NVIDIA Reveals Powerful Game Development Tools: Flex, GI Works, Flame Works and More

NVIDIA is holding a tech event currently in Montreal to showcase a number of the tools and technologies that the company has developed to push the state of the art in game development. The event is taking place over the next two days and we’re told there will be a number of newsworthy items revealed.

The day one keynote began with NVIDIA’s Tony Tomasi talking about the company’s “The Way It’s Meant to Be Played” initiative. He outlined a number of existing games that already leverage NVIDIA technology, like PhysX and Wave Works, and discussed a number of new or upcoming games, like Batman: Arkham Origins that will as well. Tomasi then moved on to talk about the tools and development platform, dubbed Game Works, that NVIDIA has produced to help games developers integrate all of NVIDIA’s various technologies.

As we mentioned in a post earlier, NVIDIA also showed off a very cool graphics demo running on Logan dev kit.

A large portion of the morning session at the event was focused on new tools and capabilities coming to NVIDIA’s development platform. One of the first new tools coming was dubbed Flex. Flex will be integrated into the PhysX development tools next year, though a specific date was not given. Flex is a new, unified GPU physics simulation too that allows two-way coupling of effects. As it is now, PhysX effects are handled separately, but with Flex much more complex cross-simulation interactions will be possible. Rigid particle will accurately interact with water simulations, etc.

NVIDIA also revealed a new tool called GI Works. GI Works is a real-time global illumination solution designed to minimize the amount of work games devs need to expend to implement realistic lighting into a scene, with accurate reflections and indirect lighting. The GI Works tools are fully dynamic too. GI Works should reduce content development efforts in that faked global illumination effects don’t have to be pre-calculated beforehand. Devs won’t have to place numerous light sources in a scene to essentially fake the same effect. It solves some of the fundamental problems with lighting and shadow. Indirect lighting, which bounces off of a surface and lights another surface, is rendered properly.

In the image here, you can see the light sources pointed at the floor, but reflecting up and lighting the arches and other parts of the room. The light emitted from the screens it the virtual room is also reflected off the floor.

Another of the tools NVIDIA revealed was dubbed Flame Works. Flame and smoke have traditionally been some of the more difficult effects to product in games and typically involves lots a trickery to simulate realistic flames and smoke. Flame Works is designed to fix that.

According to NVIDIA, Flame Works is a film-quality volumetric effect engine that allows for smoke and fire to be produced essentially in the same way it is in the film industry. The video above shows it in action and does a very good job of conveying just how good the effect look. Flame works will reportedly be used in games next year. In fact, NVIDIA claims that they’ve already begun helping integrate it into core game engines.