Hawken: Mech Action Game Features GPU PhysX Effects & Plays Without Lag Or Hitches On GeForce GRID

Interviews, Videos

Stompy robot action games are making a welcome comeback, and one of the brightest upcoming stars in the underserved genre is Hawken, a fast-paced free-to-play first-person shooter built using Unreal Engine 3. Starting as an independent project from a small team, Hawken caught the eye of many a gamer, and also the folks who helped fund League of Legends, propelling Hawken from idea to fully-fledged game in less than a year.

In addition to being a flagship title for Gaikai and our GeForce GRID cloud gaming platform, Hawken will feature GPU-accelerated PhysX effects on suitably equipped NVIDIA-powered PCs, as revealed by Bill Wagner of Meteor Entertainment when we spoke to him at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

“The partnership with NVIDIA has been terrific for us, we’re really happy with it,” he says, “and we’re going to be taking advantage of a number of NVIDIA technologies. A lot of the stuff [uses] PhysX Particles, so when players are shooting at walls or other mechs you’re going to see debris, you’re going to see chunks of stuff go flying everywhere, looking very realistic, and those particles won’t just disappear, you’re going to see that stuff remaining on the ground, so when a mech takes a big jump off of a building and they land, and the ground cracks, and you see all the debris flying everywhere you’re actually going to be able to kick that around in your mech, and you’ll come around a corner and see devastation everywhere.”

“That’s one area we’re incorporating stuff. Another is the turbulence fields,” adds Bill. “When people fire rockets you’ll see rocket smoke trails, and if somebody walks through it you’ll see the turbulence of that smoke actually move as another mech goes through that. We use it for effects, for battlefield smoke and steam, and as people walk through that you’re going to see it move and dissipate as something goes through it.”

Furthermore, Bill talks of additional post-launch enhancements in the form of GPU-accelerated APEX modules, such as Destruction: “We want to get in some more heavy destruction, so when buildings and ships blow up you’re going to see debris flying everywhere.” For those unfamiliar with APEX, it is a multi-platform suite containing numerous modules that help enhance games with GPU-accelerated effects. Rather than providing a low-level API that requires a physics programmer, APEX creates an environment where artists can create complex, high-level, dynamic systems without any additional programming.

With regards to GeForce GRID, an Internet cloud gaming platform, Meteor's E3 setup saw gamers playing simultaneously across web-enabled Samsung TVs, tablets, notebooks, and PCs, "totally fluidly, with no hitches, and no lag." "It’s awesome," adds Bill.

For more on Hawken, its gameplay, and its free-to-play model, watch the complete interview below.