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How the GPU Accelerates Effects in Borderlands 2

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 38 comments
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GPUs make things pretty.

GTC Session: Post Mortem: GPU Accelerated Effects in Borderlands 2

Jim Sanders, Director of Visual Effects and Technical Art at Gearbox Software, and Kevin Newkirk, a technical artist from Nvidia, take a look at the usage of GPU-accelerated effects in Borderlands 2. They look at how and why they were implemented, but also take some time to do a comparison between the PC version of the game with GPU-accelerated effects, and the console version, which lacks those effects. They also take a quick peek at how the original visuals for Borderlands were developed and why they decided to give the game the slightly different look and feel.

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  • 18 Hide
    kartu , April 5, 2013 4:09 AM
    mayankleoboy1Works shitty on a AMD GPU.

    Is artificially crippled by nVidia, when detecting AMD GPU.
    Code itself is from a third party, bought by nVidia.

    That alone is a reason for a sane consumer to wish this proprietary crap died.
  • 10 Hide
    spentshells , April 5, 2013 4:15 AM
    excella1221It makes Nvidia fanboys feel better about themselves.


    After switching to NV 5xx from ATI 5 series I love physx it is great in the games that support it.

    BUT I did play Borderlands 2 and frankly the difference between the two cards to me (full settings both cards 7850/GTX570) I was nearly unable to notice any difference.
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , April 5, 2013 3:08 AM
    Thay are just using PhysX.
    Works great on a Nvidia GPU.
    Works shitty on a AMD GPU.
  • 4 Hide
    echondo , April 5, 2013 3:12 AM
    Yeah it's an amazing technology, but I don't understand how or why people think their game looks great with PhysX on. It's just too much sometimes, it feels as if my screen is filled to the brim with effects and it just looks ugly.

    I'm more interested in CUDA, but this is a nice show off demo and presentation of PhysX, wish they did a more recent game, oh wait, there isn't a recent game to show PhysX on, because it's useless as less than 1% of games have PhysX effects.
  • 3 Hide
    excella1221 , April 5, 2013 3:33 AM
    echondoYeah it's an amazing technology, but I don't understand how or why people think their game looks great with PhysX on. It's just too much sometimes, it feels as if my screen is filled to the brim with effects and it just looks ugly.I'm more interested in CUDA, but this is a nice show off demo and presentation of PhysX, wish they did a more recent game, oh wait, there isn't a recent game to show PhysX on, because it's useless as less than 1% of games have PhysX effects.

    It makes Nvidia fanboys feel better about themselves.
  • 5 Hide
    Cons29 , April 5, 2013 3:41 AM
    i for one thinks that physx is good, and maybe the being "too much" is on how they are using it. Physx makes things more realistic, like how the smoke reacts to wind, etc.

  • 18 Hide
    kartu , April 5, 2013 4:09 AM
    mayankleoboy1Works shitty on a AMD GPU.

    Is artificially crippled by nVidia, when detecting AMD GPU.
    Code itself is from a third party, bought by nVidia.

    That alone is a reason for a sane consumer to wish this proprietary crap died.
  • 10 Hide
    spentshells , April 5, 2013 4:15 AM
    excella1221It makes Nvidia fanboys feel better about themselves.


    After switching to NV 5xx from ATI 5 series I love physx it is great in the games that support it.

    BUT I did play Borderlands 2 and frankly the difference between the two cards to me (full settings both cards 7850/GTX570) I was nearly unable to notice any difference.
  • -6 Hide
    spentshells , April 5, 2013 4:16 AM
    To early I don't know what I am doing.
  • -7 Hide
    spentshells , April 5, 2013 4:17 AM
    gaaa Im going back to bed.
  • 2 Hide
    A Bad Day , April 5, 2013 4:50 AM
    mayankleoboy1Thay are just using PhysX.Works great on a Nvidia GPU.Works shitty on a AMD GPU.


    Why support your competitors?
  • 0 Hide
    JJ1217 , April 5, 2013 4:51 AM
    Since I got my two 670's I've barely even touched PhysX in batman games and Borderlands. Too much performance hit for such little benefit. That video to me looks like one uses different textures and video settings to make it look much more different than it would with PhysX
  • 3 Hide
    omnimodis78 , April 5, 2013 5:08 AM
    JJ1217Since I got my two 670's I've barely even touched PhysX in batman games and Borderlands. Too much performance hit for such little benefit. That video to me looks like one uses different textures and video settings to make it look much more different than it would with PhysX

    I really don't know how you can claim that your two (so I assume SLI) 670s' performance take a hit while PhysX is on. On my 670 (single card) I run full quality PhysX and everything on max (though, in DX9 mode) in BAC and there's no framerate drop. True, I have vsync on so it's always capped at 60 frames, but the point is that even with PhysX turned on, it's still at 60 frames. Maybe your problem is that you're running Batman in DX11 mode, which is useless, pointless and that's when performance goes way, way down because it's a horribly implemented "feature" (thanks to Rocksteady Studios).
  • 7 Hide
    back_by_demand , April 5, 2013 5:26 AM
    A Bad DayWhy support your competitors?

    Unfair monopoly practices?
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , April 5, 2013 6:11 AM
    in borderlands 2, if i could turn every thing about physx either on or off. i would do this

    particle physic on
    debree on

    everything else, off...

    i have a phenom 955 black and i have a 5770 hd, i play with just particle physics (a place in the game where i can only make particles) and the game played great, but my god, did the debree staying around just add so much to the over all feel of the game... like a battle went on there...

  • 1 Hide
    jordanjkj , April 5, 2013 6:56 AM
    I liked it in BL2 because of how over the top it is when you have someone covered in corrosive matter,then the siren uses her ability and you see everything flying around. It was ok for that game because it was meant to be over the top. Now if you were to put it in a modern day shooter and have particles flying everywhere then it would just look silly
  • 2 Hide
    mouse24 , April 5, 2013 7:18 AM
    How is BL2 physx a realistic representation of physx. They purposefully crippled the game for amd gpus. They take out just so much stuff when physx is off that it almost requires it to be on. For christ sakes they even take out water pipes from the environment when you don't have physx on. Its crazy, I am positive amd gpus can do water pipes...

    Guessing Gearbox got a huge check from nvidia for this one. Oh and unless you are on an i5 you really can't set physx to medium, the performance hit is far to big.
  • 3 Hide
    Yuka , April 5, 2013 7:23 AM
    A Bad DayWhy support your competitors?


    It's not about supporting it, it's about being jackasses about the tech. When they approached AMD for "licensing", I'm pretty sure Jen didn't want a "fair" deal with AMD, so AMD blew them away and went with OSS alternatives (at the time).

    If you notice, nVidia is in a position where they could contribute a lot to Bullet, but they don't. They could make PhysX OSS, but they won't. They could move from CUDA to OCL, but they won't.

    They're desperately trying to push down consumers throats 3D, CUDA and PhysX, where among those 3, CUDA is the least useless tech they provide (actually, it is very good).

    TL;DR: No, it's about them being assholes with the tech.

    Cheers!
  • -5 Hide
    contrasia , April 5, 2013 7:29 AM
    back_by_demandUnfair monopoly practices?

    It's not a monopoly if they developed it and it isn't the standard. ATi are free to develop their own physics if they want, but they don't invest in the development costs.

    Some people prefer more, others prefer clean, it's a simple matter of preference. I'd personally prefer more eyecandy, and also less predictability in everything that occurs during my gaming session. In fact, since you can tone the eyecandy down a ton and still gain the benefits of the PhysX then I still think it's a step in the right progression.
  • 0 Hide
    glitch20 , April 5, 2013 7:58 AM
    too much performance hit not worth it ^^
  • 1 Hide
    dgingeri , April 5, 2013 8:00 AM
    "How the GPU Accelerated Effects in Borderlands 2"

    There something really grammatically wrong with that title. What does it mean? Could someone correct it, please?
  • 0 Hide
    childofthekorn , April 5, 2013 8:15 AM
    thats fine and dandy, yet ACM (Which i preordered) had non of this technology or anything worthwhile. Eff gearbox.
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