Microsoft Corp. is planning to develop a universal application programming interface (API) for physics processing on graphics processing units (GPUs). The API will become a part of DirectX and may revolutionize physics effects in computer games by offering game developers a universal technology.
The world’s largest software maker has posted a job proposal for programmers, who will develop Direct Physics technology that will process physics computing on GPUs. The team will be primarily responsible for working closely with our Direct3D team, helping to define, develop and map optimized simulation and collision algorithms onto data structures that are optimized for the GPU, according to the proposal.
It is interesting to note that Microsoft intends to process physics solely on GPUs, not specially designed physics processing units (PPU) or multi-core central processing units (CPUs). Theoretically, it means that Microsoft shares vision of Havok with its Havok FX engine that allows computing physics effects using GPU power. This may pose some threat to Ageia, who is pushing its own environment for physics processing along with its hardware PhysX approach.
It remains to be seen, when Microsoft unveils its Direct Physics technology, as Havok FX, Havok 4 and Ageia physics engines are already here and are to be utilized by game developers, while it is not certain, whether the first release of the DirectX 10, due to be available in early 2007, will feature any enhancements for physics.
The fact that Microsoft is working on a special API for physics proves that real time, accurate simulation of physics are key parts of the next generation gaming experience.