Glossary - PhysX

If a game does not have a precise physics simulation, almost all the games will feel lifeless and static. That is the purpose of the PhysX. It’s a physics engine designed to provide realistic objects in video games. The simulation technology allows all the physics calculations in a video game to be performed on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), instead of the usual Central Processing Unit (CPU). It is relevant because the GPU has many cores than the CPU, which allows the calculations to be carried out in a parallel manner.

Gamers or game developers can use the PhysX in-game or software, pre-rendered or real-time to simulate cloths, car dynamics, character controllers, soft and rigid body dynamics, fluid simulation, etc. When there are thousands or millions of these simulations in a video game at once, the GPU will take a long time before it receives the necessary physics needed to render the resulting frame. When that happens, it will result in low frames per second, if the CPU sequentially loops through each simulation. 

Sending data from the CPU to the GPU can be problematic. So it’s advisable to have the physics simulation and the rendering done on the same Graphics Processing Unit. When the GPU carries all the tasks, the player will experience real-life effects while playing the video game. Another benefit of having the GPU carry all the tasks is that the CPU becomes available to do the other calculations. Also, the PhysX runs on only NVIDIA cards. 


Most of today’s games use the PhysX engine. They allow video game developers to use the readily available physics codes and save time. An example is the rigid body dynamics. The physics engine provides an exciting gaming experience with life-like features. It allows players to play games for extended periods. It’s all about how the players move objects, interact, and react to the environment, and the physics engine helps make it possible and more realistic.