NVIDIA introduces new graphics techniques with GameWorks SDK 3.1

Technologies include NVIDIA Volumetric Lighting
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NVIDIA has launched its GameWorks software development kit (SDK) 3.1, which introduces three graphics techniques.

The three new GameWorks rendering techniques for lighting and shadows include NVIDIA Volumetric Lighting - an advanced lighting technique that simulates how light behaves as it scatters through the air and atmosphere. NVIDIA Volumetric Lighting was first introduced in the video game Fallout 4.

NVIDIA Hybrid Frustum Traced Shadows (HFTS) is an algorithm for drawing high-fidelity shadows that transition smoothly from hard shadows near the occluding object, to proper soft shadows in regions farther away. 

Finally, NVIDIA Voxel Accelerated Ambient Occlusion (VXAO) is NVIDIA's highest quality algorithm for real-time ambient occlusion. VXAO is a shading technique that adds depth and realism 

Plus, a pair of extensions to the NVIDIA PhysX library include NVIDIA PhysX-GRB - a new implementation of NVIDIA's popular PhysX rigid body dynamics SDK. This hybrid CPU/GPU physics pipeline aims to improve performance by a factor of up to six times for moderate to heavy simulation loads.

Then there's NVIDIA Flow - a dynamics algorithm that simulates and renders combustible fluids such as fire and smoke. Unlike previous methods, Flow isn't limited to simulation of the fluids inside a bounding box.

"It's our passion for gaming that drives us to tackle the technical problems presented by real-time rendering and simulation," said Tony Tamasi, senior vice president of content and technology at NVIDIA.

"Our GameWorks technologies push the boundaries of what's possible in real time, enabling developers to ship their games with state of the art special effects and simulations."

NVIDIA makes source code for select GameWorks libraries available to developers via GitHub.

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