New Havok suite speeds up PS3 physics

Havok has released a new version of its self-titled physics middleware suite for game developers. The new suite is version 4.5, and it supports all three latest-gen consoles: Microsoft's Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii, and Sony's PlayStation 3. For this release, Havok has tweaked its PlayStation 3 support in order to scale across all of the synergistic processing elements (SPEs) inside the PS3's Cell processor. Thanks to these optimizations, Havok says the new Havok 4.5 middleware is 5-10 times faster than Havok 4.0 in a "typical game scene" on the PlayStation 3.

The company also says Havok 4.5 brings its Havok Behavior and Havok FX middleware "to new levels," although Havok doesn't elaborate on the subject. Havok Behavior is designed to speed up the development of AI behaviors, while Havok FX enables Shader Model 3.0-compliant graphics processors to accelerate physics effects.

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