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Mirror's Edge PC to Use PhysX Effects

by: jaklar ; edited by: Eric Stallsworth ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Mirror's Edge was a thrilling experience on consoles, but the PC version looks to raise the bar even higher by using NVIDIA's PhysX API. Let's take a look at what PhysX is and what gamers can expect from the enhanced engine.

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    Mirror's Edge Reborn

    Mirror's Edge deserved a better reception from console gamers than it ultimately received, but that isn't stopping developer DICE from enhancing the game for a January 2009 PC debut. Sure, PC gamers will benefit from a much higher resolution and mouse/keyboard controls, though the real highlight is integrated PhysX support that will raise the realism bar.

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    What is PhysX?

    PhysX was a physics-based API developed by Ageia that enhanced the movement of objects within a gameworld by taking the strain from the CPU and handling calculations on a dedicated card. The problem was that you needed a PhysX card sitting in your computer to get the most benefit and unlike 3D acceleration cards, this never really caught on with consumers.

    PhysX got a shot in the arm when the parent company was purchased by NVIDIA and ultimately integrated onto a new range of video cards. Any recent video-card starting from the 8800 GTX and above now supports PhysX, offering gamers increasingly realistic motion effects. Now the problem is, game developers need to support the PhysX API or it's just going to sit there like a brick.

    A recent licensing agreement between Electronic Arts and NVIDIA means we'll be seeing a lot more of PhysX in the future, starting with Mirror's Edge which is currently slated for a January 2009 release.

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    Mirror's Edge Enhancements

    Players of the PhysX enhanced version of Mirror's Edge will notice an immediate difference in the feel of the game world. Some of the highlights include: Wind and breeze effects will be noticeable in the form of fluttering banners.

    • Fabric will tear apart in a realistic manner.
    • Windows struck by bullets will explode into tiny shards of glass.
    • Bullets will interact with walls and barriers in a much more realistic fashion.
    • Gusts of air from a passing helicopter will have a direct impact on the environment by blowing around leaves and litter.
    • Smoke will move as it should and behave in accordance with the player's activity.

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    Hey, I Don't Own a PhysX-Compatible Card!

    No need to panic!

    Obviously the best way to get the most out of PhysX is to have a recent NVIDIA card, but those of you using AMD video cards or using older machines are not out of luck. PhysX is fully scalable and can run on any PC, albeit with varying levels of realism and enhancements. Without a dedicated card, your computer will have to do more work, so the faster the machine, the more PhysX-effects you'll see.

    Mirror's Edge is slated for a PC release on January 19, 2009.