Video game physics middleware company Havok has announced plans to support GPU-accelerated physics through its new multi-platform product, Havok FX, announcing a host of other new upgrades in a clear attempt to distance and differentiate itself from rival Ageia, which is using in-game physics to help promote its PPU physics hardware chips.
This new product from Havok will utilize the native power of Shader Model 3 class graphics cards to deliver physics effects that integrate seamlessly with Havok’s game-play physics technology found in Havok Complete. Havok FX will be cross-platform and will take advantage of current and next-generation GPU technology to deliver "eye-popping effects that visually enhance the gaming experience."
In particular, an official Q&A posted on Havok's website asks the question: "Do PC gamers need to purchase proprietary physics hardware to accelerate game-play physics?", hinting at the controversy over whether a separate hardware card is necessary for physics-related effects, and suggests the following answer: "For [more interactive] game-play physics- No. Havok believes that fast game-play physics starts with excellent software technology, and gets faster with increased general CPU computing power – specifically from multi-core and multi-cell computing architectures.... for [less interactive] Physics Effects, however, the GPU offers the most compelling and sustainable promise to added visual fidelity in games."
In tandem with this announcement, Havok also announced version 3.2 of Havok Complete – Havok’s combined physics and character animation SDK and tool chain for current and next-generation game platforms, including Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Havok Complete 3.2 enhancements include support for Playstation 3, HydraCore for increased performance on multi-threaded/multi-core game platforms, additive blending for character animation, and Art Tool enhancements that provide a unified workflow for dynamic characters and game objects. Havok Complete 3.2 is scheduled to release at the end of October 2005.
Finally, the company announced the finalization of its agreement with Sony Computer Entertainment to deliver a binary-only version of Havok Complete XS 3.2 to all Playstation 3 developers worldwide. Support for Havok Complete XS will come directly from SCE worldwide. Havok Complete XS provides all the functionality of Havok Complete, without the source code. Playstation 3 Developers can also purchase the full Havok Complete product directly from Havok, for an optional fee.
Havok also revealed that its physics are being used in six Xbox 360 launch-window titles: Amped 3, Condemned, NBA Live 06, The Outfit, Perfect Dark Zero, and Saint's Row, as well in 6 other unannounced Xbox 360 titles and 40+ additional next-generation titles.