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Nvidia launches GameWorks 3.1 at GDC 2016

by Mark Tyson on 15 March 2016, 10:01

Tags: NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

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Nvidia has kicked off its GDC 2016 newsflow with the launch of the GameWorks SDK 3.1. This updated development kit is now available. Highlights in GameWorks 3.1 are three new "groundbreaking graphics techniques" for shadows and lighting, and there are two new physical simulation algorithms released as beta extensions to the PhysX library.

Introducing the new SDK Nvidia's Tony Tamasi said that the development was spurred by Nvidia's "passion for gaming," and the desire to tackle technical problems in real-time rendering and simulation. "Our GameWorks technologies push the boundaries of what's possible in real time, enabling developers to ship their games with state of the art special effects and simulations," claimed Tamasi.

Nvidia GameWorks 3.1 offers three new rendering techniques; Nvidia Volumetric Lighting, Nvidia Hybrid Frustum Traced Shadows (HTFS) and Nvidia Voxel Accelerated Ambient Occlusion (VXAO).

Nvidia Volumetric Lighting debuted in Fallout 4 and it simulates how light behaves as it scatters through the air and atmosphere. HTFS, as seen in The Division, is an algorithm for drawing high-fidelity shadows that transition smoothly from hard shadows near the occluding object, to proper soft shadows in regions farther away. Rise of the Tomb Raider was the debut game for VXAO, the "highest quality algorithm" for real-time ambient occlusion, adding greater depth and realism to scenes.

New beta extensions for Nvidia PhysX include PhysX-GRB and Nvidia Flow. The first new extension, PhysX-GRB, could replace Nvidia's popular PhysX rigid body dynamics SDK but bring a performance uplift of up to 6X in moderate to heavy simulation loads. Nvidia Flow is a completely new way to simulate and render combustible fluids such as fire and smoke – not limited to a bounding box.

GameWorks developers can grab the new SDK right away from GitHub. Read more at developer.nvidia.com.

Coming up later this week Nvidia will be talking about and demonstrating VR projects (including VRWorks), and making some "exciting announcements" related to the Nvidia SHIELD devices. However Nvidia will probably reserve its juiciest news for GTC 2016 which kicks off on 4th April.



HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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Arbitrarily vendor locked techniques are bad for gamers, not something someone who is passionate for gaming would be developing.
kalniel
Arbitrarily vendor locked techniques are bad for gamers, not something someone who is passionate for gaming would be developing.
Game developers seem to disagree with you, and continue to use Gameworks. Likely because having code that is pre-optimised and can just be dropped in saves a lot of development time that would be wasted re-inventing the wheel.

This will be more important down the road with DX12 and Vulkan: low-level APIs move all the optimisation work from the driver developer to the game developer. Pre-optimised code will be even more welcome there.
edzieba
Game developers seem to disagree with you, and continue to use Gameworks. Likely because having code that is pre-optimised and can just be dropped in saves a lot of development time that would be wasted re-inventing the wheel.

This will be more important down the road with DX12 and Vulkan: low-level APIs move all the optimisation work from the driver developer to the game developer. Pre-optimised code will be even more welcome there.
Gameworks when used in a non-propriatary way works as you describe, but if you're using it to add vendor-locked features then you're not reinventing the wheel because you still need to do the work for the other vendors. Better to provide open help and techniques that benefit all.
A homogenised system is far better than a locked down hidden system.

The other issue is when a developer has a bug or issue that's in a proprietary/locked down feature, the lead time to resolution will be longer because they have to go through NVidia which reduces player experience
Great. More gameworks games for me to ignore.