Just a little Paper

Heres a quick paper I wrote on Ageias new PhiysX processer I cant wait to see what it can do. By the way I lost half of this thing when my flash drive died the other day. Now I have to get working on rewriting what I lost of ITOOLM.

“Star Treks Holodecks Come One Step Closer”

After decadendless debates about listening about Central Processing Units (CPU), and years of listening about Graphic Processing Units (GPU) it is time to learn the new term the revolutionary Physics Processing Unit (PPU). The dawn of the Physics Processing Unit (PPU) has arrived and gaming will never be the same with Ageia's hardware-accelerated physics technologies. Bridging the gap between beautiful virtual worlds and responsive physical reality, Ageia’s PPU allows for almost unlimited creative possibilities in game play and development. The new PPU is re-igniting enthusiasm in both gamers and game creators alike, and propelling the game industry into unexplored new future markets.
Who is making the PPU and why? “Consumer expectations for immersive interactive gaming demand a new class of processor the PPU which has been created to meet this demand” (Technologies). Just as some of the worlds greatest inventions came into existence, floppy disks, cell phones the PPU is the direct result of Star Trek. Curtis Davis President of Ageia technologies, “We wanted to do something we could finally experience, we finally chose creating a holo-deck like experience for games, coming up with the specifications wasn't too hard - we just had grab some beer and re-watch a couple of the Star Trek shows” (Pemberton). Ageia is a small company based in Silicon Valley California that specializes in physics and their implementation in games.

What then is this PPU? “The Physics Processing Unit is a dedicated processing unit that was built from the ground up to accelerate the algorithms required for physically based simulations”(Pemberton). The PPU itself is a silicon based semiconductor much like that of a modern day Pentium Four, but instead of controlling the main function of the computer like the
Pentium chips, the PPU only associates itself with games, specifically the physics of games. Controlling events such as explosions and spontaneous events.
What’s so important about game physics? Today’s game programmers are pushing the limits of current hardware which (until recently) has not seen a major upgrade in game graphics and development for the better part of a decade. Epic Games director Tim Sweeny, “This is about the time that an industry-changing idea takes from first implementation to industry wide change including hardware adoption” (Pemberton). The current trend among game developers is to use software-based physics engines such as Novadex to enable objects and characters to interact in a real-world manner and provide stunning graphical effects. John Carmack lead programmer of Id software,” We’re still doing basically trivial things…in future game generations there will be simulations of dust motes going through the air and transferring through the environment” (QuakeCon Keynote). However, without a hardware-based dedicated chip (the PPU) to compute these detailed images, physics hardware, and game developers is limited to lines of code and are unable to fully unleash the power of physics and graphics on today’s computers.
What does the PPU have in store for the future games? Ageia’s incomplete experimental chip is already breaking records. To measure the performance of games a total of three areas are looked at. Frame rate, Anti-Aliasing, Maximum Resolution. Frame rate is defined as the number
of individual frames the monitor shows per second (just like a movie projector). Anti-Alaising, how sharp the objects within the game are. And Maximum resolution, how many pixels are outputted to the monitor. In each of the categories the higher the number the better. Although Ageia has not yet released any physical numbers regarding the actual performance increases Ageia researchers are expecting a definitive difference between a non physics enabled game and physics enabled game (White Paper).
Will it increase intractability? A major advantage of the PPU is its ability to process spontaneous events within games. Hedge CEO of Ageia defines the PPU interactability,
There is intractability in a very special way, so if you are driving a car in a car game and you have this irrational desire to just drive your car off a cliff and hit the rocks, often the game designer will not let you do that because that would require allot of physical simulation processing power, but the PPU allows this to happen and the gamer is free to indulge themselves (Yu Interview).
This is a major break through in game technology allowing the player to interact with the game environment in a seemingly infinite way. The traditional practices of game programmers is to confine the player to certain parameters set fourth by hardware imitations. The PPU will all but eliminate these environmental confines creating limitless realms of game play and interactive environments.
Exactly how does this new technology work? The PPU itself will be implemented into computers much the same was a current day video cards are. The cards will look and operate much like that of the video card using the same type of Double Data Rate Three memory, PCI interfaces and cooling fans The chip is placed on an expansion card, made by a third party

company, with (PCI or PCI Express) interfaces that allow the chip to connect to the motherboard and thus links it to the computer. This unique interface also allows the new technology to be used
in older computer systems, and for maximum upgradeability. As new more powerful PPU’s hit the market older ones can simply be replaced or upgraded with a turn of the screwdriver. The
PPU will function as part of what is being called by Ageia, the “Gaming Triangle”. A combination of CPU GPU and PPU for maximum realism in game play.
When will it be available? Ageia is currently working in conjunction with major manufactures of computer parts, most notably graphics card producing super giants NVIDIA and ATI. Under the current plan Ageia will outsource the chip itself to companies interested in producing the interface to connect the chip to current computers. From there the company will have free reign of what to incorporate into the card it makes. While each company will still be using the same base chip, they will fight to produce a better card driving both production and retail cost down. According to Curtis Davis, “You can look for the new chip this Christmas expect prices to be much like that of a medium end video card ”(Yu Interview).
What game developers will use this technology? Ageia Technologies has a long history creating software based physics programs with leading game developers such as Epic and Id makers of the highly successful games Unreal Tournament and Doom 3. As many games already incorporate Ageia’s software based physics engine Novodex, it is only a matter of time until
games are made specifically with the chip in mind. “Epics Unreal Tournament Three game engine is right now being developed in conjunction with the PPU and is physics technology”

(Pemberson). Although only major game producers are adopting the technology right now, the technology is still new and has not been implemented fully into the game development sphere.
Look for the PPU and its Physics technology to become a standard part of games in the near future.
What does this mean for Game developers and coding? As the hardware that plays the games continuers to develop so does the software code or “Game Engine” that makes up the
games. The basic fundamentals of game programming have changed little from their ancient predecessors. A basic object oriented code that interacts with the hardware to produce the actual game. The PPU has a unique feature, Novodex software, which allows it to communicate with games; it can tell the game code to give physics based events to the card for processing. “A Novodex-enabled game will sense the presence of the PhysX chip and use the technology, Hedge said, and offload the physics burden from the other two chips” ("Physics Accelerator"). Instead of learning new code, programmers only have to remember they are no longer limited by software based physics and that of current hardware.
Why should I buy one? For the avid gamer the PPU will become just as important as the speed of the CPU or the power of the GPU. Completing the ”Gaming triangle”, the PPU will be able to create previously unimaginable realism, quality, interactability, and speed in games and do so for around the price of a new video card. The wave of the future has just been created and the games along with it, how fast is your computer?
Move over CPU and GPU because the PPU is here and its revolutionizing the way we write the game code, create Game Engines, the way we market games, and most important redefining the way we play games . Games will never be the same with performance increases
in; super realistic environments where the player can interact with the game environment in any way imaginable, killer graphics as the GPU no longer has to handle processing the physics and
the video in games and speed, where the CPU can be fully devoted to controlling the link between devises in side the computer. Ageia’s PPU will become a vital part of any modern
gaming PC completing the vital third leg of the “Gaming Triangle” and bridging the gap between humans, computers and the games themselves.

1 comments:

Joe said...

You REALLY shiould have emailed me the .doc before you handed it in, I would have revised it for you (using Word's nifty revision tracker)...
Good besides the grammar and some bad transition/focus issues.