Mirrors Edge Game Testingccokeman - February 3, 2009
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Nvidia and EA Dice teamed up to bring forth a game in which Physx is used throughout the entire game. You have simulated glass, cloth, smoke, wind, debris and weapon particles that make the game more realistic by having these items not just fade away, but become an interactive piece of the puzzle. For starters, let's get a look at the game video settings. The video control panel is not what you would call elaborate by any means. The fact of the matter is that the settings are vague and offer brightness, contrast, resolution, vertical sync, texture detail, graphics quality, anti aliasing and Physx support. Kind of bare bones, but it belies the console origins of the game. The sliders adjust up and down to provide the adjustment to the quality settings. Shown below are the highest settings available to the lowest settings available.
So what's the big deal about Physx acceleration? Well, just take a look at these few slides to see what the differences are with and without it. The first 2 slides show the effects of the glass and cloth simulations and how they interact with the environment. In the first slide the glass and cloth are impacted by the bullets and move realistically and stay in play wheras in the second screen shot the glass and cloth just do basically nothing.
Here's another look at how the glass becomes part of the simulation rather than just fading away. As our heroine Faith runs for her life, the bullet impacts in front of her shatter the glass. Without Physx there is nothing special here, but with it, the effect is much more realistic as the glass becomes again part of the environment. This is a 3 slide series to show the progression of the effect from impact to the end of the effect.
Another effect is the damage inflicted by weapons. In this series of slides, the damage particles from the bullet ricochets continue to fly and bounce off the surfaces instead of just passing through the environment. This makes you bob and weave in your seat while playing.
Last but not least, I want to show some of the effects in the game that are available when the Physx simulations are active. There is the wind blowing papers, to bullets ripping through fabric, the movement of the tarps that really needs to be seen, the broken glass and bullet impacts, the pysically simulated smoke - it all adds up to one nice effects package.
Let's see how the cards compare in the performance they deliver.