Ageia’s PhysX Accelerators Available in Retail, E-Tail

Asus, BFG Start Shipments of Physics Accelerators

by Anton Shilov
05/09/2006 | 09:38 AM

On August 6, 1996, 3dfx Interactive began to sell its Voodoo Graphics the world’s first 3D graphics accelerator for computer games , igniting a new era for video gaming and establishing a new type of hardware for personal computers. On May 9, 2006, Ageia Technologies begins to ship its physics accelerators, something, which the company believes will have a similar impact on computer industry.

 

Ageia Technologies, the developer of the world’s first physics accelerator for games, said Tuesday that Asustek Computer and BFG Technologies had initiated shipments of add-in-cards featuring PhysX processors. The company said leading retail and online stores already can ship the appropriate accelerators to end users, who demand to pay about $299 for a card which benefits can be observed in only one game to date – Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. But the company demonstrated eight more games that will take advantage of its PhysX processors at the E3 exhibition in Los Angeles, California. By contrast, several months before the release of the Voodoo Graphics, 3dfx Interactive could show 14 games taking advantage of the original Voodoo.

“With AgeiaPhysX accelerator cards now available to consumers from gaming hardware leaders Asus and BFG, we welcome gamers around the world to real-time physics gameplay that brings a new level or realism to gaming,” said Manju Hegde, chief executive at Ageia.

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’s PhysX is the world’s first and only dedicated physics processing unit, but the company expects more startups to offer similar technology.

Currently Asustek Computer and BFG Technologies offer PhysX add-in cards with 128MB 733MHz GDDR3 memory designed for PCI bus. Add-in cards are claimed to be available at leading retail and online stores around the world. BFG’s PhysX accelerator costs $299, whereas Asustek supplies two flavours of its board: one without any valuable bundle, whereas another with Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter game.

However, to take advantage of advanced capabilities the PhysX has, game developers have to create games using Novodex SDK supplied by Ageia, which requires some additional effort from them. According to Ageia, more than one hundred games designed for and supporting the Ageia PhysX processor are in development from over 60 software creators and publishers. The company does not provide any guidance regarding availability of PhysX-supporting titles, but says several titles that will support Ageia’s PPUs, including Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, Bet on Soldier: Blood Sport, CellFactor, City of Villains and Gunship Apocalypse, will be available this spring.

“The use of physics in games adds another dimension to gameplay, making the experience much greater than ever before,” said Jon Peddie, principal analyst for JPR Research and a man who predicted bright future for 3dfx Interactive a decade ago. “With the release of its PhysX Processor AGEIA is blazing a trail that will benefit you, me and every other game player for years to come.”