Havok hypes cross-platform physics engine


— 6:00 AM on March 13, 2013

Can you feel it? There's physics in the air. AMD flexed its muscles first, showing off TressFX Hair effects in the new Tomb Raider game. Then Nvidia revealed that its PhysX API will support the PlayStation 4. Now, it's Havok's turn. The Intel-owned physics veterans have announced their third-generation simulation engine.

Dubbed simply Havok Physics, this new engine purportedly represents the culmination of five years of internal R&D effort. The engine core is all new, and it's been built for "fully continuous simulation," according to the press release. Havok touts a twofold increase in simulation speed along with a 10X decrease in memory utilization. Perhaps more importantly, it claims the engine's performance is "extremely predictable," with no performance spikes.

Select developers have been working with the new Havok engine "for some time," but it's unclear when they'll have anything ready for public consumption. Havok doesn't include any screenshots or videos with its press release, either. It looks like more will be revealed at the Games Developers Conference, which starts in a couple of weeks. You can schedule a GDC meeting with Havok on this page of the company's site.

On the PC, Havok's physics technology is already used in Assassin's Creed II, Battlefield 3, Guild Wars 2, and Defiance, among other titles. The new engine is also PC-compatible, and it will work with mobile platforms in addition to current-generation consoles and their next-gen replacements.

While it's unclear whether Havok's new engine is capable of tapping graphics horsepower, we've seen previous iterations of the technology running on Radeon GPUs. The first of those demos was way back in 2006. More recently, at GDC 2011, AMD and Havok teamed up to show OpenCL-based physics effects. Perhaps the new engine will be demoed on an AMD APU this year's GDC.

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