Started in 1998 when 3D graphics accelerators were rising in popularity and computing power was approximately 1/10th of what it is now, this Dublin-based company set out to change the way computer and video games looked and felt. Launching first with their physics simulation software tools SDK for games at the 2000 Game Developers Conference, Havok now offers a complete modular suite of products that help visual and interactive content developers create more realistic games and special effects for film.
“Havok was born from the idea that the emergence of realistic real-time 3D graphics created the need for realistic physical simulation,” said David O’Meara, Managing Director of Havok. Back then we were motivated by such a difficult challenge and each other’s energy. I’m happy to say the majority of the original Havok team is still with us 10 years later, still sharing the drive to provide solutions to the biggest challenging facing developers, and empowering them to create realistic and visually stunning entertainment.”
Over the last decade, Havok has partnered with more than 70 of today’s top game developers, and their industry-leading technology has been included in an excess of 200 game titles by the end of 2008 including the award-winning “Age of Empires III”, “Halo 2”, and this year’s smash hit “Fallout3”. Additionally, Havok products have been used to drive the special effects in such films as “The Matrix”, “10,000 B.C.”, and “Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix”.
“Technology has progressed a great deal since we first conceived of dynamical simulation in games,’ commented O’Meara. Computing power and the adoption of graphics cards has reached the point where many of the things we imagined back then are not only feasible, but high definition 3D visuals and real-time physics are now mainstream and expected across games, film and the Web.”
Havok’s technologies are multi-platform, enabling development across today’s leading game consoles and computers. It’s this agnostic approach that has lead to the adoption of Havok products by the majority of today’s leading publishers and developers including Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, UbiSoft, Eidos, LucasArts, Sierra, Blizzard, Bethesda, Bungie, Valve, Neversoft, Relic, Lionhead and Pandemic Studios.
Some of the highly-anticipated games currently under development or slated for release in 2009 are Microsoft’s “Fable 2”, Namco Bandi’s classic remake “Splatterhouse”, Pandemic’s “Saboteur”, “HaloWars” from Ensemble Studios, and the new “Indiana Jones” game from LucasArts.
Havok recently expanded its software lineup with the release of Havok 6.0. As the company’s most broad suite of games middleware components to date, Havok 6.0 marks the addition of Havok Cloth and Havok Destruction to the award winning Havok Physics, Havok Behavior and Havok Animation products. Each product forms part of an integrated suite of runtime SDKs and tools, representing the most comprehensive set of cross-platform modular tools available today, enabling game studios to deliver more compelling gameplay, character interaction and physical effects in less time.
With more than 100 games utilizing Havok’s technology slated for release over the coming year, details on Havok’s current lineup follow:
- Havok Animation: Havok Animation is a fast, flexible animation SDK that provides a rich set of general purpose animation capabilities, tight integration with Havok’s award-winning Physics SDK, and incorporates easily into existing game engines.
- Havok Behavior: Havok Behavior is a system of software tools for developing event-driven character behaviors in a game. The Havok Behavior product is comprised of an intuitive composition tool for artists and designers, and a run-time SDK for game programmers, resulting in “what you see is what you get” results.
- Havok Cloth: Havok Cloth is a new platform-optimized runtime SDK and toolset that significantly increases the realism of game characters and environments by enabling character designers to add realistic, physically-based drape and motion to garments, environmental objects and other deformable items like hair, bellies or tails.
- Havok Destruction: Havok Destruction is the cross-platform tool for the simulation of rigid body destruction. In addition to drastically reducing the production time and cost of creating large numbers of realistic destructible game objects, Havok Destruction provides more realism to structural mechanics, graphical effects and level design for a new game play experience
- Havok Physics: Based upon the award winning Havok Physics 2 SDK, the recently released Continuous Physics is an innovative technology that adds an extra level of integrity to games, and frees up production time by eliminating design limitations that stem from high-velocity game objects. Havok Physics also incorporates robust memory optimizations crucial for simulating physics in complex game environments on next-generation platforms.