NVIDIA GameWorks gets real: Flame Works, FLEX for PhysX, GI Works for shadows

In an effort to expand the understanding the public has of the developer program NVIDIA has in GameWorks, this week they've taken the stage with showings of a couple of new (or otherwise newly branded) technologies called FLEX and Flame Works. With FLEX, you're working with a newly collected set of unified GPU PhysX – bouncing effects, water effects, and cloth. With Flame Works you're working with volumetric effects like smoke and fire – demonstrated by a friendly dragon in a short demo in tune.

FLEX is a unified simulation system for PhysX – PhysX being the core physics environment for both Unity and Unreal engine and a host of future games, if you did not know. PhysX is used by, as NVIDIA noted this week, over 500 games in the wild today, making the simulation system FLEX significant for the upcoming generation especially.

Explained by NVIDIA's SVP of Content and Technology Tony Tamasi, FLEX is an environment in which effects are allowed to influence each other. One demonstration shows a set of water balloons falling on top of one another, bouncing away, and ripping – water then spilling out as a result. Another demonstration shows a set of three pieces of cloth suspended invisibly, with water falling from above – only to be held by the cloth in an abundantly realistic manner.

This FLEX system works with a unified solver, shared collision detection, two-way coupling effects, and parallelism from start to finish. Then there's Flame Works, a system that's ready to take on volumetric effects with top-tier film quality – here for games.

With Flame Works, developers are invited to work with a multi-grid solver, stochastic shadows as well as scattering, and – again – "film-quality" volumetric effects in smoke and fire. This system in particular has already been being pushed to developers for integration into core gaming engines for the games of our immediate next generation.

NVIDIA also showed off a system called GI Works, revealing here some real-time global illumination action. You'll find scalable architecture, color bleeding for light and shadow, specular effects, emissive materials, and a fully dynamic environment. This system takes shadows – hard, soft, black, colorful, and everything in-between – to a newly refined universe.

This is all part of GameWorks, the system named as king for NVIDIA's developer relations efforts throughout the world of gaming. Have a peek at the timeline below for additional moments of GameWorks expression from the past couple of days as well.