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datiswous

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in some reagards dlss is pretty cool but having specialized hardware also comes with the downside that the opposition might come up with a better way of mainstreaming stuff like that which does not need specialized hardware support, just remember the physx debacle ugh... i still have one of the old ageia cards somewhere in my hardware heap 🤣.

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btw funny thing about the ageia card is that even though nvidia allegedly removed the code for supporting them it can still be reenabled pretty easily, so if you have an AMD or radeon card you can actually have hardware physx. But there is a snag... the ageia cards were pcie 1 or standard pci speed and not exceptionally fast even then, they also had little ram so games using heavy physx effects would run slow as hell because of having to swap the memory all the time. luckily only a few AAA titles used physx to that degree and havok made physx into a travesty by delivering allmost the same performance without having to use specialized hardware.

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Havok never did such a thing, I know because I was a owner of a Ageia card and Havok demos or games, were never able to reach the same level of physics Ageia PhysX demos displayed. I know Ageia is now a joke and people have forgotten most of it but I experienced it first hand and let me tell you, to this day, there's not a single, Havok or Nvidia PhysX, game or demo, that to me, does what some of the old Ageia demos did, at lest not all of it, again I saw it with my own eyes and played them on my PC.
 

Warning massive wall of text:

Spoiler

There were 3 demos that to me, showcased how impressive the PPU accelerated physics really were even back then. Unfortunately most videos I will show are old and low rez for today. 

One was the Ageia Island for the game GRAW 2, looking at the video really doesn't paint the full picture, you add to experience it, one thing people loved to do was compare Crysis 1 trees, to this Ageia Demo, saying "they are the same!" all because you could shoot and cut trees in Crysis also, but there was a very obvious diference for those playing the demo with a PPU, the underlying physics running behind the curtain, were way more complex in that GRAW 2 demo, I could compare both games side by side and yes the Crysis Trees were impressive but the physics were way simpler, the trees in Ageia Island add smoother cloth physics for each individual leaf, Crysis add a simple ragdool system like the mattress in HL2, I still remember well today, when you cut a Ageia demo tree, it falls down with a real sense of weight to it, it strike the ground, crush's the cloth based lefts and has a spring effect to it, like a real tree would, in other words the Ageia trees trunks were soft and malleable, when the wind changed direction and or became stronger, they were shot or stroke by the blast of a big explosions near them they bended like soft body physics. In the other hand the Crysis trees, when cut sometimes never reach the floor because the leaf's stop it mid air, they fall with the sense of weight, of cardboard and the tree trunks are rigid. I can't really explain in words, you add to experience it to see it.

But in the end people didn't cared if the Ageia physics were more complex behind the curtain, visually most didn't saw the diference, most also didn't understood physics engines, they only cared if they were extremely revolutionary visually and out of this world and Ageia demos were not, not to the eyes of the average consumer, not enough for most people to spend the money of a GPU, on a new totally unproven Ageia PPU. I add money to spare back then and I knew more then most about physics and always wanted to try new stuff, so I bought it, but we were very few to keep the company alive.

Another demo was Cell Factor , not all effects in the game are showcased there for some reason, lacks the impressive destructible cloth and liquid effects, could be a video of a earlier version of the demo.

The last "demo" was the multiplayer game warmonger  this one also add impressive PhysX effects, full destructible cloth and buildings, but because was trying to be a real game, not only a Ageia demo the dev's tried to keep the physic stuff to the bare minimum to please Agaia, in the end it failed has a game and as a PhysX showcase. Specially when a very popular AAA game, also add destructible buildings, Battlefield, even thou was not the same thing, Battlefield used clever tricks, like particle effects and baked physics, it was visually impressive enough, to totally kill the wow effect of this Ageia sponsored game. 

In the end Ageia lost because even thou the physics engine was good, it was just not able to show it in a way to push people to buy a extra expensive peace of hardware. Nvidia bought it, killed the PPU, claimed to slap it in each Nvidia GPU, that to this day, I don't believe is true, why ? Because I have not seen a single Nvidia PhysX game able to do everything that this three Ageia demos did, all those years ago, on a way less complex and slower PPU. 

edit: Revelator I see that you were also a owner of a Ageia PPU, that makes your comment even more strange to me, what Havok demo/game did you played that made you get that impression?

Edited by HMart
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There's no need for accelerated physics cards. Look at warframe, they were using physX for the particles and stuff if you turned it all the way up, but instead switched to generic GPU physics. Not only does this allow it to run on any GPU that supports it, it also runs better than it did before.

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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oh boy can o worms... 😅 quite a few and i agree at the time the graww demo was impressive, my point being that over time the competition will find ways to overcome the shortcommings of having to use dedicated hardware in this case it turned out that upcomming CPU's were more than adequate for the same task, it is actually a little misleading calling it software based when you take this into account :) and havoc did a pretty good job considering this was quite some time ago. The physx code is opensourced now so a developer could actually make a bridge between say OpenCL and physx and have AMD cards with hardware accellerated physx but i have yet to see any attempts at that.

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15 hours ago, AluminumHaste said:

There's no need for accelerated physics cards. Look at warframe, they were using physX for the particles and stuff if you turned it all the way up, but instead switched to generic GPU physics. Not only does this allow it to run on any GPU that supports it, it also runs better than it did before.

I don't think we need a extra PPU card not today, I'm just saying that Ageia failed, not because their competitors could do the exact same or better, without a accelerator but because they just couldn't show, or didn't knew how, the true promise of the PPU to the public, in visual terms, not in a way that non tech savy people could see it.

And when some of its effects, could be made "good enough" with less physics complexity, and or faked like for example Valve did in HL2 with the baked "cinematic" physics, it add no chance.  

 

Spoiler

Btw the PPU was more than a simple particle physics accelerator, it was capable of being a full substitute for the CPU for physics, (like a sound card was for sound back on its day), it could also do gameplay interactive, meaning objects that affected the player and AI directly, like collision detection and rigid body physics that effected the AI navigation, not only extra visual stuff like soft body physics, cloth and hydrodynamics using a kind off simplified PIC/FLIP method, unfortunately this was what Ageia bet on the most, because was more visually cool for players, totally falling into the, GPU can do, realm and defeating their own hardware.

Nvidia GPU's can do most of it but gameplay affecting rigid body stuff, is still CPU side, Nvidia PhysX is 100% visual flair (like 90% of the Ageia stuff was to be fair).

 

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oh boy can o worms... 😅 

hahah Indeed 😆

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... i agree at the time the graww demo was impressive, my point being that over time the competition will find ways to overcome the shortcommings of having to use dedicated hardware in this case it turned out that upcomming CPU's were more than adequate for the same task.

Not trying to start a debate over this stuff but CPU's even modern ones, IMO aren't still capable of what even the old PPU could do, at lest I haven't seen a game with CPU only physics doing that, you are free to show me wrong thou.

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it is actually a little misleading calling it software based when you take this into account :) 

 Agree Is like saying software rendering, everything done on the CPU is said as being done in "software" but at the end of the day, is a peace of hardware doing the calculations. :) 

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and havoc did a pretty good job considering this was quite some time ago.

We agree we disagree on this? ;) 😁  Plus Havok is as dead as Ageia PPU today, Nvidia PhysX pretty much dominates the physics engine market.

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The physx code is opensourced now so a developer could actually make a bridge between say OpenCL and physx and have AMD cards with hardware accellerated physx but i have yet to see any attempts at that.

I certainly can't argue with that, totally agree.  Btw Bullet physics engine made by a old Physx engineer (if I'm not mistaken) did support OpenCL acceleration on AMD and the company did showcased it but like almost AMD stuff, it didn't add any use, in gaming at lest. 

 

Btw guys sorry for the huge replies but is hard to say everything I wanted to say about this subject in a few words. :) 

Edited by HMart
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oh havoc is far from dead it is still used in source frostbite and a few other engines out there, far from the best though which was not the point of this physx still has uses though lately it is more of interrest to scientists working with physics based objects. Probably one of the best physics engines today is box2d closely followed by bullet physx still has the major share being a part of nvidias gpu's and was used for a huge amount of games but in terms of usability it has long since been left behind. The other developers got real crafty over the years some hooked up the physics algorithms to run on the gpu's shader processors netting a nice boost over purely cpu based projects. Soma for instance uses a rather odd physics engine for interaction with the world sortof a combination of the frob mechanism in darkmod cobbled together with bullet (yeah the hand symbol you see when interacting with drawers and for throwing objects etc. in soma is actually part of the physics engine). no problem about the size of the post it can sometimes be hard getting ones opinions over otherwise :) im also not a native english speaker so i also tend to miss some context myself.

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5 hours ago, revelator said:

Soma for instance uses a rather odd physics engine

Soma uses Newton Dynamics (Newton 2.x or 3.x? )I know that physics engine, is very accurate, is also why it is slower than Havok and PhysX for games, unlike the others it takes very few shortcuts in its physics calculations (there the name), that made it's joints and friction handling very stable and perfect for the type of player world interaction that Frictional Games wanted for Penumbra, the fact the physics engine was so stable and rather unknown, is IMO one of the main reasons their first game was so unique and successful.

Btw Newton Dynamics started as a physics engine for robotics and stuff in academia, so it needed to be accurate, the main developer of the engine, is now making a modern version more focused at games, Newton 4.x and it is way faster than the former versions, but I assume that with that speed comes less calculation stability but I don't really know.

Edited by HMart
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