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DirectX Physics rumors denied

Microsoft has denied its working on a DirectX physics API for the upcoming DirectX 10. DailyTech previously reported Microsoft may be interested in developing a physics API due to a job description on Microsoft’s employment page. However, according to a recent interview with Rick Wickham, Director of the Windows Gaming business in the September issue of Maximum PC magazine, such rumors were denied.

Wickham indicated that Microsoft is still planning to hire physics programmers, but the company's intention is to get a jump on physics processing should AGEIA and Havok really take off. 

The job description is still posted on Microsoft’s careers webpage. It still wouldn’t be too surprising to see Microsoft add physics processing support to the next version of DirectX. ATI and NVIDIA are both developing GPU accelerated physics processing solutions using HavokFX. Havok has also recently released its Havok 4.0 SDK too. AGEIA also released its PhysX physics process with lukewarm response.


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A physics API...
By InternetGeek on 7/25/2006 11:30:32 AM , Rating: 2
Such an API would help Havok and Aegia... and us consumers by extension.




RE: A physics API...
By White Widow on 7/25/2006 11:34:10 AM , Rating: 2
Aegia needs to help themselves by putting their card on bus that can actually move data quickly, and by figuring out how to make supporting games actually WORK BETTER with their card installed.


RE: A physics API...
By FITCamaro on 7/25/2006 12:47:39 PM , Rating: 3
Ageia doesn't make games work better with their cards. The games developers do that. Ageia can't control how well or poorly developers implement their solution.


RE: A physics API...
By cubby1223 on 7/25/2006 2:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
So you really believe hardware developers and manufacturers give a piece of new hardware to the game developers and interact with little more than "here you are, go figure it out"?


retarded posters abound
By ElJefe69 on 7/25/2006 11:38:08 AM , Rating: 2
Think about a business that involves thousands of people and many millions of dollars. That's right you cannot as you do not own one. what if you did? you wouldnt have made the aegia thing without it ACTUALLY WORKING. the support for it is lacking severely. Single geek benchmarks of systems and games that do not use the engine mean nothing. It is quite apparent that aegia brought out the card so that developers and directx 10 developers would have a reason to include physics. Not to sell the cards right away. 200 price tag is to STOP people from buying it who would give it bad reviews, kiddies, avg joe poster etc, as they have no use for it. Yet, the price tag makes it looks more luxurious.





RE: retarded posters abound
By masher2 (blog) on 7/25/2006 12:58:38 PM , Rating: 2
> "you wouldnt have made the aegia thing without it ACTUALLY WORKING..."

The card works obviously. In a strict sense at least. The question is whether the implementation is flawed. Is an independent processor on a low-bandwidth bus viable? And- even if it is-- is the Aegia concept simply a too far ahead of its time to be viable? History is filled with examples of products that were released before the market was ready for them. Usually their respective companies go belly-up long before the market comes around.

Blaming game developers is silly. A hardware manufacturer can't assume developers exist to promote their product...they have their own priorities. If you can't get developers on board, its YOUR fault. Not theirs.

At this point in time, we have to assume that either the Aegia hardware implementation is flawed, or that Aegia has done a poor job of giving developers the software tools and information needed to easily implement it.

> "200 price tag is to STOP people from buying it who would give it bad reviews"

So your theory is they overpriced the card to keep sales low? I gotta give this the "tin foil hat" award of the day.


RE: retarded posters abound
By aos007 on 7/25/2006 3:01:40 PM , Rating: 2
> "200 price tag is to STOP people from buying it who would give it bad reviews"

>So your theory is they overpriced the card to keep sales low? >I gotta give this the "tin foil hat" award of the day.

Uhm... do you ever shop online? Sometimes certain products are given artificially high prices in order to prevent people from buying them in unintended ways. For example, a promotional CD/DVD that is supposed only to come with purchase of a DVD player is listed for $1500 to discourage people from buying it separately, yet allow it to be entered in the database. A workaround for a design flaw in the sales software, yes, but things like this do happen. So his theory (only sales to developers, not to end users) is hardly stupid per se. Of course, there are plenty other indications that show that these are really intended for end users. But then his comment could be a sarcasm - for what the card provides, it's indeed priced way too high, as if not intended for sale to end users anyway.


RE: retarded posters abound
By DigitalFreak on 7/25/2006 3:48:01 PM , Rating: 1
Uh... yeah...

If they are not intended to be sold to end users, then why is Dell including them in some of their XPS systems?


RE: retarded posters abound
By Scrogneugneu on 7/25/2006 9:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Simply because OMG OMG IT HAS A 9X506 FXT TURBO II VIDEO CARD AND A CPU OVER 3 Ghthing AND A HARD-DRIVE SO BIG THAT I CAN PUT THE WHOLE WEB ON IT AND 2GB AND A PHYSICS CARD!!!11!!


See, not everyone buying a Dell system knows what a computer's real value is. Big numbers = big performance = big price in too many people's mind. Dell just knows it ;)


A better idea
By bersl2 on 7/25/2006 6:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
How about a unified matrix API? I assume that's the basic data structure of the AGEIA API/chip, with many operators accelerated in hardware. This way, whatever hardware is available can accelerate as many operations as possible, with the rest being done in software.

I mean, how else but matrices and related operators do you do a massive amount of physics calculations in parallel?




RE: A better idea
By ajdavis on 7/25/2006 8:52:42 PM , Rating: 2
I hope that was sarcasm, If not I have some for you. Thank God for thinking outside the box.

There is never only one solution and it'd be ignorant to assume so.


RE: A better idea
By bersl2 on 7/25/2006 9:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
My sarcasm guage is broken currently, so you're going to have to tell me what you are actually saying. Are you telling me that the idea is stupid, is obvious, or what?


RE: A better idea
By Scrogneugneu on 7/25/2006 9:51:03 PM , Rating: 2
I can't be sure, but there's always the possibility he finds the idea obviously stupid. ;)


wooo, go MS
By Mday on 7/25/2006 11:49:10 AM , Rating: 1
MS needs to get working on this ASAP, so we consumers dont wind up with a mess. If it's one thing MS is good at, it's the ability to get companies on their bandwagon...




RE: wooo, go MS
By bldckstark on 7/25/2006 11:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
Usually by using whips and chains, but I agree.


RE: wooo, go MS
By DigitalFreak on 7/25/2006 3:51:06 PM , Rating: 2
Hell, whatever works in this case. I would rather avoid the mess that happened during the early days of 3D. Glide, whatever Rendition used, OpenGL, etc., etc.

Create a DirectPhysics extension to DirectX, and developers will start using it, cause it will not matter if the hardware is from Ageia, ATI, Nvidia, or anyone else.


RE: wooo, go MS
By PrinceGaz on 7/26/2006 7:19:38 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I don't care if it is DirectPhysics or OpenPL, but please ffs someone make a universal API for physics so we can avoid the mess of early 3D card days.

Whenever I come across a game from the 1996-98 era that supports hardware-accelerated graphics, I know that getting it working cam be a nightmare. Voodoo, Rendition, PowerVR, ATI Rage, Matrox, Riva etc etc are all given as graphics options and not one of them works with a modern card with the possible exception of Matrox! If you're lucky they released a patch to support DirectX 5, but if not you have to resort to a Glide wrapper which may or may not work properly, or stick to software-rendering.

Unless OpenPhysics or OpenPL arrives within a couple of years, ten years down the line when the current proprietary physics APIs have come and gone, we'll be in the same situation when trying to play games released in 2006-2008. More often than not we'll have to resort to "software physics" mode or some dirty hack despite have uber hardware by today's standards.


I want them to do this
By PitbulI on 7/25/2006 1:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
I want these physics companies to simply make a chip that can be bought by the graphics companies so they can integrated them into their cards.

Didn't nvidia buy a physics company?

If these physics companies don't try to work a deal with the graphics bigwigs then they'll be out of the business pretty fast.




RE: I want them to do this
By OrSin on 7/25/2006 2:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
Thye have a better change developing a chip to work in AMD new 4v4 MB. The video card companies are not getting on board with this, when they both have thier own solution.
What might be sweet is ATI should be able to make a on baord chip jsut for physics pretty cheap for AMD now that thier merged. That could really up on the NV and intel crew.


The Wait & See Approach...
By jskirwin on 7/25/2006 10:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't a bad idea, since the cards are running at $200+ and seem to have no discernible impact on the games so far - at least according to a Tom's Hardware review of them.




It's a tough market
By GoatMonkey on 7/25/2006 1:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
These physics processor companies have their work cut out for them. I'm hoping that they are treating this current release of their hardware as a practice run through for the next version. It's just not catching on at the moment, but if the next one is more powerful, cheaper, and maybe even just a chip that gets added to a video card, then they might have a chance. It really depends on how deep their pockets are.

If they can use their current hardware and API to get developers on board for the next version without going under or getting bought by some other company, they might have a chance, next time.





Not sure...
By Trisped on 7/26/2006 12:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
Since ATI and NVIDIA are using the Havok API and Ageis has its own, I don't really see the need for a new API for DirectX. In the past DirectX was provided to create a uniform interface between hardware and software, but if everyone except Ageis is unified behind Havok, why come out with a new one?




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