There is a general consensus in the video gaming industry that advanced gaming physics, requiring significant processing power, is essential for creating the next generation of immersive, action-packed games. What constitutes “advanced gaming physics?” Can it be performed by multicore CPUs? Are general purpose graphics chips up to the task? Or do you need a dedicated Physics Processing Unit (PPU)?

Physics processing has to be considered as part of the entire computational needs of the game title. Leading-edge high-performance games need to be able to extract as much performance as possible for all the components of the system, if they don’t some other competitive title will. Advance physics simulation has to seamlessly integrate with the whole gaming experience
and enable the full utilization of all the components in a gaming system, without overloading any single critical component, this results in something we refer to as the
“Gaming Power Triangle” which will be discussed in more detail later, but in essence hardware accelerated Physics simulation is the natural solution and complements perfectly today’s high-end multi-core processors and high-performance graphics processors.

This article examines these system performance and feature requirements and introduces the Ageia PhysX processor designed to address these challenges and considerations.

Reprinted in its entirety from ARM IQ Vol. 6, No. 3, 2007