AMD talks down PhysX, discusses its GPU physics plans

As Nvidia boasts on about major game developers (and future games) adopting PhysX, AMD has gone on record saying it sees no future for the game physics API. At least, that’s the gist of what AMD Graphics Technical Marketing Director Godfrey Cheng told the Bit-Tech guys.

Cheng stated plainly in reference to PhysX, “As we have emphasised with our support for OpenCL and DX11, closed and proprietary standards will die.” He went on to say, “The end game is having GPU physics as an integral part of game play and not just eye candy. If it is optional eye candy, GPU physics will not gain traction.”

The man may have a point. Major game developers have restricted their use of PhysX to eye candy so far, as in Mirror’s Edge. Those developers might not use GPU physics to impact gameplay seriously until they can produce the same effects on both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards—otherwise, they’d be alienating a good portion of their customers.

So, what’s AMD’s plan, aside from talking down its competitor’s efforts? The firm recently told us that it was still working with Havok (now an Intel subsidiary) on hardware physics. In his interview with Bit-Tech, Cheng shed a little more light on the subject: “[AMD] will provide more clarity to our work once more milestones have been achieved between AMD and Havok. . . . Our guidance was end of this year or early next year but, first and foremost, it will be driven by the milestones that we hit.”

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