With all the advances made in computer graphics technology over the past 15 years, natural cloth animation in video games still remained a challenge. NVIDIA has solved this problem with their APEX Clothing Module, a feature found in the PhysX Developer Toolset.
Mafia II is one of the first games to market that will take advantage of this technique. By working closely with NVIDIA, 2K Czech is now able to produce smooth and natural cloth animation for the sequel to their sandbox crime drama. By incorporating the PhysX Toolset and APEX Clothing Module into their proprietary Illusion Engine, 2K Czech was able to accomplish a dynamic and natural looking cloth animation that behaves realistically.
In addition to the APEX Clothing Module, lead integration engineer, Erik Vesely, worked with NVIDIA engineers to make the APEX Particles Module fully supported in the particle creation pipeline. This support has empowered the artists at 2K Czech to develop debris, weapon shots, and explosions effects that actually impact gameplay. For example, when a car explodes, pieces of the car fly all over the place bouncing when they collide, spin when they hit the ground and roll until they finally stop. It’s not only physically correct – it stays. This debris can then be used as cover during a firefight.
In an interview with Petr Vochozka, development director at 2K Czech, he explained the decision to use NVIDIA PhysX technology, “We take tremendous pride in the realism of our games, and PhysX technology enables us to boost that realism to a new level with rich, physics-based interactivity. Support for PhysX helps us create realistic motion, physical reactions and character flexibility that match our true-to-life historical environments."