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Superfly
05-04-06, 06:11 AM
This is quite funny:

Game physics software engine company Havok has decided to go on the offensive and take on some claims on the newly released PC version of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, which is the first game to support the AGEIA physics processor. Here is some statements Havok sent over:

Havok Physics (on the CPU) is used for all game-play physics in both the multiplayer and single-player PC versions of the game. All persistent collidable objects in the game are simulated using Havok software technology running on the CPU.

Havok’s logo is on the GRAW PC box, substantiating Havok’s use in the game (confirmed by Ubisoft marketing). Havok was also used in recent GRAW releases including Xbox360, Xbox, and PS2 skus.

AGEIA Novodex is said to be used in the single-player GRAW version for added PPU-accelerated effects – at the most AGEIA appears to be used for particle effects – and in no-way affects game-play outcome. AGEIA is NOT used in any way in any GRAW sku other than the PC.

From our inspection, differential effects in the GRAW PC game when using the PPU are not significantly obvious – but where they can be observed, additional particles do not appear in volumes greater than 100’s of particles (a range that is typically easily in the domain of the CPU/GPU for particles). These observed particle effects are also only particles and not apparently persistent rigid bodies. They pass through the environment after a short time (seconds) at most.User comments back this up: "…to be honest it looks exactly same with the PPU as it does without it, the only difference is you get the extra blocks/debris, the strange thing is these extra blocks/debris seem to appear unrealistically out of no where when you shot things like the wall, floor etc, it really is like they've just been tacked on just to say *this game supports PhysX*."
Consumer reports from users who already have purchased the PPU and GRAW indicate that the PPU “actually slows down the game” in moments when effects are generated that are unique to the PPU. The effects described above appear to be the cause of the slow down – our observations here using a DELL/PPU confirm this. Also see http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=17568825. One user comments states: "10-16 FPS slower with hardware PPU, I guess I need another GPU (SLI) to help render the added debris and effects I get from using the PPU, the price of PC gaming just went up again :-(, I can't believe that I have to disable the hardware PhysX card I just paid 200 quid for so that I can play GRAW at an acceptable FPS, to be honest I just feel like giving up on PC gaming these days."
AGEIA appears to imply and consumers conjecture that the PPU is generating so many objects that the GPU cannot handle the load. Multiple direct tests on the game by using NVIDIA’s and ATI GPUs indicate the GPU has room to spare and in fact, if the PPU is factored out of the game, that the particle content generated by the PPU can easily be drawn at full game speeds by the GPU. So the introduction of the PPU most certainly appears to be the cause of the slow down in this case. NVIDIA specifically can technically verify that the GPU is not the cause of the slowdown.
We should stress that Havok is supportive of efforts like GRAW and Ubisoft specifically is a valued and strong business partner. More generally, Havok is a strong supporter of the PC development community with over 38 titles shipped to date on the PC using Havok technology. Havok is very enthusiastic about the prospect of additional acceleration for physics in PC games – specifically coming from multi-core CPUs and GPUs – both dual configurations and cutting edge GPUs targeting both graphics and “GP-GPU” applications.

FiringSquad will get some comments from AGEIA about Havok's statements.

http://www.firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=10096

BioHazZarD
05-04-06, 09:00 AM
Yeah they stressed it kinda embarrasing the only game right now and you get **** fps with it turned on.

jolle
05-04-06, 09:41 AM
Rise of Legends and Bet on Soldier is supposed to support it aswell..
Dunno to what extent or how those implementations look tho, but the video material on GRAW using a PPU wasnt very impressive, and the reported FPS drops arent very promising either.

It seems the only really impressive game that has been shown sofar is CellFactor, and its a "PPU only" game as I understand it..
Maybe thats what it takes to make a really sensible use of the technology, instead of putting in trivial "bolted on" additions next to a CPU powered solution as most games would, and GRAW does.. since you cant really rely on it for gameplay elements and such in those cases.

rudedog
05-04-06, 09:55 AM
I would have thought a great idea for ageia would be to also help impove any software physics from any company.

FraGTastiK
05-04-06, 09:56 AM
Interesting part:

AGEIA appears to imply and consumers conjecture that the PPU is generating so many objects that the GPU cannot handle the load. Multiple direct tests on the game by using NVIDIA’s and ATI GPUs indicate the GPU has room to spare and in fact, if the PPU is factored out of the game, that the particle content generated by the PPU can easily be drawn at full game speeds by the GPU. So the introduction of the PPU most certainly appears to be the cause of the slow down in this case. NVIDIA specifically can technically verify that the GPU is not the cause of the slowdown.

If its not the added particles rendering workload the cause for the slowdown (like most of the people thought including me) then I wonder what is causing it.

Edge
05-04-06, 10:03 AM
It seems the only really impressive game that has been shown sofar is CellFactor, and its a "PPU only" game as I understand it..
Wow, they're making a game that REQUIRES the PPU? I can't see that succeeding considering the currently limited use of the PPU card and the extremely small userbase that owns one. 3d accelerators were introduced slowly, and it wasn't until they were out for 3 years that games started to pop up that required one. Making a PPU-only game right now would be suicide. But I have a feeling it doesn't TOTALLY require the physics card. If anything, it would probably just lock out levels or features when it doesn't detect one.

Still, doesn't sound like the PPU is off to a very good start. People are already getting fed up with the "need to upgrade every 6 month" image that PC gaming has, and the chance that this will ever be seen in a mainstream pre-built PC is zilch. It seems like the cost of the component is way too high for what it offers even if it does work properly, especially when people are going to see that a single PPU card that does nothing except enable physics in a few games costs as much as an entire console system (which, ironically, has the same games on it that the PPU is supposed to accelerate).

I really don't understand how these companies expect these products to succeed. Not only are they all blaming eachother for any problems that arise, but they're squabbling for a market that's already very small. If they want something like a PPU to become plausible, they have to start working together and making it beneficial for any game that will use physics, even if all it provides is a speed boost. Releasing a $300 product that has no practical use isn't going to break into the market very well.

Sazar
05-04-06, 10:47 AM
Interesting part:

If its not the added particles rendering workload the cause for the slowdown (like most of the people thought including me) then I wonder what is causing it.

Has to be overhead of some other kind.

I wonder if it has to do with the physx card and drivers not properly configured/optimized? Or the game simply not taking advantage properly and efficiently.

FraGTastiK
05-04-06, 11:04 AM
Has to be overhead of some other kind.

I wonder if it has to do with the physx card and drivers not properly configured/optimized? Or the game simply not taking advantage properly and efficiently.

Could be. Its not even keeping track of fallen debris, they just disapear. Not that any other games physics engine that I know of considers debris that bounce off the explosion/bullet impact area as rigid bodies and keeps track of them but I expected a dedicated chip to do so.

EDIT: Now that I think of it that may be too much to ask for. I guess I have to lower my expectations about physics related effects a bit.

Dr.Nick
05-04-06, 11:14 AM
Rise of Legends and Bet on Soldier is supposed to support it aswell..
Dunno to what extent or how those implementations look tho, but the video material on GRAW using a PPU wasnt very impressive, and the reported FPS drops arent very promising either.

It seems the only really impressive game that has been shown sofar is CellFactor, and its a "PPU only" game as I understand it..
Maybe thats what it takes to make a really sensible use of the technology, instead of putting in trivial "bolted on" additions next to a CPU powered solution as most games would, and GRAW does.. since you cant really rely on it for gameplay elements and such in those cases.

Acording to Yahoo news they had to lower IQ settings even in CellFactor for it to run at acceptable speeds. Said something that the cpu/gpu cant keep up...

jolle
05-04-06, 11:29 AM
Acording to Yahoo news they had to lower IQ settings even in CellFactor for it to run at acceptable speeds. Said something that the cpu/gpu cant keep up...
That wouldnt be TOO suprising looking at the video, the amount of items they got flying around is pretty staggering.. plus those huge cloth banners must have a respectable polycount to flow like that.
Only release date Ive seen for CellFactor is Q4 2007, so I guess they are targeting what would currently be cutting edge highend stuff, possibly targeting dx10 or something..
seems rather weak gameplaywise (perhaps cause Im no fan of Q3/UT type games), so maybe its mainly a PPU promotion "tech demo" game, tho with that release date its perhaps a bit late to the table..

Quickstar
05-04-06, 01:06 PM
I think its just the GRAW engine. I don't know about you guys, but I'm not impressed by GRAW's graphics at all, and for some reason, it kills my PC. Don't quote me on this, but i heard the Unreal 3 engine will have built in support for the Physx card, and its just a matter of developers using it. If this is true, and if the Brothers in Arms trailer mimics actual gameplay, then the physx card is well worth it.

Also, does DirectX 10 fix a problem that allows more objects to be displayed in games? Does it fix some kind of bottleneck DX9 has?

jolle
05-04-06, 01:24 PM
UE3.0 is supposed to use Novodex as physics engine yeah, which in turn means it supports the hardware, then its up the developers making the games if they want to add any extra content for it.

I think its really odd that GRAW uses both Havok and Novodex, wouldnt be too suprised if that is related to the slowdowns with the PPU in some way..
Seems rather inefficient to have 2 physics engines going at the same time, if that is indeed the case..

SH64
05-04-06, 01:26 PM
I think its just the GRAW engine. I don't know about you guys, but I'm not impressed by GRAW's graphics at all, and for some reason, it kills my PC. Don't quote me on this, but i heard the Unreal 3 engine will have built in support for the Physx card, and its just a matter of developers using it. If this is true, and if the Brothers in Arms trailer mimics actual gameplay, then the physx card is well worth it.


Good point. GRAW's performance is bad to begin with .. on my XTX rig my avarage framerate is around 30fps@1600x1200 & in my laptop its not even playable @800x600 low settings.
for the quality of the graphics & physics you get , performance is certainly bad.

i'll just wait for future titles like UE3 to judge AGEIA's PPU performnace & will be interested to see thier response on this aswell.

Hari Seldon
05-06-06, 02:37 AM
I think they should have an option to only accelerate the availible objects in the games, so instead get higher fps in the game instead as in graw create more objets and get lower fps...

OWA
05-06-06, 03:23 AM
i'll just wait for future titles like UE3 to judge AGEIA's PPU performnace & will be interested to see thier response on this aswell.
Yeah, it would be nice to see a response from Ageia on this.

jAkUp
05-06-06, 03:38 AM
Ageia Responds!!
http://www.firingsquad.com/features/ageia_physx_response/

maxbero
05-06-06, 05:43 AM
CellFactor demo now out!

http://www.ageia.com/physx_in_action/cellfactor.html

Hari Seldon
05-06-06, 08:13 AM
Anyway, they probably should also have included hw ai acceleration in the card, to make the card even more useful.

maxbero
05-06-06, 08:37 AM
CellFactor Server

FPS 5
Expected FPS 2369

What does it mean?

http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?image=snap17hh.jpg

rudedog
05-06-06, 08:50 AM
CellFactor Server

FPS 5
Expected FPS 2369

What does it mean?

http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?image=snap17hh.jpg

Do you have an AGEIA card?

Min. Requirements:
AGEIA PhysX Accelerator (Yes, it is required!)
Windows XP
Intel or AMD CPU 2 GHz +
1 GB RAM
DirectX 9 compliant Graphics Card

RAY16
05-06-06, 11:18 AM
It seems strange to me that they wouldn't give their flagship tittle the ability to run in software mode so people can make comparisons.

OWA
05-06-06, 11:20 AM
Ageia Responds!!
http://www.firingsquad.com/features/ageia_physx_response/
Just what I was looking for. Thanks for the link.

jolle
05-06-06, 12:20 PM
It seems strange to me that they wouldn't give their flagship tittle the ability to run in software mode so people can make comparisons.
Well, its either that or make.. well almost 2 different games, atleast when the gameplay seems to pretty much rely on the physics.

jAkUp
05-06-06, 01:03 PM
Since we do not have fluid effects and real time cloth tearing in games today, it seems that it would be extremely sluggish on todays CPU's.

As for Physx, on the demo video, it runs like 30-40 fps. Not bad, but who knows what kinda rig it is on.

RAY16
05-06-06, 01:10 PM
Well, of course it would run slowly on a CPU, I'm just saying it would be nice to be able to see the exact frame rate difference between doing the calculations on the CPU compared to the PPU. They don't even have to make the game itself playable on a CPU, just offer some kind of Benchmark mode that works with a general purpose CPU, but the actual game is off limits.