Microsoft is definitely planning to develop a standardised Physics API for DirectX.
How do we know? Because ExtremeTech
spotted that Microsoft is advertising a job listing for a physics programmer to develop the API. The candidate will be:
"Responsible for delivering a great leap forwards in the way game developers think about integrating Physics into their engines... [Physics] is a key part of the next generation gaming experience, bringing increased realism, greater immersion and more interesting experiences."
How very interesting. Currently, there are two competing standards for doing physics in games in hardware. AGEIA has its own software standard which is accelerated by proprietory PhysX cards. ATI and NVIDIA are both working to accelerate Havok physics using GPUs. Now it seems that everyone is going to have to shift to supporting Direct Physics, and it may be that gamers have a choice of whether to add in a dedicated card or to use some GPU power, depending on the performance level they want.
We've already reported that Microsoft is licensing the AGEIA software
for use in its robotics programmes. Could we see a situation where MS ends up buying AGEIA?
Will Physics make it in time for DX10? Tell us your thoughts on physics over in the forums.