The Bat-Physics: Arkham Asylum Tech Trailer

We’re going to be taking a closer look at Bruce Wayne’s secret identity on PC soon, but until we do there’s a rather shiny “showcase” trailer showing off how implementation of physics engine tech looks on nVidia-powered PCs. Stuff swirls and swishes and dudes get kicked. It’s quite impressive. It’s still the same gloomy, doomy Arkham Asylum, but there’s quite a lot more detail. And, my, it is good lookin’.

For those that missed it: there’s a demo out.


  1. Garg says:

    Is this physics stuff for NVidia cards only? I have an ATI card so I hope not.

  2. Ian says:

    I wish I had a swishy cape.

  3. lhzr says:

    @garg: yeah, physx is only on nvidia

  4. nabeel says:

    I am so excited about this game, it’s been a painful wait. My PC won’t be able to play it with PhysX on, so the delay will not benefit me.

  5. jon_hill987 says:

    I have put my 8800GT back in my computer alongside my GTX275 in anticipation of this.

  6. Phill Cameron says:

    I’m really looking forward to the game, but at the same time, when it says ‘Experience Arkham Asylum, Like Never Before!’ I roll my eyes; either it’s just being stupid, or it’s thinking adding physx support is going to get those who bought it on the consoles a week ago are going to get it again. Eugh.

  7. dartt says:

    Sponge, aren’t YOU buying it again on PC? ;p

  8. Waste_Manager says:

    The extra wait for physx support is ridiculous. I wonder how much nVidia are paying for this.

    Doesn’t ATI support Physx anyway now?

  9. Pavel says:

    Yeah I knew buying GTX280 instead of 4870 was a smart choice, especially since they went for the same price.Now I enjoyed in full glory Mirror’s Edge, Cryostasis and will enjoy Batman.Woohoo! Game looks splendid btw.

  10. SirKicksalot says:

    I don’t care how much or why nVidia are paying for this, I’m just glad they do it. ATI missed the boat a few years ago, they were supposed to use Havok FX.

  11. Markoff Chaney says:

    I think it was more that the consoles moneyhatted their exclusive release window of a couple weeks and this is actually a nice little bonus we PC players (with nVidia 8600 GS or better cards that is) get. At least the publishers aren’t staggering the release much more than a couple weeks. nVidia owns the PhysX technology, but I’ve heard that some people have tweaked ATI drivers to run PhysX on ATI cards. I’ve also heard rumblings that in Windows 7 nVidia has disabled those tweaks.

    I’m greatly anticipating this game. The demo really whetted my appetite.

  12. Vandelay says:

    Meh, got an ATI card and it doesn’t look that much better than the demo did, except slightly nice cape effects and swirling paper. PhysX really looks like a complete swindle to me and I’m certainly happy I went with a Radeon 4850 a year ago rather than a nVidia equivalent. The PhysX effects really only look a little better than the cloth effects way back in the original Splinter Cells. I also would have thought a quad core CPU could handle this no problem, with one of the cores focusing on the physics.

    Game looks great though.

  13. Chaz says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m hard pushed to see any difference between that trailer and the 360 version I’m playing at the moment.

  14. lhzr says:

    vandelay, physx looks like a complete swindle to you because you can’t see any of the physx effects. and that’s because you have an ati card.

  15. El_MUERkO says:

    i’ve played the 360 demo and the game looks great but i have no time to play it so i’ll pick it up cheap in a few months, i’ve got an ati card and it looks like a game to play on the couch so i think i’ll give the pc version a miss

  16. AndrewC says:

    Chaz: I think the smoke actually reacts to you, there’s some drapey banners to swish about and uhhh… ummm…

  17. lhzr says:

    comparison video (physx on/off): link to

  18. Vandelay says:

    lhzr – I watched this video and compared it to what I saw in the demo, so I think I should be able to pass some judgement. All I saw was some paper swirling and cloth moving slightly more realistically than it does in non-PhysX games.

    I’ll say again, I don’t think it is necessary to be using PhysX to achieve the quality shown in that video and none of the things I’ve seen it do seem particularly important to the immersion (things breaking realistically is probably the only exception to that, which could also have important gameplay implications. Still, I don’t think you need something dedicated to achieve it and if a developer felt inclined to make these style of effects more universal then they could do.)

  19. MD says:

    Oh man, none of my current games have dynamic paper! What have I been doing with my life

  20. abhishek says:

    It’s looking great! Can’t wait for the pc version to release :)

  21. lhzr says:

    vandelay: you’re right, it doesn’t add any gameplay elements. it looks good, though, and adds to the atmosphere (the smoke and steam, at least)

  22. Dracko says:

    So what improvements does this actually make to the design itself?

  23. Vandelay says:

    Watching that video has just made more convinced that they are purposefully removing features that could easily be done on non-PhysX systems. The cloth banners are completely removed (I cite Splinter Cell again on having cloth that reacted to the player), destructible environment (Max Payne games did this excellently), smoke, fog and sparks (pretty much any game made in the last 6-8 years.)

    Actually, that video just adds further weight to an argument that they are purposefully watering down the non-PhysX version to make the PhysX look more impressive, as it clearly shows the effects to be completely removed rather than just having simplified versions of them. Why isn’t there just smoke that doesn’t react to the player? Why aren’t there banners that don’t react to the Batarang been shot at them?

    Doubt I’ll be missing the effects when I play this though, so it isn’t that much of a big deal. But I do hope this PhysX phase passes soon.

  24. SuperNashwan says:

    I guess nvidia were hoping PHYSICS! would be the new lens flare. I’ve yet to see a single person who cares about PhysX enhancements though.
    Also not buying the “delayed because of putting in breakable tiles, no not the ones that were in the demo, some more different ones… No look it’s nothing to do with leading sales at a higher console retail price, honest”. Partly because an apparently final retail version was leaked to p2p yesterday.

  25. postmanX3 says:

    Having played through the Xbox version (sheer quality, by the way), I have to say the only thing I saw in the trailer that wasn’t in the Xbox version was the flag Batman threw a Batarang into right around a third of the way in.

    Disappointing. To me, at least.

  26. JKjoker says:

    i agree with Vandelay, they are pulling a DirectX10 here, purposely removing things that could have worked without psysx and leaving no placeholder, the sparks for example

    also there is really no need to buy a bigger card, i tried BAA demo with psysx at max in my 9800gt and while i had some slowdowns when steam/fog was on screen, but it was perfectly playable

  27. Seol says:

    errr, PhysX runs mighty fine in software (that is, on the cpu, particularly with all the many hyperthreaded cores we have to spare these days), having an nVidia card allows the thing to run on the GPU, which may or may not imply more boxes flying around on screen, depending on the GPU/CPU load balancing…

  28. lhzr says:

    seol: wat.
    if you’re saying that physx can be run on ati cards in software mode, you’re wrong. it’s not YET possible. if you’re not saying that, you worded your post wrong.

  29. Gorgeras says:

    I CARE about PhysX enhancements.

    But at the same time I have to agree that there was nothing stopping these same effects working on non-PhysX machines, except maybe frame-rate issues on the puny consoles. Rocksteady are pulling a Crysis-DX10 on us.

  30. Seol says:

    @lhzr: Check my post again, I never claimed PhysX runs on ATI gpus, it will simply ignore them. If you don’t have a suitable nVidia gpu (or that useless ageia accelerator) , it will run on your CPU (that is, your intel or amd processor). No need to take my word for that, if you have an ati card you can still install the system software from link to, and run some of the samples that come with the sdk at link to . Keep in mind that the current PhysX started as a purely software physics engine with Novodex. Then Ageia bought it and made a hardware backend for their physics accelerator disaster, and then nVidia bought it and developed a CUDA backend. Not allowing it to run without hardware acceleration present would be suicidal for nVidia, as it would mean that developers using it wouldn’t be able to offer physics simulations to half the playerbase, and thus simply wouldn’t use it.

  31. El Stevo says:

    This kind of thing is just the nature of business, but it still really winds me up.

  32. Vandelay says:

    Seol is right, just tried the demo with PhysX enabled and it worked. However, it was very sluggish when trying to do some of the particle effects (smoke and force fields in the demo.) Medium was a little better than high, but it still wasn’t playable. Someone with a better quad core may fair better than me however (mine is Q6600 2.4 GHz.)

    Also noticed on the demo that it said it will support nVidia 3D vision, so nVidia are obviously after all the gimmicks.

  33. Paul Moloney says:

    This, but mainly the fact that ATI’s drivers are terrible, make me regret I didn’t stick with nVidia last time out.


  34. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Not sure that I could imagine playing Arkham Asylum on a PC. The controls would be way funky. I think it definitely lends itself to more of a console game.

  35. Thirith says:

    @We Fly Spitfires: You do know, though, that PCs work really well with Xbox360 controllers, for instance? So you could get both the console-style controls *and* the enhanced visuals?

  36. Subjective Effect says:

    And the controls on the PC work just fine. Mouse look will be different on the consoles and I like the PC method. Still a liiiittle tempted to get it for PS3 for the exclusive extra Joker content. Then I remember the mod scene that is on PC already:
    link to
    Oh yeah.

  37. BloodShed says:


    Phys-X smoke and fog react to you.
    particle based smoke and fog does not.

  38. Kirrus says:

    As long as they don’t do a GTA IV style bug-filled release, this looks as though it will be really nice :)

    Quite looking forward to this coming out on the PC. Of course, watching a friend play it on the 360 didn’t help at all. Not even a little bit… ;)

  39. The_B says:

    @Kirrus – to be fair, that would be impressive, given it’s running on the Unreal 3 Engine, which although wouldn’t make it impossible, means it’s going to be very hard to get the PC version as bad as Rockstar’s in house RAGE engine was for GTA4.

  40. no says:

    Thirith: The enhanced visuals? What’s more enhanced, 1920×1200 or 2560×1600 with realistic paper physics on a 30″ screen or slightly less realistic paper physics at 1080p on a 60″ screen with a high end audio system?

    When it comes to the PC (as painful as it is to say this), the term “better” has lost much of its meaning.