NVIDIA today announced a number of software tools and updates to go along with the company’s newest GPU, the long-awaited GeForce GTX 1080 and the budget GTX 1070. Among them was a VR sandbox that shows off all the cool physics-based interactions you can have with the greater horsepower afforded by the new hardware and software optimizations.

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang today unveiled the physics sandbox, named VR Funhouse, that comes along with a major update to VRworx, the company’s software suite targeted at VR devs.

The update allows PhysX hardware acceleration access to motion controllers, so touching something in VR will have a haptic effect—making it possible to reach out and touch a physics-based object and ‘feel’ it in your hand via the rumble actuators in motion controllers such as Oculus Touch and the HTC Vive hand controllers.

firing a flaming arrow in VR Funhouse physics sandbox
firing a flaming arrow in VR Funhouse physics sandbox

“When you include physics in VR, balls will bounce like balls – fire would burn like fire – smoke would behave like smoke – when you tip something over, it falls,” Huang said. “…the amazing thing is the balloon actually moves when you touch it, and when it touches other balloons, it causes other balloons to move […] everything in this world behaves according to the laws of physics, and as a result you’re suspended in this virtual world.”

nvidia-funhouse-6

VR Funhouse is set to be released on Steam and opened sourced so developers can borrow, and improve upon the concepts housed in the carnival games, which includes things like target practice with bow and flaming arrows, arcade basketball, skeet shooting, and much more listed below.

  • NVIDIA Flow — Grab a bow and arrow in our target-shooting mini-game. Set the arrow aflame and you’ll be able to shoot it at targets that burst into flames when they’re hit. Our NVIDIA Flow technology physically simulates experiences such as fire throughout VR Funhouse.
  • NVIDIA HairWorks — The whimsical feel of our colorful “The Mole the Merrier!” and “Knock’Em Silly” challenges is enhanced by NVIDIA HairWorks technology. Jab at your targets. Give them a knock and you’ll see their colorful hair bounce. Or pat them on the head to flatten their jazzy haircuts.
  • Physics for VR — Poke, punch, pound and explore. VR Funhouse is filled with objects that you can interact with in surprising ways using your hand controllers. Our PhysX for VR technology gives the objects in the game realistic physical behavior, enabling proper graphics, collision detection, and haptics force feedback.
  • NVIDIA FleX — In our “He’s Flexible” mini-game, you’ll be able to pick up gooey, colorful blobs — that stretch and jiggle in surprising ways in your hand — toss them at targets and watch them ooze toward the ground. You’ll find this next-generation particle-based physical simulation used all over VR Funhouse.
  • NVIDIA VRWorks Audio — Walk into “Flight of the Clown,” and you’ll need to use your ears to locate a stealthy drone. VRWorks Audio uses our Pascal GPUs to ray trace sound waves in real-time, realistically simulating how audio propagates and reflects across the room.  The reflections and echoes created by VRWorks Audio will test your skills in locating the drone.
  • VR SLI — The more, the merrier. If you’ve got two GPUs, this technology will let one GPU render images to your left eye, and the other to your right, maximizing performance and minimizing latency.

Disclosure: Nvidia paid for travel and accommodation for one Road to VR correspondent to attend an event where information for this article was gathered.

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  • Sam Illingworth

    NVIDIA FleX — In our “He’s Flexible” mini-game, you’ll be
    able to pick up gooey, colorful blobs — that stretch and jiggle in
    surprising ways in your hand — toss them at targets and watch them ooze
    toward the ground. You’ll find this next-generation particle-based
    physical simulation used all over VR Funhouse.

    Oh, I hadn’t thought of that – the touchpads on the Steam VR controllers will let you manipulate the object you’re holding more naturally than buttons or a stick like on the Oculus thing. Cool!