AMD: Game Developers Not Exactly Interested in Hardware-Accelerated Physics

AMD Does Not Expect "A Large Number" Bullet Physics-Enabled Hardware-Accelerated Physics Games in 2011

by Anton Shilov
03/24/2011 | 05:40 PM

Advanced Micro Devices does not expect a large number of video games due out this year to use GPU-accelerated open-source OpenCL-based Bullet Physics engine. Apparently, game developers are not really interested in high-quality compute-intensive physics effects due to various reasons.


Computing of physics effects in video games using graphics processing unit (GPU) has a number of advantages, including ability to process more realistic and visually appealing effects. A number of games that support GPU-accelerated physics using Nvidia Corp.'s PhysX middleware can boast with leading-edge physics effects, but unfortunately those effects only work on PCs with Nvidia GeForce hardware. Bullet Physics is an OpenCL-based physics effects engine that can also be accelerated using any OpenCL-compatible graphics chip, including ATI Radeon and Nvidia GeForce. But AMD does not expect a lot of games to use Bullet with GPU acceleration this year.

"I don't think there will be a large number of [games with OpenCL GPU hardware-accelerated physics] this year. Hardware-based physics does not seem to be a huge priority for software developers. We want to make it available as we have that technology, but it seems like a lot of developers are still choosing to use their own physics implementations simply because they [...] are just really concerned about making sure that the experience the consumer has is consistent no matter what graphics card they have in their system or whether they have a very powerful discrete GPU or not. The technology is there some developers will take advantage of it," said Neal Robison, senior director of content and application support at AMD, in an interview with X-bit labs.

Nvidia, the arch-rival of AMD on the graphics processors field as well the owner of popular PhysX physics effects engine, tools and middleware, also claims that software developers are not big fans of hardware-accelerated physics effects.

“Physics engines are critical components of games. The game developers are not going to choose a physics engines based on any kinds of incentives if that is going to jeopardize the game itself. Primary criteria for game developers [when selecting a physics engine] are feature-set, algorithms, tools, support from the vendor. The most important factor for game developer today is market platform. In other words is whether that supports X360, PS3, PC and some developers are targeting iPhone and Wii with our PhysX engine. We support all of those, which is the reason why PhysX has become so popular,” said Ashutosh Rege, the worldwide director of developer technology at Nvidia, in an interview with X-bit labs about a year ago.