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Darkest Of Days Physx

Looking at Physx and how it evolved our gaming experience. Lets see how so in Darkest Of Days.


With the craving of playing games that are more realistic in appreance and play style, we gamers want more. Having stunning graphics with dense vegitation with textures that seem to jump out at you is all good, but what happens when we shoot at that same tree or building? We normally get a plum of smoke or dust with a small bullet hole or black mark in the same area we just shot at. The same thing happens when we shoot that same tree or building with a rocket launcher we get a large black mark or a small hole left after our carnging attempts.

Nvidia a maker of some of the worlds fastest GPU’s has come up with ways to break this normal everyday cycle of just leaving only black marks, or small holes in walls, or trees. An enviroment that interacts with the gamers is desireable. Smoke that reacts around the player as he walks through it, and loose leaves and paper that blow around and react to the envrioment are always a nice addition. With PhysX we can shoot at a wall or trees (or anything for that matter), theres more then just black marks and small holes, there are bits and peices of what we just shot at. Lets step into a world known as Physx.

A little while ago I gave you a preview Darkest Of Days (review can be found HERE), we at Bjorn3D are going to look at the Nvidia Physx side of things. Nvidia Physx has brought us some rather unique effects in this game for instance denser smoke, blowing leaves, more paricles from exploding howitzer rounds, and sparks flying everywhere after firing our weapon.

Darkest Of Days with Physx

I am going to give you some screen shots of various levels of Darkest Of Days. These are in no peticular order.

Once I reloaded Darkest Of Days onto my computer, I located my save game progress I had on file (if you remember I was unable to complete Darkest Of Days on an ATI based computer). I loaded up the Pompeii level with Physx set to high, and then made sure I could get past the courtyard in Pompeii. I was able to get past the Court Yard in Pompeii, so I loaded up various levels through out Darkest Of Days to see what Physx is all about.

The best areas that use a lot of Physx in this game are the Civil War time periods, as there are a lot of explosions and smoke during the game play. I played this game on an ATI based computer first. The smoke was fairly thick on those video cards, but once I started using a Nvidia based video card that same smoke I saw was even thicker, denser, and a bit more interactive with the characters of the game. There were also a lot more particles flying from everywhere these include more chunks of ground being flung from exploder howitzer rounds, and more dust from those explosions.

I decided to go back to the collasped barn during the Civil War time period where the smoke was as thick as pea soup during my first time playing this game. Only this time I am using an Nvidia based video card with Physx enabled. The smoke was so thick I could almost taste it as the smoke was as thick as peanut butter. You could almost cut it with a knife and mail it to someone. I kept getting a warning about not shooting the guys in blue Aura’s, but I couldn’t even see where they were at let alone figure out where the heck I was even at. Needless to say I kept shooting the guys in blue Auras. I yelled, “Well please tell them to stop shooting at me, so I won’t kill them” at my monitor.

We all know that Darkest Of Days comes with a built in Physx benchmarking. Lets see what the performance we get with Physx enabled on a single GTX275 with Physx enabled on a 9600GT, a single  GTX275, and no PhysX run with the GTX275.

These next benchmark runs are done with PhysX set to maximum, and the highest possible screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 with max visuals. Your results may very from my own.

No Physx run.

Phsyx enabled on the 275GTX only.

Physix Enabled on the dedicated Physx 9600GT.

This is rather interesting, Comparing the Physx run with just the 275GTX and the non Physx run with a 275GTX we see a signifigant performance loss of almost 40FPS, yikes! 33FPS on average is not what I consider playable. Adding a 9600GT as a dedicated PhysC card does help out a bit giving us a 7-8 FPS increase, but still this game is almost on the verge of unplayability. We could drop the resolution down, or adjust the Physx to a lower setting to help compensate for this FPS loss.


Nvidia has made it possible to make our games seem more realistic through the use of PhysX. PhysX is looking like a reality in future games. Who would not want to see a bit more of an enviroment that completly reacts to the player as we play a game?

Being able to see leaves floating on by hit off an solid object and react to that solid object. Smoke and dust hovering close to the ground partially concealing yourself and the bad guy. In thick smoke, fog, and dusty areas we can actually see where a person is at because those particles would move around that object/person moving around inside.

We do see a preformance hit once Physx is enabled, but considering there is so much more work done on the video card then just rendering simple 3D objects in the games we play this frame drop is understandable. We can also tell that Nvidia Physx is scaleable. The more powerful the dedicated PhysX processor we have, the better the frame rate.

I look forward to seeing future Nvidia PhysX enabled games.

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