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Ageia PhysX To Support Linux

Michael Larabel

Published on 30 September 2005
Written by Michael Larabel
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Since Ageia's public announcement in early 2005, Ageia has been attempting to revolutionize gaming by increasing the realism of physics processing for gamers; mainly in the way of their dedicated physics engine and physics processor. Although the PhysX processor hasn't yet reached the retail market, Ageia has the backing of Epic Games, the maker of the popular Unreal Tournament series, as well as Cryptic Studios and Ubisoft. In addition, ASUS and BFG Technologies have both entered into retail distribution agreements with Ageia Inc. The Ageia PhysX processor is engineered to offset the software load currently handled by the CPU as well as GPU, and to ultimately process this data on the dedicated PhysX PPU (Physics Processing Unit) that will utilize a PCI/PCI Express (x4) interface. In addition to processing traditional physics effects, Ageia hopes to re-innovate rigid body dynamics, universal collision detection, finite element analysis, soft body dynamics, fluid dynamics, hair simulation, and clothing simulation.

In addition to supporting PC-based systems, Ageia also hopes to deliver its stunning physics technology to console gamers of the upcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, in order to utilize the hardware-based PhysX processor, Ageia has constructed a high-performance SDK (Software Development Kit) for game developers and its licensees to utilize. The physics SDK is able to cooperate with other game engines to offer near universal support for its vast array of physics processing capabilities for hardware and software solutions. Another unique aspect about the PhysX SDK is that it's currently the only physics API (Application Program Interface) to support a multi-threaded CPU environment. However, the reason for this article today is to inform alternative OS users on Ageia's support intentions. Due to requests from visitors and our overwhelming curiosity, we recently spoke with Ageia's media manager, Kimberley Stowe, to answer some of our questions. In a recent conversation, we learned that Linux would indeed support the PhysX PPU once there are requests from the developers. In addition, Ageia noted that the native-Linux port would be quite easy to accomplish. However, at this time a majority of the game developers are focusing on the Microsoft Windows support rather than alternative operating systems. With this said, once the Ageia PhysX is supported by Linux, it will be interesting to see just how many games will actually be supported. Although we hadn't inquired about Macintosh OS X, we imagine the devoted Ageia developers will eventually bring additional support. As always, when more information becomes publicly available in regards to the Ageia and Linux we'll be sure to report on any additional findings with the PhysX PPU still scheduled to ship before Christmas of this year.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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