when done fully-dynamically. Anything that requires a lot of work just won't be done, or, at least, won't be done right when done for a small market.
     
  12. rwolf

    rwolf Rock Star
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    Same way they do things now. You can turn on/off shadows in some games can't you. What is the difference? Turn off hair and get polygon texture head.
     
  13. scificube

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    How about this scenario:

    Given:

    a. Devs can scale physics
    b. Dual-Core processors are due this year and mult-core is the future
    c. Unreal Engine3.0 supports multi-core CPUs
    d. The Novodex Physics engine supports multi-core CPUs and can be accelerated by the PhysX chip

    Assumptions:

    a. The Unreal3.0 engine will not be alone in supporting multi-cores
    b. Other physics middleware will not be alone in supporting multi-cores

    Puzzle piece 1: Dual and multi-cores provide a good fall back to "software" handled physics interactions.

    Puzzle piece 2: Puzzle piece 1 is true as long as devs ensure PPU accelerated physics interactions related to game play always have fallbacks that can be handled in software mode.

    Puzzle piece 3: Puzzle piece 2 remains true until such a time that PPUs are commonplace as integrated mobo parts, into GPU solutions or part of CPU architectures probably starting from most to least likely. At such a time physics interactions no longer need a fall back and thus hardware-accelerated physics can enter into game play.

    Puzzle piece 4: In the interim PPUs are used to accelerate non-game play interactions such as fluid dynamics simulating water, cloth on players and NPCs, fragment and particles during explosions, etc. and anything that would normally be handled in software by the CPU in the absence of a PPU to further remove the load the CPU has.

    Note: It may not be necessary to wait for or depend on multi-core CPUs as a single core solution may be up to the task at least for a little while. Multi-core seemed more logical given Intel's recent demonstration of physics using the Unreal3.0 Engine on a dual-core processor and their relatively soon arrival to market as well as AMDs offering and IBM as well if they so chose.

    I think this scenario is plausible. Support for the PPU would sort of be inherent if you take advantage of multi-cores like Intel displayed with RoboWars...it would not be a difficult task to have the engine put the PPU to the task in place of the CPU given I think this is precisely the case with the already existing Novodex engine.

    Devs therefore need not labor hard or perhaps at all to support and take advantage of a PPU. In this sense the PPU could actually be looked at as a widely supported part in spite of.

    The PPU would have the support it needs and then the only factor would be user adoption. If accepted then others would perhaps join the fray in particular ATI and Nvidia as to wedge out another contender to the add-in market. At this point some level of standardization would have already been or will be coming to a head. Most likely MS but an Open group isn't so out there either.

    I think the PPU could have a future if events go something like this and devs act accordingly to what I would think is common sense.

    I apologize for being so verbose :D
     
  14. Joe DeFuria

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    No apologies needed...and your post sums up my feelings almost exactly to boot! :)
     
  15. KimB

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    You're not understanding what I'm trying to say. What I'm trying to say is that it's too much work to get these things to look good for game developers to bother for such a miniscule market.
     
  16. KimB

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    Problem here:
    You don't need an API like Novodex to make use of multi-core CPU's. These will, in fact, reduce the need for any physics processor.
     
  17. nelg

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    The benefit is that it does not preclude you from utilizing additional CPUs it just provides an API that will do the best with what hardware is available, including a dedicated physics chip.
     
  18. KimB

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    But what does that buy you that a physics engine like Havok does not?
     
  19. rwolf

    rwolf Rock Star
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    True enough. Considering the cost of game development that is a big risk for developers. But if you get several kick butt titles that make it worth while it could be quite successful.
     
  20. rwolf

    rwolf Rock Star
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    I don't know anything about Havok, but Novodex will scale across processors because it is multi-threaded. So it should technically run fast on HT, multi-processor, or dual core boxes. You can buy the hardware for it and it might just scale across that and the CPUS.

    Can Havok do that? I don't know. Novodex is saying they are the ONLY threaded API out there. I would say that is a big feature.
     
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