Microsoft deal to bring Havok tech to more games

6 Aug 2008

A new licensing agreement between Microsoft Games Studios and Havok will see the Irish games firm’s leading edge graphics and physics modelling technology used by Microsoft’s development partners.

As the licensing agreement is perpetual, Havok’s core technology –  which is used in popular games ranging from Assassin’s Creed to WALL-E – will be used by Microsoft’s development partners as well as in future products developed by the company.

David O’ Meara, managing director of Havok, said: “Havok is committed to providing not only the premier physics software to our customers, but also in giving them new tools, such as Havok Behaviour, that can substantially reduce the time it takes teams to develop character behaviours, allowing game programmers to focus on developing the best game they can.

“Microsoft has been a valuable customer of ours for seven years and we are excited about the development teams having access to the entire suite of current Havok products, plus our upcoming products Havok Cloth and Havok Destruction.”

Havok’s core products basically do a few different things: Havok Physics, Animation and Behaviour make game characters both look and act realistically, while also reacting intelligently to objects around them in the game.

So when an object composed of brick is smashed, it falls apart in a different way to that of a glass or wooden object. Also, characters interact intelligently with surrounds, for example, a character falling off a cliff will grab the closest item to prevent this happening.

This cool, new, more ‘destructible’ and interactive environment will be in the upcoming and much anticipated role-playing game Diablo III from Blizzard, which has been getting a tough time from die-hard fans.

As Blizzard announced that it would not be bringing back the popular Necromancer character and showed off a decidedly more colourful landscape, some disgruntled fans began a petition to show their disdain for the game’s new artistic direction.

The Diablo universe is made up of “gothic and obscure scenarios, cryptic, dark and shadowy dungeons”, says the petition, which claims the new Diablo III is cartoonish and influenced too much by the popular World Of Warcraft online role-playing game.

Diablo III is currently still in development and as of yet no exact release date has been set.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: screenshot of new, decidedly more colourful Diablo III