Free physics from Nvidia

Version 3.4 is available on GitHub today

Jon Peddie

Ageia was founded in 2002 by five guys in Silicon Valley. The fabless semi company developed a real-time physics-processing engine (PPU) they called PhysX. Nvidia acquired the company in 2007 and made the software part of its toolkit.

Recently the GPU maker said its PhysX SDK 4.0 physics engine will be available on December 20, 2018, under the open source 3-Clause BSD license. The revised license scheme is being extended backward to version 3.4.

Nvidia's PhysX engine in Warframe (Source Nvidia)


PhysX has been used in gaming and simulations. It's the default physics engine for both Unity3D and Unreal Engine, however, a new license only applies to some of the supported platforms – iOS, macOS, Google Android ARM (2.2+), Linux, and Windows XP+, but not XBox One, PlayStation 4, or Switch which remains under the existing Nvidia EULA.

Version 4 is supplied with several additional capabilities, including a Temporal Gauss-Seidel Solver for making the joint-based animation work better. “TGS dynamically re-computes constraints with each iteration, based on bodies’ relative motion,” Nvidia explains.

Nvidia says they are making PhysX open source because physics simulation — long key to immersive games and entertainment — turns out to be more important than we ever thought. Physics simulation dovetails with AI, robotics and computer vision, self-driving vehicles, and high-performance computing.