AGEIA announced the immediate availability of the PPU (Physic Processing Unit) PhysX. Introduced in March 2005 (see this news), the PhysX was initially expected next summer.
Dedicated to physics calculations, the objective of this specialised processor is to relieve the central from this task and provide at the same time an unmatched processing power for this type of effects to developers. The PhysX PPU goes along with the physics engine of the same name, previously known as Novodex. Several studios like Ubi Soft, Epic Games or Big Huge Game acquired licenses of this engine which has the advantage not to be exclusively hardware accelerated; it also works in software mode.
For the moment, the PhysX card is a PCI daughterboard available in option from the following integrators, Dell, AlienWare and Falcon Northwest respectively at $249; $275 and $299. We will have to wait May to find cards in shops under ASUSTeK and BFG's brands.
The first game supporting PhysX will be released at this date: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. It will be followed a little bit later by Rise of Nations - Rise of Legends which will support it via a patch that will be available just after the release of the game. Ghost Recon will have much more detailed explosions thanks to the PhysX engine. AGEIA made a demonstration in this page
. In spring, two more confidential games are awaited, CellFactor and Gunship Apocalypse additionally to patches for games released in 2005: Bet On Soldier and City of Villains.
Amongst the games to come, there is the very much awaited Unreal Tournament 2007, but also more or less known and/or advanced games: Sacred II, Loki, Dogtag, Fallen Earth, Crazy Machines 2, Arena Online, Infernal, Warhammer Online, Eye of the Storm, KARMA, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Alpha Prime.
Now, we still have to find out whether if the games will advisedly use the power available for physics calculations. The PhysX presence in the computer has to improve the game experience: it is imperative for its success.