Nvidia PhysX 5.0
Nvidia has announced that "PhysX 5.0 is just around the corner." To get developers ready, it will be making the SDK available shortly and outlined some of the attractive new features of the GPU accelerated physics library. One of the major introductions in PhysX 5.0 will be its support for a unified constrained particle simulation framework.
Three key features are delivered in Nvidia PhysX 5.0 and Nvidia summarises them in the bullet points below:
- The Finite Element Model (FEM): an industry-standard simulation technique for deformable bodies. It is used extensively in the automotive and manufacturing industries to accurately simulate the structural strength of both rigid and soft assemblies.
- Liquid simulations: Developers will be able to use discrete particle simulations to model granular flow. The implementation is scalable; robust-to-large time-steps can be used to stably simulate a wide range of liquids.
- Arbitrary meshes: These can be simulated as cloth or rope using PhysX 5.0’s constrained particle model. These meshes can be coupled with volume preservation constraints with application-defined pressures to simulate inflatable shapes. The mesh-based simulations also provide a model to simulate aerodynamic drag and lift. The constraint model supports springs so it can be used to create mass-spring systems.
Nvidia has faced criticism for its PhysX GPU physics acceleration libraries over the years for its proprietary hardware support. I remember trying various hacks to see what the original Borderlands game ran like with PhysX enabled, while using an AMD GPU. Fast forward to 2019 and with the new Borderlands GOTY Enhanced remaster all the physics particle and cloth waving effects were enhanced and available with better textures on GPUs from any vendor.
AMD FEMFX multithreaded CPU library
AMD is now seeking to open up physicals acceleration with the FEMFX library for deformable physics effects. FEMFX is a multithreaded CPU library using the Finite Element Method (FEM) which supports a wide range of materials and interactions between materials. It is thought that AMD favoured CPU acceleration for physics as its Ryzen processors are pushing forward with many cores/threads going mainstream.
FEMFX makes it easy to deliver realistic looking wood, metal, plastic, glass with deformation effects such as breaking, bending, denting and melting. The FEMFX library and sample code are available now, and there is an Unreal Engine plugin available too. A video showing the various effects available in action was shared this summer at the Unreal Fest 2019 and is embedded below.