Sony Computer Entertainment announced that it had entered into a strategic licensing agreement with AGEIA Technologies, which develops physics tools and hardware. Through this agreement, SCEI obtains sublicensing rights of the AGEIA PhysX SDK (also known as NovodeX), a physics library developed by AGEIA.
The AGEIA PhysX SDK is a solution for creating compelling in-game physics and has been adopted by various game engines, such as the Unreal Engine 3 by Epic Games. Its multi-threaded capability makes the AGEIA PhysX SDK ideally equipped to leverage the power of the Cell processor used in the PlayStation 3, the companies believe. The licensing agreement allows for SCEI and AGEIA to optimize the AGEIA PhysX SDK for utilization in PlayStation 3, and will be included in the Software Development Kit for PlayStation 3.
AGEIA’s PhysX is the world’s first Physics Processing Unit (PPU), which offloads software physics processing from central processing units and graphics processing units to it. The architecture of the PhysX PPU is tailored for multi-threaded processing of vertexes, which allows game creators to develop detailed, soft and precise animation and simulation of movements, hair, clothing, liquids, fluids and other. Currently AGEIA PhysX is the world’s first and only dedicated physics processing unit, but the company expects more startups to offer similar technology.
In conjunction with its PPU, AGEIA also supplies NovodeX software, which helps game designers to utilise the power of multi-threaded PPU, or, as in the case of Sony’s PlayStation 3, the power of eight synergistic processing units (SPEs) of the Cell processor.
“With AGEIA PhysX SDK provided as part of Software Development Kit for PS3, we believe that numbers of content with entirely new forms of physics expressions optimizing the power of the Cell processor will be developed,” said Masa Chatani,
corporate executive and CTO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.