Chipmakers woo game developers at GDC

The Game Developers Conference is taking place this week, and you can tell by looking at AMD's, Intel's, and Nvidia's online press rooms. All three companies have announced tools to help game developers work with their hardware.

Starting with AMD, the firm has announced version 2.0 of GPU PerfStudio, its GPU performance analysis and debugging toolkit. The new version includes a rewritten performance analysis component as well as features like a frame debugger, shader debugger, and frame profiler. The toolkit is available free of charge through a closed beta program. To sign up, developers must e-mail

Intel, meanwhile, seeks to help developers optimize games for its integrated graphics hardware. The newly released Graphics Performance Analyzers (GPA) suite includes a System Analyzer tool that "delivers high-level views of overall software performance," a Frame Analyzer component that "offers in-depth frame-by-frame performance analysis," and a software development toolkit for developers who wish to customize those tools.

Not so surprisingly, Intel says the GPA suite "will also support upcoming Intel graphics and many-core related products"—Larrabee, in other words. Members of Intel's Visual Adrenaline program get the GPA toolkit for free, while others will have to cough up $299.

Last, but not least, Nvidia has released a developer tool centered on its PhysX application programming interface. In the company's words, the new APEX software "makes it easy for developers to add detailed physics effects to their games and helps them optimize the gaming experience across multiple platforms with a simple 'author once' cross platform content creation feature." (As a reminder, PhysX can run on the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii.)

APEX also supports plug-in modules, which purportedly help artists and designers create physics content with "little to no" assistance from programmers. Nvidia says it's demonstrating destruction, clothing, and vegetation modules at GDC, but third parties can write their own modules, too. You can check out the APEX page on Nvidia's developer website for more details.

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