The grass is greener with Nvidia's Turf Effects

Nvidia has revealed a new addition to its GameWorks family of visual effects. The grass simulation is called Turf Effects, and it looks very cool—especially since there are gameplay implications to go along with the eye candy. Behold:

Turf Effects is a "fully geometrical grass representation" that supports physical interactions with not only the simple cubes shown in the video, but also "highly complex shapes." Developers who integrate the effect can control how quickly the grass rebounds after it's disturbed, opening the door for tracking and potentially other gameplay elements.

A continuous level-of-detail system allows Turf Effects to scale individual blades from as few as three triangles up to "several hundred." Nvidia claims the simulation can handle millions of blades at once, with "natural shading" and correct shadows. A "complete simulation" of one million blades takes less than a millisecond on a GeForce GTX 680, according to the company. The end of the video looks a little chunky as the camera zooms out, but that appears to be an artifact of YouTube compression rather than an indication of slowing performance. Unfortunately, the link to a downloadable version of the footage doesn't work.

The green team's grass simulation will be available early next year, but it's unclear whether that timeline refers to games using the technology or simply its availability to developers. Either way, the folks behind the Farming Simulator and Cabela's Big Game Hunter series are probably itching to play with the effect. Perhaps Turf Effects will help get that lawn-mowing simulator concept on Steam Greenlight off the ground.

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