At the end of 2018, NVIDIA announced the open-source PhysX physics simulation engine, and the last open source version of PhysX was the PhysX 4.1 SDK in 2019.
After two years, NVIDIA has quietly open-sourced the PhysX 5.1 SDK, and PhysX 104.0 / PhysX SDK 5.1 is now publicly available on GitHub, which includes 662k lines of code, documentation, and related resources.
The PhysX SDK is a scalable, multi-platform physics solution that supports a variety of devices from smartphones to high-end multi-core CPUs and GPUs. PhysX has been integrated into some of the most popular game engines, including Unreal Engine and Unity3D.
In 2008, Nvidia acquired AGEIA, the developer of PhysX, which at the time was focused on promoting physics accelerator cards for gaming. Since the Nvidia acquisition, PhysX has focused on GPU acceleration and a once-proprietary SDK. Over 5 years ago, Nvidia started to open source it in terms of SDK and CPU paths.
According to NVIDIA’s official announcement, in terms of new features, PhysX 5 includes the previous NVIDIA Flex library features and also adds signed distance field collision, all of which can only be run on the GPU.
In terms of new CPU capabilities, PhysX 5 now allows users to define custom geometry, which means cylindrical shapes or block-based implicit worlds are now supported. In addition, both CPU and GPU parallel computing performance for large simulations has been significantly improved.