NVIDIA PhysX 5.0 Coming in 2020, Supports FEM for Deformable Physics

Dec 19, 2019

PhysX 5.0 has been announced by NVIDIA to be available 'soon in 2020'. According to the makers of GeForce, this new version of the physics middleware SDK (which went open source about a year ago) introduces support for a 'unified particle simulation framework'.

Additionally, among the new features listed by NVIDIA for PhysX 5.0, there's the FEM simulation technique that AMD is also using in its recently announced FEMFX. It looks like games are about to get plenty of deformable physics.

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The Finite Element Model (FEM) is an industry-standard simulation technique for deformable bodies. It is used extensively in the automotive and manufacturing industries to accurately simulate the structural strength of both rigid and soft assemblies. It will be built into PhysX 5.0.

For liquid simulations, developers will be able to use discrete particle simulations to model fluids and granular flow. The implementation is scalable; large time steps can be used to stably simulate a wide range of liquids. The Discrete Element Model (DEM) provides support for friction and adhesion. PhysX 5.0 also uses an implementation of Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) to simulate liquids with discrete particles, a technique used in oceanography and volcanography.

Arbitrary meshes can be simulated as cloth or rope using PhysX 5.0’s constrained particle model. These meshes can be coupled with volume preservation constraints with application defined pressures to simulate inflatable shapes. The mesh based simulations also provide a model to simulate aerodynamic lift and drag. The constraint model supports springs so it can be used to create mass-spring systems. Shape matching provides a mechanism for groups of particles to maintain a rigid structure. This can be used to simulate approximate rigid body dynamics. Furthermore, the rigid structure can be deformed at run-time to implement plastic deformation-like effects.

In related NVIDIA news for game developers, there's also a new version of the Nsight Aftermatch SDK out now as a standalone product with the following features.

  • D3D12/DXR Support
  • Small and Portable GPU Crash Dump File
  • Nsight Graphics Support for viewing GPU Crash Dumps
  • TDR/Page Fault/Exception detection
  • Source code line correlation
  • Markers & Callstacks (to identify crash location)
  • GPU State information
  • Simple to use API via compact Library/Header
  • Example Code Sample