Nvidia launches several new GameWorks libraries

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Nvidia has been working hard to help software developers leverage advanced graphics techniques for years now, and as part of those efforts they’ve created their GameWorks libraries—and the associated VR Works as well. After several years of updates, Nvidia says they're now working toward a twice-yearly cadence for SDK updates, introducing new techniques in those releases. Not that they aren't working on stuff in between updates, and several of the new additions were actually developed in partnership with games studios, but if you're looking for the "fully baked" versions rather than beta techniques, the major SDK updates are what you'll want.

This week at GDC, Nvidia revealed their GameWorks SDK 3.2, with three new released technologies and two more techniques that are still in beta. Fundamentally, it's important to realize that these new technologies are often designed to help developers improve graphics fidelity, and in almost all instances there's an associated performance cost. How far developers want to go with utilizing new features is up to them, and while Nvidia creates the libraries, many of the effects do not inherently require Nvidia hardware—more on that in a moment. All three of the newly released techs are focused on light and shadows, and all three have been used in shipping games.

We've broken down the new tech over the next several pages:


Jarred got his start with computers on a Commodore 64, where he has fond memories of playing the early AD&D Gold Box games from SSI. After spending time studying computer science and working in the IT industry, he discovered a knack for journalism, which he’s been doing for more than a decade. This enables him to play with (aka “test”) all of the latest and greatest hardware; it’s a tough life, but someone has to do it. For science.
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