Microsoft Studios to put Havok technology in upcoming games

13 Aug 2009

Havok, the Emmy-winning company behind the physics engine software that powers best-selling video games and special FX in Hollywood movies, has been chosen by Microsoft Studios to feature in its upcoming game titles.

It emerged today that Microsoft Game Studios Europe has licensed the Havok Spectrum software bundle for use by its developers across projects moving forward.

The deal will provide Microsoft Game Studios with annual access to Havok tools and technology including the award-winning Havok Physics, Havok Animation and Havok Behaviour.

Currently featured in over 200 games, Havok tools and technologies power real-world physics – force, gravity, motion and energy – in virtual worlds so games and movies are more realistic.

The Havok Spectrum bundle featured in Microsoft Game Studios titles will provide out-of-the box integration between Havok Physics, Havok Animation and Havok Behavior.

As the industry-leader in physics technology, Havok Physics 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 Animation is a fast, flexible animation software development kit (SDK) that provides a rich set of general purpose animation blending, inverse kinematics, and real-time mirroring and mapping capabilities for game characters.

Finally, the Havok Behaviour tool and SDK helps users rapidly compose game-playable behaviours that provide immediate “what you see is what you get” results on every major game-platform available.

“We are thrilled that the elite development teams that are part of Microsoft Game Studios Europe have chosen Havok’s triple A products to power their games,” said David O’Meara, managing director of Havok.

“As the preferred choice for middleware software among developers, Havok is laser-focused on continuously creating the most valuable, innovative and easy-to-integrate cross-platform technologies to help them achieve their creative vision.”

In addition to its core, developer-preferred Physics-based technologies, Havok recently unveiled Havok AI, a much-needed productivity tool for game developers focused on dramatically streamlining pathfinding for moving objects in dynamic environments.

Available now, Havok AI is part of Havok 6.5, the company’s most comprehensive lineup to date – featuring substantial enhancements to Havok Physics, Havok Animation, Havok Behavior, Havok Cloth, and Havok Destruction.

“Rare has had a long-standing partnership with Havok and we have extensively used Havok technology on a wide range of titles and prototypes during that time,” Salvatore Fileccia, Head of Software at Rare explained.

“Having integrated Havok into our shared technology base, it has allowed our game teams to use just one component, such as Physics, or a combination of components, such as Behavior, Animation and Cloth, to rapidly prototype new ideas and accelerate the development process.

“We have also been impressed by the level of support provided by Havok and the depth of their tools infrastructure. We are looking forward to building on this partnership, keeping Rare at the forefront of game innovation and helping us to deliver world-class Xbox 360 and Project Natal experiences,” Fileccia explained.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years