FractureTool is a command-utility for generating destructible assets from regular mesh assets. It exposes a subset of options provided by the DestructibleAssetAuthoring API, and can be used for batch processing of simple fracture configurations or as basic alternative to PhysXLab.

Running FractureTool.exe -h, or simply FractureTool.exe without any arguments, results in a full usage description.

Usage: FractureToolDEBUG.exe [OPTIONS]

Fracture and save a mesh given [OPTIONS] control parameters.

-mesh path to an unfractured mesh (required)
-output name of output file, placed in same directory as input mesh
-xml when specified, save the output as xml (default is binary)
 name of the fracture config file
-verbose when specified, enable maximum verbosity
-depth number of depth levels for fracturing (default = 3)
-slices number of slices to make at each depth level (default = 1)
-slice-linear slice angular variation (relative to mesh size, default = 0)
-slice-angular slice angular variation (radians, default = 0.1)
 noise amplitude (relative to mesh size, default = 0)
 noise frequency (relative to 1/(grid spacing, default = 0.25)
 noise field grid size (# elements across mesh, default = 10)
-noise-mode noise mode (0 = planewave (default), 1 = 2d perlin, 2 = 3d perlin
-voronoi when specified, use voronoi fracture in place of slice fracture
-voronoi-sites number of cell sites used in voronoi fracture (default = 15)
-seed random seed (default = 0)
-interior-u interior u scale (default = 1.0)
-interior-v interior v scale (default = 1.0)
 interior material name
 when specified, mesh materials will be overridden with defaults
 when specified, mesh textures will be overridden with defaults
 when specified, export materials in addition to the asset
-disp-maps when specified, use displacement maps in place of geometric noise
 when specified, export displacement maps as texture
-profile when specified, display basic timing profile of fracture tool
 when specified, smooth normals of interior vertices


FractureTool.exe -m block.obj -x -d 2 -s 1 -sa 0 -na 0.2 -em -dm -edm
Fracture block.obj with tessellated noise and export materials, displacement maps and xml asset.
FractureTool.exe -m block.obj -d 1 -s 5 -sa 0.2 -na 0.2 -em
Fracture block.obj with noise and export materials and binary asset.
FractureTool.exe -m block.obj -d 3 -s 2 -sa 0.2
Fracture block.obj without noise and export binary asset.
FractureTool.exe -m block.obj -v -vs=15
Fracture block.obj using voronoi splitting and export binary asset.
Supported input mesh formats:
apx (APEX Xml - must be a render mesh asset) apb (APEX Binary - must be a render mesh asset) obj fbx ezm
Supported output asset formats:
apx apb
Supported fracture modes:
slice voronoi

For instance, a session to produce a Voronoi-fractured OBJ mesh using 100 Voronoi sites would look as follows:

FractureTool.exe -m block.obj -v -vs=100

APEX Fracture Tool  (Press any key to cancel...)

Loaded     \ [==================================================]  100%
Fractured  | [==================================================]  100%
Saved      | [==================================================]  100%


Files exported to PATH/TO/OUTPUT/
  Asset:                block.apb

Again, all of the command-line options are fully described by simply running FractureTool.


A natural way to extend the detail of destructible assets is with hardware-accelarated tessellation. As a purely graphical effect, run-time tessellation provides additional visual fidelity without sacrificing simulation performance; it’s a great way to add roughness and realism to fractured chunks.

By design, the core APEX destruction module provides very little in the way of explicit tessellation support. However, FractureTool (and in the future, PhysXLab) offers a simple way to augment destructible assets with tessellated materials. Together with the SimpleDestruction example, it provides a rough template of how tessellation can work in a destructible pipeline.

The following command-line sequence illustrates one such example:

FractureTool.exe -mesh block.obj -output block.apb -noise-amplitude .5 -export-material -disp-maps -export-disp-maps

Run with shorthand, we have the following:

FractureTool.exe -m block.obj -o block.apb -na .5 -em -dm -edm

APEX Fracture Tool  (Press any key to cancel...)

Loaded     \ [==================================================]  100%
Fractured  | [==================================================]  100%
Saved      | [==================================================]  100%


Files exported to PATH/TO/OUTPUT/
  Displacement Map:
  Material:             blockMaterial0.xml
  Material:             blockMaterial1.xml
  Asset:                block.apb

This command will perform a slice fracture of block.obj. However, rather than adding actual geometric noise, by specifying -disp-maps and -export-disp-maps, and providing a non-zero -noise-amplitude, FractureTool generates and stores the noise in a 3D texture ( The -export-material flag outputs materials for the asset that are compatible with SimpleDestruction.

We can view the tessellated result by running

SimpleDestruction.exe -loadasset block.apb -d3d11

The -d3d11 flag loads the DX11 renderer, which is required for tessellation in SimpleDestruction.

Note: For SimpleDestruction to properly import the asset, the exported texture and material files must be in a directory accessible to SimpleDestruction (typically APEX_INSTALL_DIR/media/APEX/1.4/SimpleDestruction)

In the end, most of the tessellation work is performed in the actual domain and hull shaders. Two such implemenations are included in the Sample framework:

shaders/tessellation/ will use the 3D displacement map texture provided by FractureTool. If the -export-disp-maps option is removed when using FractureTool, the generated material will instead use This shader uses a simple 3D Perlin noise generator to add tessellated detail at run-time.

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