My enemy’s enemy is my friend
AMD has announced that it and Intel owned physics specialist Havok are to work together to optimise physics effects on all AMD products.
While the immediate significance of this is small as physics has yet to capture the public imagination and thus is not currently a priority for game developers, the symbolism of AMD siding with an Intel owned company in favour of the only other physics option – NVIDIA owned AGEIA – cannot be overlooked.
If you doubt that this is an NVIDIA snub by AMD, consider some of the quotes included in the press release:
“By working with the clear market leader in physics software, AMD can optimize our platforms to consistently deliver the best possible visual experience to the gamer.” Rick Bergman, senior VP and GM of AMD’s Graphics Products Group.
“The feedback that we consistently receive from leading game developers is that core game play simulation should be performed on CPU cores. The clear priority of game developers is performance and scalability on the CPU. Beyond core simulation, however, the capabilities of massively parallel products offer technical possibilities for computing certain types of simulation. We look forward to working with AMD to explore these possibilities.” David O’Meara, MD of Havok.
Intel and NVIDIA have been having a public tiff over the relative importance of CPUs and GPUs, with the vested interests clear for all to see. AMD does both and has presumably been happy to see its two big rivals tearing chunks out of each other.
However, when it came to physics it had to side with one of them or make its own solution, something it frankly doesn’t have the resources to do. So it decided to go with the one with a market cap of $125 billion over the one with $12 billion.
Aside from that, AMD stated that it agrees that the CPU is the place to process physics, while it must be assumed that NVIDIA thinks the contrary. However, as you would expect, AMD stressed that it is: “striving to deliver the best of both worlds, with highly capable CPU and GPU technology that partners like Havok can use as their canvas to deliver the best experience possible.”
Press release: AMD and Havok to Optimize Physics for Gaming