Physics Processor - AGEIA (Cool Demo)

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

  1. KimB

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    And what I'm suggesting is that there's nothing preventing a physics engine like Havoc from also being made multi-threaded. I know that currently Epic is working on making UE3 as multi-processor friendly as possible.

    See, the problem with making use of a physics API before the hardware is available is that it probably won't be as optimized as a full-blown physics engine that is designed to run in software. And once multicore CPU's are available, you can bet that every physics engine worth its salt will be designed to make use of them.

    After all, though it isn't a 100% applicable analogy, have you ever seen a game run its software rendering code as a software implementation of Direct3D or OpenGL? There's a good reason for that.
     
  2. Unknown Soldier

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    Since MS has bought rights to use Novodex's PPU in the X-Box2 (so i've been reading), isn't it possible that MS might add support for the PPU in it's next release of DirectX namely WGF 1.0 and 2.0?

    US
     
  3. rwolf

    rwolf Rock Star
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    That is a lame arguement.

    1. Havok is not multi-threaded and would have to be re-written. Novodex is available for developers now.
    2. How on earth do you come to the conclusion that a software api isn't going to be optimized because the hardware may not be available? Ever think they may use alternate code paths?
    3. Software renderers are slow because a GPU has multiple parallel processing units and dedicated hardware for processing triangles, matrix math calculations, memory bandwidth, pixel color blending and all other things a gpu does. The PPU for example has dedicated hardware designed to blast through the types of calculations that the CPU is slow at.

    Chalnoth takes a moment to reflect ....
    [​IMG]

    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2377
     
  4. Jawed

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    Now THAT's real news. I hope it's true.

    Jawed
     
  5. rwolf

    rwolf Rock Star
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    Double post.
     
  6. rwolf

    rwolf Rock Star
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    Don't know if anyone posted this yet....


    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2376

    Chalnoth perhaps this is the answer you are looking for as to why we need physics hardware and why the CPU won't satisfy our needs for the long term.
     
  7. Unknown Soldier

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    Hmm .. ok semms I was a bit off. MS Hasn't bought rights but NovodeX's PPU is planned to support the X-Box2.

    --------------------------------------

    AGEIA NovodeX Physics SDK to Support Next Generation Xbox Platform

    Multithreaded NovodeX Physics SDK enables game developers to exploit powerful multicore architecture of next generation Xbox platform

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - March 9, 2005 - AGEIATM Technologies, Inc., a company dedicated to delivering pervasive interactive reality to next generation games, announced today that its NovodeXTM Physics SDK will enable unmatched performance for game developers targeting the next generation Xbox® platform. As a result, users of the Xbox video game system from Microsoft will be able to enjoy some of the most exciting, lifelike game experiences available on any platform.

    As the games industry's first multithreaded physics SDK, NovodeX is uniquely equipped to exploit the multicore architecture of the Xbox, allowing game developers to deliver incredibly lifelike worlds and characters for Xbox users.

    "AGEIA's NovodeX Physics SDK is a powerful middleware engine for game developers who want to make the most of the multicore architecture of the next generation Xbox platform," said Tracey Frankcom, program manager, Xbox Tools and Middleware. "The real-time physics capabilities of NovodeX, combined with the high-definition graphics and audio of the Xbox, enable the creation of totally immersive environments and unbelievably lifelike character interactions."

    "The next generation Xbox platform is the first available game console system to unleash the multithreading capabilities of the NovodeX SDK," said Manju Hegde, CEO and co-founder of AGEIA. "Today marks the beginning of a new era of hardware-accelerated physics for developers and users alike, in which pervasive interactive realism enters the world of gaming."

    About AGEIA
    AGEIATM Technologies, Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company dedicated to delivering pervasive interactive reality to next-generation games. Its flagship product, the PhysXTM chip, is the world's first dedicated Physics Processing Unit (PPU) - a completely new hardware category that bridges the gap between static virtual worlds and responsive physical reality. The PhysX chip allows developers to use active physics-based environments for a more life-like entertainment experience. For more information about AGEIA visit www.ageia.com.

    About Xbox
    Xbox ( http://www.xbox.com ) is the video game system from Microsoft that brings people together for the most exhilarating game and entertainment experiences. Xbox delivers an expansive collection of breakthrough games, powerful hardware and the unified Xbox Live online service. The new tagline, "it's good to play together," captures the spirit of Xbox as the social hub of the new digital entertainment lifestyle. Xbox is now available in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

    Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
     
  8. Unknown Soldier

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    Meqon Gears Up For Next Generation Xbox Platform

    Game Developer Conference, San Francisco, CA. March 9th. Meqon Research AB, creators of advanced physics middleware systems for the videogames market, is gearing up for the future, with new funding, new staff and a new license to develop their Meqon Game Dynamics system for the next generation Xbox® platform.

    The company today announced it has completed a new round of funding, which has been raised specifically to allow Meqon to develop its game dynamics system for future videogames consoles.

    The company has also strengthened its management team, with the appointment of a new Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Thomas Ahlström is a veteran of the videogames industry, with over 10 years experience in game design, production and management.

    Meqon is already hard at work creating a new version of Meqon Game Dynamics for the next generation Xbox platform. The company has been awarded a license to create a dedicated version of the system to allow game developers creating new titles, to incorporate the most advanced game dynamics possible, including complete support for character physics, vehicle handling, fluid dynamics and full object interaction.

    Meqon has already signed a number of high profile companies, including 3D Realms, creators of the much anticipated Duke Nukem Forever title. The company will also be announcing a number of new clients in the very near future.

    Jonas Lindqvist, the Chief Executive Officer of Meqon, said, "We are delighted to be announcing a number of very significant new steps for our company at GDC 2005. The videogames industry is at a very exciting point. Games are reaching more people than ever before and the audience is becoming increasingly demanding in its expectations. The next generation of games consoles promises to blur the boundaries between gaming and movies. However to create truly interactive environments which act and 'feel' right, promises to be a major challenge. Meqon intends to be at the forefront of the new generation helping game developers create new experiences within games which act, feel and play better than ever before."

    Tracey Frankcom, Program Manager, Xbox Tools & Middleware, agrees, "As the power of games hardware increases, the complexity of games must keep pace. Providing developers with tools that take advantage of the multi-core architecture of the next-generation Xbox platform to facilitate the creation of ever more sophisticated environments and interactions will breathe life into the high-definition gaming experience. This will be crucial to the next generation of games titles. We are pleased to have Meqon's Game Dynamics software in development for the next generation Xbox platform."

    ENDS

    About Meqon
    Meqon was founded in 2002 and has its headquarters in Norrköping, Sweden. The company develops physics middleware for the computer game industry and has in its short existence enhanced both games and industrial products with its simulation products. More information available at http://www.meqon.com

    About Xbox®
    Xbox® (http://www.xbox.com) is the video game system from Microsoft that brings people together for the most exhilarating game and entertainment experiences. Xbox delivers an expansive collection of breakthrough games, powerful hardware and the unified Xbox Live online service. The new tagline, "it's good to play together," captures the spirit of Xbox as the social hub of the new digital entertainment lifestyle. Xbox is now available in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

    Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
     
  9. scificube

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    I guess I didn't cover enough bases in my earlier post to satisfy everyone.

    Sorry about that. I've never claimed to be sharpest knife in the kitchen. :lol:

    I'll try to fill in some of the gaps I've left open.

    a. physic interactions on the CPU do not compare with what a dedicated part can do to the task. The obvious example is the GPU.

    b. Right now there is a single API that will allow you to use a PPU. Although not exactly the same it bears some resemblance to "GLIDE" in essence when 3Dfx shook up things in the graphics world back when. It's not so scary for the moment and I tried to allude to others coming in and making a bid as well. I would imagine the minds behind Havok, Maqon etc. woud not sit idlly by and get out gunned by the Novodex crew. It is also a logical asumption that they will support multi-core regardless of Novodex because they would do so for mult-cores from Intel, AMD, IBM, Transmeta...whoever in spite of. I also suggested that at some point standardization would enter into the picture as is only logical for the benefit of devs and unlike the sound card market where Creative's EAX is all that is used because Creative owns most all the market...I think others will join the fray and compete with Aegia. (is that a sentence?)

    Whoops Gotta Go!

    Here is a link to a the Novodex Beta:

    edit: clearly the fist page of this thread slipped my mind...but no harm's done right?

    Building Exlode and Big Bang will make it quite clear CPUs are not up to the task for this level of physics interaction.

    http://www.ageia.com/novodex_downloads.html#

    Now simply exchange boxes for fluid dynamics etc for the interim period and put the boxes back into play when PPUs are standard parts.

    Sorry gotta go now. I'll be back to see if I've fumbled or not.
     
  10. stepz

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    Just a wild idea, but what if the middleware is ported to Cell too. So games could use Cell SPU's for physics and could be with reasonable effort be ported to PC's, leveraging the AEGEIA PPU to get comparable performance.

    Otherwise games that make good use of Cell SPU's can't be ported to PC's. There just isn't that kind of number crunching power available on the PC.
     
  11. KimB

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    Updated. Not rewritten, updated.

    Not because it isn't available, but because it's designed for hardware acceleration, not a software implementation.

    My argument didn't concern software renderers vs. hardware renderers, but rather why no game (that I know of) has ever made use of a hardware 3D rendering API for its software rendering mode.
     
  12. KimB

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    Except by the time the PS3 is out, we'll have multi-core CPU's. Not only that, but the PS3 will do all of its vertex processing on the CPU, and thus PC's will be able to offload most of the PS3 CPU's calculations to the GPU already. So no, I don't think the PC will be at a huge disadvantage to the PS3, even at release.
     
  13. scificube

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    The Cell being a physics monster is interesting I guess should clarify it whether it will be as compared to a PPU or even mult-cores.

    From the point of view that the Cell or the Xbox 360 simply outperforms PC mult-core CPUs then it would put pressure on the PC sector to respond.

    As far as porting Cell code to PCs...I don't think this would be the case.

    As I understand Cell requires one to go down and mess with the HW directly allot where as on the PC abstraction from HW is pretty much the name of the game. Unless I am mistaken it in order a code re-write or at least some significant re-translation would be necessary in any case.

    This is assuming Sony or whoever does not introduce some abstraction layer.
     
  14. KimB

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    Yeah, I was just reading this article over at Anandtech about the Cell processor. This really is the direction that I've said in the past that all processors will need to go for eventually. But, yeah, this processor really is too specialized for anything to be ported close to directly. That said, there's little reason to believe that ports can't be made. After all, a large part of porting a program from the Cell architecture would be removing instructions (related to moving data in and out of each SPU's local memory), and moving other instructions from the CPU to the GPU.

    Anyway, similar to the PS2, I really expect it to be a while before developers really get the hang of making full use of the Cell architecture. But, since all processor cores are going to be taking a route similar to Cell (few powerful single-threaded cores coupled with many simple cores), everybody else is also going to have challenges moving forward, too. What we really need, then, is a revolution in programming languages that really makes it much easier for programmers to handle multithreaded applications.
     
  15. scificube

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    Where'd you hear all that? I thought this was still in the realm of conjecture.

    I understand the rendering deal if this is true but how would this be true of physics interactions. If the PS3's Cell is rendering most of the time how would it still be able to handle the level of physics interactions a PPU could simultaneously?

    Intel has already showcased a dual-core running the physics alone in a separate thread on a separate core using the Unreal3.0 engine. The number of objects on-screen wasn't particularly all the impressive and they spoke plainly about having to tone stuff down. You could also look at it like this. A single core CPU can handle 40 to 100 interactable physical objects given the types of interactions you elect they should have. So at best Intel had 100 objects fully interactable on screen. If both cores were put to task 200 3 etc with a linear growth relation to ability to perform physics interactions barring multi-cores do not forgo being general-purpose processors.

    A PPU is noted to be able to handle 30,000 to 50,000 fully interact able objects. It is apparent even multi-core CPUs are and will be at a disadvantage for any reasonable amount of time or given some logical restrictions about the number of cores you could ever put on one chip and sell mass market.

    In this respect it's probably even the Cell chip is at a significant disadvantage given what we think we know.

    Correction what I think I know :D
     
  16. scificube

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    I would certainly agree that it's going to be a significant challenge to thinking with respect to programming with the Cell and if Cell is the model for how mult-cores will go in the future. For that matter mult-threading period is a going to be a challenge.

    I suppose you could put more "simpler" cores on a chip then more robust ones but then you may affect the nature of CPUs being genral-purpose parts adversely. It remains to be seen if the need for more raw processing power would be worth the sacrifice.

    I also didn't mean to imply PS3 ports would be impossible. I meant to imply it's not going to be a simply task thus not an everyday occurrence with respect to PS3 ports.

    ...but I'm just shootin in the dark.
     
  17. scificube

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  18. Joe DeFuria

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    Tim Sweeney has been evangelizing the very same sentiment.
     
  19. Geo

    Geo Mostly Harmless
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    Is this a conceptual breakthrough required (y'know, UI, organization, etc) or a grunt-work breakthrough, or both?
     
  20. Joe DeFuria

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    Both, I'd say.

    Kinda like going from standard procedural code / manner of thinking to object oriented.
     
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