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AGEIA PhysX Spring Update: CellFactor Finally Released

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Manufacturer: AGEIA
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AGEIA's PhysX in Need of Resuscitation

AGEIA's Recent Past


As a company, AGEIA has a long and difficult history to deal with in the hardware industry.  We originally preview the technology behind AGEIA's first ever physics processor in May; of 2005!  That article looked at the technology with great interest and hope and came to this conclusion:



AGEIA has a great new technology idea on its hands and if they can get the right support from the game developers AND from gamers, they may just change the way games are played on the PC forever.  They have a long, uphill battle ahead of them to get there though, and PC Perspective will be following it all.


The long, uphill battle continued for many months, until we saw our first demos and an actual product in March of 2006:



Thought I was expecting to hear more details from AGEIA's staff about the technology inside the world's for physics processing  ... While Bet on Soldier wasn't as wildly exciting as we would have hoped the first PhysX PPU supported game would be, demos like Cell Factor are keeping hopes alive.


In May of 2006 we got our first PhysX card in house and were able to benchmark them as well as present numerous videos of the PhysX cards in action in Ghost Recon and Cell Factor demo. 



At its current state, the BFG AGEIA PhysX PPU card is a mixed bag.  On one hand, the card's additions to Ghost Recon and the couple other titles that are in retail that support PhysX, are less than spectacular...AGEIA seems to have set higher goals and intends to reach them in 2006.  If they achieve that goal, then a BFG AGEIA PhysX card might find a comfortable place in your system.  Buying one now might seem a bit preemptive, but there won't be any hardware upgrades in the near future for AGEIA's PhysX so there are no worries about hardware cycle time.  Until the software really takes off, you'll have all the goodies in the mean time and have some bragging rights as well.


The key in that last paragraph is "until the software really takes off" and you should note that as of today, it still has NOT taken off.  What AGEIA is hoping to do today is present their new CellFactor: Revolution title (it is in fact "theirs" now because they bought the developing company as I know it) as a free download to all users, with and without PhysX cards, to show how having the card will benefit gamers. 


The Next Big Thing: CellFactor Revolution


Rather than try to become a hardcore game reviewer and try to give you all the background on the game and its features, I'll let AGEIA take that part for me:



Set in a futuristic, industrial war-torn atmosphere, CellFactor: Revolution is an action-packed first-person shooter with Psi-powered combat and true-to-life physics for the PC. It takes advantage of the capabilities of the dedicated AGEIA™ PhysX™ processor to produce realistic physics effects and game play elements including collisions, explosions, complex jointed geometries, fabrics that drape and tare, dense smoke and liquids, multiple objects and particles, as well as other physical events that offer gamers an exciting and immersive gaming experience. Gamers with a PhysX accelerator will have access to all five levels (three utilize extreme PhysX game play) in the campaign mode as well as the multiplayer modes. The game will automatically detect PCs without a PhysX processor; those players can explore the multiplayer 'skirmish' modes in two environments or choose to install the hardware for a complete game experience.


In CellFactor: Revolution, gamers can manipulate an immense amount of objects simultaneously, control vehicles and fight against AI-controlled enemies. Up to 8 players can play in the LAN game play modes. The multiplayer modes — death match, team death match, assault and capture the flag — are also playable with one human and up to 10 AI-controlled characters.


There you have it; the game has five total levels two of which will be available to gamers without PhysX cards with the options of opening up the others with the mere purchase of a PhysX card. 


CellFactor has been the one stable title that AGEIA could point to in their demonstrations to press and resellers to show off the potential that their PhysX hardware had.  The FPS game play is nothing drastically different in and of itself, but the addition of the "PhysX Kill!!" as it's called in the game does add a unique twist to deathmatch gaming.  What is different is the number of ways you can defeat your enemies with physics abilities.  Nearly all everything can be thrown at your opponents and you can "crush" them with psi powers with a certain character.  There are real cloth items and spider webs that alert you when an enemy has just walked by this tunnel and particle-based liquid lava that can be "pushed" into your enemies around a corner.  Pretty neat stuff for sure, but what does it all add up to?


Note: The game is now available for download from our friends at Fileshack.com!


Reactor Processing Core


For my testing I picked two random PhysX levels from our Beta copy of CellFactor: Revolution and ran them on one of our GPU test bed running Windows Vista 64-bit, an ATI X1950 XTX graphics card and NVIDIA 680i SLI motherboard.  The first level featured here is the "Reactor Processing Core" level that AGEIA actually recommends for PhysX testing as it has the most "stuff" you can move around and manipulate.  Here are some screens shots for you to look at if you are interested (note the game was run at 1600x1200 with 4xAA and 8xAF enabled in the control panel):



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Eastern Weapons System Control


The other level I tested was called "Eastern Weapons System Control" and had some sections that included destructible landscapes and overhangs and were pretty interesting to play around with.  Here are some screen shots of the level in action:



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AGEIA also provided us with a handful of video clips to share with you all, and the fine folks at FileShack were gracious enough to host them for us. 




  1. "lava_kill_03" illustrates the subtleties of using Psi Power on molten lava.


  2. "Julian Kills to Music" will show the wrath of our game designer, Julian, towards his coworkers utilizing all the powers of the Black-Ops character.


  3. "7000_particle_beam" Will show you how relaxing it can be to play with real cloth and 7000 deadly colliding fully interactive AGEIA PhysX particles.

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