Microsoft cooking up DirectX physics


— 11:55 AM on June 20, 2006

Hardware acceleration for physics is still in its infancy, but Microsoft appears to be wasting no time getting in on the action. According to an article on ExtremeTech, Microsoft is actively developing a Direct Physics application programming interface to complement the DirectX toolkit. A job posting on Microsoft's website reads:

The Windows Graphics and Gaming Technology group is looking for a software design engineer to join a growing team responsible for developing Direct Physics. This team is responsible for delivering a great leap forwards in the way game developers think about integrating Physics into their engines. . . . You will be a member of the core engine team who 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.
The job posting dates back to August 2005, so a Direct Physics API could be well underway by now.

Going by the mention of "data structures that are optimized for the GPU," it sounds like Direct Physics may be similar to Havok's Havok FX API, which harnesses shader power on modern graphics cards for physics acceleration. ExtremeTech does point out, however, that Microsoft licensed Ageia's PhysX SDK for an apparently unrelated robotics project.

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