One of the key technologies used in LucasArts' new Star Wars The Force Unleashed has finally been made available for licensing.
Pixelux's Digital Molecular Matter claims to give virtual object realistic digital properties and "will bring an unseen level of realism to any virtual object and environment, from detailed physics simulations to the latest next-generation video games". The technology imbues on-screen materials with characteristics akin to real-life objects; so wooden items smash and splinter for instance, while glass shatters.
Two versions of DMM are available - the DMM Plug-in and the DMM Engine.
The former has been designed to run under Maya and lets a user create objects in the applicaton and then use the plug-in to make them physically real. In addition, objects made using Maya can be exported directly to any DMM-enhanced videogame.
The DMM Engine, meanwhile, is designed to fit into existing game engines using its own API. Pixelux says that "once integrated, DMM enhances any 3D environment, from entertainment to military simulation. Artists and designers using the DMM engine have total control over every physical aspect of their content, deciding how soft or rigid they want something to be, as well as dictating how easily an object can fracture".
Until recently, the technology was exclusive to LucasArts' creations, but with the first game using it released now the whole industry can render materials that smash or break realistically.
“DMM lays the groundwork for a fundamentally different experience in videogames and digital entertainment,” said Vik Sohal, chief operating officer at Pixelux. “The DMM Engine and DMM Plug-in allow an artist or designer to make any world they wish, and have that world appear and behave exactly how they want it to. It delivers unpredictability and realism while simultaneously reducing production costs, resulting in a degree of kinetic fidelity never before seen in real-time simulations.”
The full DMM products are available for purchase now, while the DMM Plug-in is also available as a Free Trial. The Engine is available for evaluation to licensed developers of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 upon request. More information can be found at www.pixelux.com.