Nvidia GameWorks

Nvidia GameWorks is a middleware software suite developed by Nvidia.[1] The Visual FX, PhysX and Optix SDKs provide a wide range of enhancements pre-optimised for Nvidia GPUs. GameWorks is distributed in the form of compiled DLLs rather than traditional source code.[2] The competing solution being in development by AMD is GPUOpen, which was announced to be free and open-source software under the MIT License. In March 2016 Nvidia made the source code of GameWorks available on GitHub.[3]

Nvidia GameWorks
Initial release2014
Operating systemWindows
PlatformWindows, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox One, Android
TypeVideo game development middleware


Nvidia Gameworks consists of several main components:

  • VisualFX: For rendering effects such as smoke, fire, water, depth of field, soft shadows, HBAO+, TXAA, FaceWorks and HairWorks.
  • PhysX: For physics, destruction, particle and fluid simulations.
  • OptiX: For baked lighting and general-purpose ray-tracing.
  • Core SDK: For facilitating development on Nvidia hardware.

In addition, the suite contains sample code for DirectX and OpenGL developers, as well as tools for debugging, profiling, optimization and Android development.


GameWorks has been criticized for its proprietary and closed nature.[4] Competing GPU manufacturers such as AMD and Intel are unable to properly optimize Nvidia's libraries for their hardware due to both themselves and developers not being allowed to see the code necessary to properly optimize their products.[5][6] AMD Chief Gaming Scientist, Richard Huddy, has claimed that developers who use GameWorks are contractually forbidden to work with AMD.[2] He also claims that GameWorks adds specific performance-crippling effects for older Nvidia cards, such as unnecessary tessellation, which only marginally affects their own more recent cards.[7] In 2014 AMD was considering making an open source GameWorks competitor,[8] which was released as GPUOpen in December 2015.

See also


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