At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, which is being held from 7th to 11th March, PPUs were introduced for the first time. PPU is short for Physics Processing Unit and as the name indicates, these chips shall take on all physics calculations. The idea is simple: use the chip on an extension card with PCIe or PCI-Interface, equip it with 128 MB GDDR3 memory and from now on all physics calculations are done by the PPU. The presented chip consists of 125 million transistors, is called PhysX and was introduced yesterday at the GDC.

Responsible for the development is a company called AGEIA, which is supported by many known investors, e.g. TSMC. Many known developers of companies like Epic Games or id Software have been asking for more realistic physics in games for quite some time now. Thanks to the Novodex Physics Engine, which serves as API, and the outsourced hardware acceleration this goal seems nearby. The first cards are to be available by the end of the year, where already 15 games will be supporting hardware accelerated calculations of physics effects.

On IDF Gamers Depot have interviewed the CEO and the COO of PhysX and asked for opinions of well known developers.