NVIDIAs popular physics middleware just released PhysX 5.1 and it is once again open sourced under the BSD 3 license. PhysX 4 was released under the same license, but with the initial announcement of PhysX 5 in 2020, it was only available as part of NVIDIAs Omniverse project (learn more about Omniverse here). Thankfully as of today, PhysX 5 (technically 5.1) is now once again available as a stand alone SDK on GitHub under the BSD3 license.
Details on what’s new from the NVIDIA blog:
The NVIDIA Flow and NVIDIA Blast libraries, while technically not dependent on PhysX, are now a part of the PhysX product family and licensed together. Flow is now bundled with the PhysX SDK in the same GitHub repo and Blast will also be added soon.
PhysX 5 SDK now supports the capabilities of NVIDIA Flex, which enables various new features. These features include finite element model-based soft body dynamics as well as liquid, cloth, and inflatable objects using position-based dynamics, optimized to run on GPUs. A signed distance field collision feature on GPU has also been added, which allows the user to perform collision detection using a voxelized version of the source mesh, eliminating the need to create a convex decomposition.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/bM85lHiYhgM?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparentVideo 1. An NVIDIA Flow dust emitter moving around a scene in Omniverse Create
In terms of new CPU features, PhysX 5 users can now define custom geometries, meaning cylinder shapes or implicit block-based worlds can now be supported. Both CPU and GPU parallel computing performance for large simulations has been significantly improved.
The evolved role of PhysX also brings some fundamental technical changes. Formerly a game physics engine with optimized ports available for a broad range of video game consoles, PhysX is now a high-fidelity GPU-accelerated physics simulation engine used in robotics, deep reinforcement learning, autonomous driving, factory automation, and visual effects, just to name a few. As a result, video game console ports are no longer available from NVIDIA, though given our permissive licensing, the community is now able to create and maintain ports to such platforms.
You can learn more about the somewhat confusing PhysX 5/5.1 release and open sourcing in the video below.