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The pair will investigate the use of Radeon GPUs for physics processing

Physics processing has promised to bring more realism into the world of PC games since AGEIA first announced its PhysX card. To date, physics processing in most video games hasn’t become the big draw that many hoped it would.

AMD and Havok announced this week that they plan to optimize physics processing for AMD hardware. Havok already has a well defined user base with over 100 developers using its Havok Physics engine and it says that 300 leading game titles currently use its Havok engine.

AMD says that Havok’s physics engine will scale well across the entire AMD line. This includes its processors and its ATI Radeon video cards. AMD says that it and Havok will investigate the use of the Radeon GPU to manage aspects of in-game physics.

AMD isn’t alone in looking to the GPU to process physics. Rival NVIDIA purchased physics hardware and software maker AGEIA. NVIDIA announced that it was purchasing AGEIA in February 2008. The purchase virtually ensures that physics processing makes it to NVIDIA graphics cards in force.

Intel purchased Havok in September 2007 and at the time Intel said that Havok would become a key element in its visual computing and graphics efforts. Despite the proclamation at the time the purchase was announced by Intel, physics has not been seen as a key component in Intel’s product strategy yet.

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RE: Huh?
By Lonyo on 6/13/2008 4:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds good for consumers!

RE: Huh?
By HOOfan 1 on 6/13/2008 5:17:07 PM , Rating: 1
I would be more up for an open source physics. It will suck if you can only take advantage of games using Havok engine if you have an ATI card or if you can only take advantage of PhysX engine if you have a nVidia card.

Seems to me that Havok is more widespread at the moment so that may be better for those with ATI cards, but knowing the licensing musble nvidia has in the gaming industry, that may be changing soon.

Hopefully with the burgeoning multi-core CPU market, there will be decent emulation or Havok and PhysX acceleration on the CPU front and gamers won't lose the functionality of games due to the videocard they chose to buy.

RE: Huh?
By FITCamaro on 6/14/2008 7:47:46 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah there definitely needs to become a standard physics API. Makes all the calls the same, just your implementation varies. Unfortunately it will take someone like Microsoft to do this.

But yeah, you shouldn't have to choose one GPU over another based off who's physics they support.

RE: Huh?
By overzealot on 6/14/2008 1:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
Both are software physics engines, which currently do their calculations on the CPU. I could say PhysX has hardware, but it's not required, and practically obsolete.
Both can potentially use GPU hardware to do calculations.

I can't see why you feel your hand is being forced.

RE: Huh?
By decapitator666 on 6/14/2008 3:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
As long as physics is not part of directX (dx11?) its proprietary only.. just like in the 96-99 era of the last century with 3D acceleration..

RE: Huh?
By PrinceGaz on 6/14/2008 10:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
DirectPhysics 11 (or 10) would be a helluva lot better than the road we are currently going down, which is the same road we travelled twelve or so years ago.

Granted, there are only two competing solutions here- Intel/AMD with Havok, and nVidia with AEGIA, but they are two competing solutions which currently require different incompatible hardware otherwise they must be emulated on the CPU. Wind the clock back to 1996 with various graphics-card manufacturers using their own 3D API and games needing to support each specific card or fall back to using software-rendering. It's the same old story, except this time around, games are unlikely to offer the choice of deciding which physics-engine to use.

For the good of PC gaming, this war has to be won very quickly, by either one physics API being adopted by everyone, or both being supported by them all after a bit of contract negotiating (I feel the latter is more likely). Admitedlly, hardware physics is totally unnecessary for gaming and PC gaming can do fine with software physics-engines especially with ever more prelavent dual- and quad-core CPUs, but a physics-engine war will stifle development of all in-game ohysics regardless of the engine it uses.

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