Nvidia published a video showing off its new "grass technology" just before the weekend. It calls the technology TurfEffects. The Nvidia GameWorks Developer Blog says that TurfEffects will be ready early next year.
The purpose of this technology is, of course, to create more realistic grass for your games. Nvidia's technology allows "users to simulate and render massive grass simulation with physical interaction." Furthermore we are told that "our grass technology provides a fully geometrical representation. Grass blades can be represented with a resolution as low as 3 triangles to several 100 triangles per blade by using continuous level of detail. This allows millions of grass blades to be simulated". It doesn't stop there because the renderer supports natural shading, correct shadows and occlusion.
While the video shows simple cubes being thrown onto the grass to leave indentations and impressions behind, Nvidia says that its grass can also easily interact with highly complex shapes. As with real grass, the indentations left can be persistent or the grass can start to recover its erect shape within some time. This brings into action what could be an interesting gameplay element where gamers can 'track' other game character movements by following their tracks. Depending upon persistence, you might only be able to track your 'prey' for a limited amount of time and estimate their number, their transport and so on.
What kind of graphics hardware does TurfEffects require? In the video a voiceover says that "a fully dynamic simulation of 1 million blades of grass completes in under 1ms with nothing more than a GTX 680".