Dec 9, 2008

Tech - Electronic Arts and 2K add reality to videogames with PhysX

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Elite graphics chip maker NVIDIA announced Monday that Electronic Arts and 2K Games will use its PhysX technology to add realism to their videogames.

PhysX makes its EA debut in a personal computer version of "Mirror's Edge," an innovative action game in which an unsanctioned courier has to outrun armed troops under the command of an oppressive government.

"Mirror's Edge" was released in November for play on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. The game is being released in January for PCs.

A preview of the PC version of "Mirror's Edge" shows improved image processing in which shattering windows spray glass shards, banners flutter, fabric tears and bullets hit walls realistically.

"Everything is fully destructible," NVIDIA GeForce desktop business vice president Ujesh Desai said while demonstrating PhysX-driven 'Mirror's Edge.'

"The big thing is realism. You really feel the world is alive."

PhysX technology takes advantage of NVIDIA chips that combine graphics and computer processing to make scenes 10 to 20 times more visually complex than possible on single purpose processors.

"PhysX is a great physics solution for the most popular platforms, and we're happy to make it available for EA's development teams worldwide," said Tim Wilson, chief technology officer of EA's studio in Redwood Shores, California.

"Game play remains our number one goal, with character, vehicle and environmental interactivity a critical part of the game play experience for our titles, and we look forward to partnering with NVIDIA to reach this goal."

PhysX technology works in the three competing gaming consoles -- Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Xbox 360.

For PhysX to work on PCs the machines need chips such as NVIDIA's GeForce that enable "parallel computing," the breaking down of large tasks into small pieces for simultaneous processing.

"We are very impressed with the quality of the PhysX engine and we licensed it so our studios can use this solution early in development," said Jacob Hawley, technology director for Take-Two Interactive-owned 2K, which made the hit "Bioshock" videogame being turned into a Hollywood film.

"Developing games with an interactive story and immersive game play remains our number one priority."

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