Much like NPC AI, physics-based games haven’t really progressed much beyond Half-Life 2’s box stacking in the intervening 15 years, truth be told, but more realistic physics could be back on the table if AMD’s new open source FEMFX technology is adopted.
FEM (Finite Element Method) is designed to utilise all of the available cores and threads in a multi-core processor, finding a genuine gaming use for the number of cores which can often be found on CPUs these days.
Available to download right now, FEMFX is a multithreaded CPU library which houses all sorts of information on deformable materials and how they should behave when stressed. This includes things like wood splintering when shot, rubber tyres compressing when bouncing, metal cars crushing on impact, or plastic deforming and even snapping if enough pressure is applied.
Don’t just take my word for it, though, you can see it all in action in the GIFs below. This includes the bending and breaking of wood, crushing of metal, melting objects and elastic deformation.
The one obvious hole in the software is the lack of liquid physics but, aside from that, this CPU library clearly shows realistic on-the-fly material deformation with immense potential for physics-based gameplay solutions on top of the inherent realism.
For game developers looking to take advantage of this tech, the FEMFX library can be downloaded here while there’s also an Unreal Engine 4 plugin version available here.