PhysX Real-Time Fluid Physics Are Crazy Realistic

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PhysX Real-Time Fluid Physics Are Crazy Realistic

The revolutionary new technology looks awesome and could be the future of water in videogames.

Fluids in videogames is always just kind of, there. We have come a long way from the murky brown poorly-textured sludge of the Quake era, but fluids have never really shown us the "wow-factor" in the way photo-realistic models and animations have. Borderlands 2 did an admirable job of making fluids like acid and blood feel more like goop and less like sprites, but having realistic water was still just out of reach. Nvidia programmer Miles Macklin aims to change that, revealing a revolutionary new system of real-time fluid physics that look and behave the way you would expect water to in the real world.

The video shows water being manipulated and behaving akin to how you would expect it to. Some of the most impressive segments show the water making waves, and realistically modeling the ebb and flow of liquid as it rushes around static objects like columns or reacts to external stimuli like contracting walls.

Perhaps most importantly, it shows how the new fluid system will react to the presence of giant rabbits and werewolves. Showing waves crash around a lighthouse in the second video definitely brought the "wow-factor" for me.

The second video also explains how it manages to make the water look so realistic. The fluid is actually made up of thousands of tiny little particles working together to form a seamless fluid-like mesh.

The third video explains how Macklin's method differs from his competitors, claiming that his method remains much more stable at the cost of having more compression, which when you are trying to have a fully immersive experience in a game, is definitely the way to go.

Dedicated physics cards were nothing more than a gimmick a few years ago, but with truly amazing technology like this starting to surface, how long will it be before they take their place next to the graphics card as a stock-standard in PC building?

Permalink

It'll be nice if this is less theory and more practice. Tech demos are fun but at the end of the day we don't see a lot of this employed in real time.

(inb4DVSmakesemotion/oceanpun)

Wow, that has me absolutely wet with anticipation.

PhysX is the remnents of the old Ageia physics card which Nvidia bought up in 2004, so now every Nvidia card has PhysX in them.
However both Nvidia and AMD have advanced compute functions in their cards now so they should theoretically both be able to handle this to some extent or another. One of the reasons DirectX 13 is far off into the future because graphics cards are now entirely fluid in what they can be programmed to do.

Fluid?! No thanks, I want hair!! Realistic flowy beautiful hair!

Wow, this really gets my fluids flowi-ok, I'm sorry. I can't do it. Anyhow, this looks absolutely great.

Man, that really made me wanna go back and play Wind Waker. We need more oceanic exploration in games.

It looks pretty?

I don't spend hours looking at water so you're going have to tell me. Then again, these demos just bring unrealistic expectations when in games.

It looks pretty but the water alone runs on a GTX680 in 30 fps. What does that tell us? If you turn this on in an actual game, it would be unplayable.

Adam Jensen:
It looks pretty but the water alone runs on a GTX680 in 30 fps. What does that tell us? If you turn this on in an actual game, it would be unplayable.

For now. Give it 3-4 years (the development time of the type of game which would actually use this kind of thing anyway) and the demand wont be harsh on any high end card. It's like when HBAO was first made it would absolutely destroy everything, but with improved efficiency and mroe powerful hardware, it's a staple graphical effect in PC gaming.

TheComfyChair:

Adam Jensen:
It looks pretty but the water alone runs on a GTX680 in 30 fps. What does that tell us? If you turn this on in an actual game, it would be unplayable.

For now. Give it 3-4 years (the development time of the type of game which would actually use this kind of thing anyway) and the demand wont be harsh on any high end card. It's like when HBAO was first made it would absolutely destroy everything, but with improved efficiency and mroe powerful hardware, it's a staple graphical effect in PC gaming.

I'd say the more important question is "can this be optimised to run on the next console generation?". It's hardly akin the fluid mechanics in Borderlands 2, which could easily be replaced with sprites without any gameplay consequences.

The alternative would be a PC-only game only suited for high-end machines. While they exist, they're rare.

Don't get me wrong, that's really fucking impressive, but it's not quite right. There's something just a touch off about the way the water moves, it seems a bit kinda... wobbly. Now that's just me being pedantic, it's still great.

Cool tech, pity it'll probably only see the light of day in one or two games. Not many devs actually invest in physx, and when they do it's usually pretty limited. Don't get me wrong the physx in mirrors edge is amazing, but my previous points stand.

I'm all for it and this is impressive.

I can only imagine the amount of calculations required to get that stuff to behave in that manner. I'm not much of a fan for hella awesome graphics but I am certain the development on here will have some interesting spill over benefits.

But... Where's the man?

but fluids have never really shown us the "wow-factor" in the way photo-realistic models and animations have.

The water in Super Mario Sunshine is very impressive. Not quite realistic maybe, but still.

I used to be impressed with how water moved in the Resistance games, but this obviously....blows that out of the water.

Kargathia:

TheComfyChair:

Adam Jensen:
It looks pretty but the water alone runs on a GTX680 in 30 fps. What does that tell us? If you turn this on in an actual game, it would be unplayable.

For now. Give it 3-4 years (the development time of the type of game which would actually use this kind of thing anyway) and the demand wont be harsh on any high end card. It's like when HBAO was first made it would absolutely destroy everything, but with improved efficiency and mroe powerful hardware, it's a staple graphical effect in PC gaming.

I'd say the more important question is "can this be optimised to run on the next console generation?". It's hardly akin the fluid mechanics in Borderlands 2, which could easily be replaced with sprites without any gameplay consequences.

The cloth in games like Mirrors Edge or debris and trash in Batman are all stuff that can be there but dont need to, I kind of expect this to be the same.


I can't wait to see this implemented in actual game tidals.

Really impressive. Something doesn't look right with the glass tank breaking, but I think that's an issue with his glass physics not the water.

Now if they can just get the water to look like water as well as moving like it.

The water from Uncharted 2 looked pretty cool imo

TheRightToArmBears:
Don't get me wrong, that's really fucking impressive, but it's not quite right. There's something just a touch off about the way the water moves, it seems a bit kinda... wobbly. Now that's just me being pedantic, it's still great.

To be fair, our understanding of fluid dynamics isn't quite complete. I have a friend doing a maths PHD on fluid dynamics, trying to create an equation that predicts how fluids interact, when and where instabilities arise in their flows. I suspect that until we have fluid dynamics completely mapped out our fluid models will look a bit off.

DVS BSTrD:
I can't wait to see this implemented in actual game tidals.

What are you going to stare at the water for anything more than a minute? Maybe it could help in a cutscene or something but really? I thought the water in farcry 3 was pretty impressive when I first saw it but then after approximately half a minute of swimming in it I never noticed the graphics again.

You ever hear the arguments that the videogame industry are going broke because developers are spending too much money on graphics and indie games can't keep up? (I think that's how the arguement goes)

Well things like this are the cause for it.

(sorry for raining on your parade but it seems I'm the first one on this thread who has a different point of view so I'm expressing it strongly)

dvd_72:

TheRightToArmBears:
Don't get me wrong, that's really fucking impressive, but it's not quite right. There's something just a touch off about the way the water moves, it seems a bit kinda... wobbly. Now that's just me being pedantic, it's still great.

To be fair, our understanding of fluid dynamics isn't quite complete. I have a friend doing a maths PHD on fluid dynamics, trying to create an equation that predicts how fluids interact, when and where instabilities arise in their flows. I suspect that until we have fluid dynamics completely mapped out our fluid models will look a bit off.

I don't know for sure, but my first guess is that this isn't a true fluid dynamics simulation in that they aren't actually calculating anything resembling the Navier-Stokes equation(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navier-Stokes). From what they reveal, it seems like a particle simulation with independent particle-particle interactions and some constant acceleration due to gravity and a boundary that the particles can't move through. It seems like what's left here is to tweak parameters on the particle-particle interactions to come as close as possible to seeming realistic.

If I am wrong and they are calculating Navier-Stokes, then I am really impressed and I'd love to work with these people.

blink:
You ever hear the arguments that the videogame industry are going broke because developers are spending too much money on graphics and indie games can't keep up? (I think that's how the arguement goes)

Well things like this are the cause for it.

Video game development is expensive, but not because it's particularly difficult to implement simulations using fairly standard graphics or physics libraries like PhysX. If anything, having those simulations already done, ready to go, and built into the library you're using makes things cheaper, not more expensive since companies don't have to develop their own simulations from scratch anymore.

There was a really great 2D game that had amazing water physics that seemed to work like this. I can't remember what it was called, but it involved propulsion by vomiting.

So it can handle a bathtub load of simulated water. What happens if you try to make an area with a small lake, using this physics engine?

Slightly wondering here what they've actually done since 3 years ago... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JrM4ujLY_A&feature=player_embedded#!

weirdguy:
It'll be nice if this is less theory and more practice. Tech demos are fun but at the end of the day we don't see a lot of this employed in real time.

(inb4DVSmakesemotion/oceanpun)

That's because it would kill everything at this point.

It'll come along.

For instance, the music of the vid was from Mirror's Edge. Mirror's Edge had PhysX enabled in it, which added completely realistic glass shattering, cloth tearing and wind gusting that wasn't in the console versions. So by extension, we'll see this water become a common occurrence in the next couple years as well.

Fluke:
Slightly wondering here what they've actually done since 3 years ago... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JrM4ujLY_A&feature=player_embedded#!

There's subtle differences. The water in your video looks like someone added cornstarch to it, for instance.

It's nice to see a thread that doesn't immediately descend into vilifying any and all attempts at making games that little bit more pleasing to look at.

For those asking about the maths, what makes this method interesting is that it's not a force-based method - it's a position-based method. It doesn't use the Navier-Stokes method which is not a particle method and integrates convective forces over a fixed, static grid to get fluid motion (and is therefore pretty much useless for video games) and it's not another variant of the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) method because it doesn't take the weighted force contributions from it's neighbouring particles (I believe the game Hydrophobia used a very coarse SPH-like simulation). Position-based methods directly estimate the new position at each time step from the previous step's particle velocity and then impose a set of constraints - a much more stable method when you don't have that many particles. For those who really, really want to know about the maths: http://mmacklin.com/pbf_sig_preprint.pdf

I don't think there's any danger of this method ever becoming the standard method of rendering water in games. 90% of the time you're not interacting with the water you see. The guy who will really win the cookie in the field of real-time fluid sims is the guy who can mix particle methods with typical mesh water surfaces on an 'as needed' basis.

TL;DR: The future is not the old method or this new method of doing fluids. It's a hybrid.

You know, I have a secondary 400 series card alongside my GTX 680 DEDICATED to that shit. Nobody likes a 50% performance hit, after all. UNACCEPTABLE.
In games that have advanced effects, it is VERY nice to have (graphics whore here....)

It might also help if more than a couple of titles a year implemented PhysX in any meaningful way.
It's not even the consoles' fault(not SO much, anyway, though they're certainly not helping) rather that most people wouldn't be inclined to install a 2nd GPU to sort the physics calculations, or take the massive framerate hit instead.

Come at me, developers.....

If only it was that easy eh?.

grigjd3:

dvd_72:

TheRightToArmBears:
Don't get me wrong, that's really fucking impressive, but it's not quite right. There's something just a touch off about the way the water moves, it seems a bit kinda... wobbly. Now that's just me being pedantic, it's still great.

To be fair, our understanding of fluid dynamics isn't quite complete. I have a friend doing a maths PHD on fluid dynamics, trying to create an equation that predicts how fluids interact, when and where instabilities arise in their flows. I suspect that until we have fluid dynamics completely mapped out our fluid models will look a bit off.

I don't know for sure, but my first guess is that this isn't a true fluid dynamics simulation in that they aren't actually calculating anything resembling the Navier-Stokes equation(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navier-Stokes). From what they reveal, it seems like a particle simulation with independent particle-particle interactions and some constant acceleration due to gravity and a boundary that the particles can't move through. It seems like what's left here is to tweak parameters on the particle-particle interactions to come as close as possible to seeming realistic.

If I am wrong and they are calculating Navier-Stokes, then I am really impressed and I'd love to work with these people.

You seem to really know your stuff! I wonder what you think would make for a more efficient way to realisticly model fluids, this Navier-Stokes equation, or the method you (and I, as a matter of fact) think they have used in this example? I'd expect the Navier-Stokes equation as, from my position of nearly complete ignorance of the particulars, it seems it doesn't need to keep track of every particle.

bobajob:
You know, I have a secondary 400 series card alongside my GTX 680 DEDICATED to that shit. Nobody likes a 50% performance hit, after all. UNACCEPTABLE.
In games that have advanced effects, it is VERY nice to have (graphics whore here....)

It might also help if more than a couple of titles a year implemented PhysX in any meaningful way.
It's not even the consoles' fault(not SO much, anyway, though they're certainly not helping) rather that most people wouldn't be inclined to install a 2nd GPU to sort the physics calculations, or take the massive framerate hit instead.

Come at me, developers.....

If only it was that easy eh?.

I just wait... Eventually, the lovely PhysX effects can be handled by one good GPU, and my lovely 60FPS can be maintained.

It's cheaper that way.

dvd_72:

You seem to really know your stuff! I wonder what you think would make for a more efficient way to realisticly model fluids, this Navier-Stokes equation, or the method you (and I, as a matter of fact) think they have used in this example? I'd expect the Navier-Stokes equation as, from my position of nearly complete ignorance of the particulars, it seems it doesn't need to keep track of every particle.

I worked in numerical relativity as a graduate student and a post-doc which shares a great deal of math with and sometimes even incorporates fluid dynamics. I would guess that the Navier-Stokes equation is less efficient to use simply by the fact that these people decided to do things this way. I mean, I am not completely certain having never met this particular team, but I have met some of the people hired for this kind of work and they generally are well aware of the options available to them for computing strategies.

blink:

DVS BSTrD:
I can't wait to see this implemented in actual game tidals.

What are you going to stare at the water for anything more than a minute? Maybe it could help in a cutscene or something but really? I thought the water in farcry 3 was pretty impressive when I first saw it but then after approximately half a minute of swimming in it I never noticed the graphics again.

You ever hear the arguments that the videogame industry are going broke because developers are spending too much money on graphics and indie games can't keep up? (I think that's how the arguement goes)

Well things like this are the cause for it.

(sorry for raining on your parade but it seems I'm the first one on this thread who has a different point of view so I'm expressing it strongly)

Yeah I can see where you are coming from on this. Looking at some of the videos posted it's impressive that we can produce environments of that calibre but in the end it might be to the overall game's detriment. However I feel that we will soon (When I say soon I mean another 5 years-decade) where we will finally get out of the uncanny valley and hit a graphical peak where developers can say "Well we could develop in a higher fidelity but what is the point other then as a marketing point". Once that happens the rest of the industry will catch up in terms of narrative and gameplay mechanics in an effort to keep up with the rest of the market and also the cost of graphics as a whole will get reduced as Nvidea and AMD will strive to make graphics cards which are more efficient as opposed to being able to output the highest graphical detail.

Though to say that there isn't any indie developers or developers which produce games that have a low graphics but high gameplay values isn't quite true. Just to name a few examples:

FTL
Any number of MOBA's (for me that mainly means League of Legends)
Dwarf fortress (Possibly one of the most complex games around)
Crusader Kings 2 (Or any other game made by Paradox Plaza really)
Mount and Blade
Day of the tentacle
The walking dead game
Any host of the more popular Visual novels (Though really this is more reading an interactive book then playing a game)

One special mention I would like to make goes to Bethesda for being the kings of "OOH THAT LOOKS PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE" and then on closer inspection the textures look like crap but because of this it has some absolutely stunning scenery and is also playable on lower end machines that use graphics cards from 5 years ago that weren't even designed to be top of the line then (GT 210 512MB for example).

In summary I can understand the hesitancy to over focus on graphics and not donate enough time to other parts of the games but like I have said give it little while and the focus will eventually shift off of that and move onto the other, and in my opinion, more important aspects of gaming.

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