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Ageia PhysX - it really works!

by Nick Haywood on 29 August 2007, 14:38

Tags: Ageia Phys-X, AGEIA, Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), PC

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Games Convention 2007 This is a small, tight map with a fair few buildings dotted around a central comms tower. But the focal point is the bloody great tornado spinning around the map pulling everything up into the sky. Here you can see that not only do objects have weight and momentum but there even appears to be some form of drag too with large, light object whipping about whilst smaller, heavier ones move more sluggishly...

So I spent some time blasting away with a rocket launcher, first marvelling at how the corrugated iron roofing deformed from a rocket blast. Glass was mightily impressive too with a window shattering outwards in a nice cascade when shot with a bullet but spraying out in a huge shower when shattered by a nearby rocket explosion.

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Even more impressive was blasting chunks off a concrete slab to watch how they roll away, though seeing them ‘melt’ into the floor when they stopped moving was a tad disappointing. I guess that there’s a finite amount you can have on the screen as physically interactive objects at once and though having moving rubble would be cool, if everyone went around blasting like crazy the game would grind to a halt trying to render hundreds of thousands of objects at once... so it’s fair enough.

But back to the game where I was in a spot of bother. I’d just decided to take a bot on giving him the good news with my rocket launcher when the tornado came by. Not a problem, I was under a platform and though I took a bit of damage from the tornado itself, I wasn’t sucked up like a sailor on shore after six months at sea.

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But what I didn’t reckon on was the stuff whirling around the tornado, carried along by the wind... because this started hitting the tower above me and, seeing as it couldn’t be carried along by the tornado anymore, started to drop all around me. Ever seen Twister where Bill Hicks and Helen Hunt drive along avoiding falling tractors and combine harvesters? Well that was me, dodging like a politician after a badger as debris rained down all around me... getting clattered by a bloody great container is no fun... though I did pull off the jammiest kill ever with a rocket shot that got sucked into the tornado, looped back towards me and whizzed by overhead to take out a bot coming down the ramp over my shoulder... nice!

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Check back soon for more on Ageia PhysX as we’ll be taking a closer look soon.