Havok offers US$40k bounty to find ‘next big thing in gaming’

21 Aug 2008

Havok, the company behind the physics engine in most top 10 selling computer games, is offering a US$40,000 prize for amateur games developers who can find the next big thing in game developing.

Entitled the Havok Physics Innovation Contest, amateur game developers worldwide are being asked to create an innovative playable PC game demo using the Intel sponsored no-charge PC version of Havok’s Emmy award-winning software Havok Physics.

The ultimate aim of the competition is to drive innovation and creativity for the use of physics in game developing worldwide.

One of the prizes on offer is open only to third-level students in Ireland, offering budding Irish game developers a fantastic opportunity to showcase their talent to the global game developing community.

A panel of five judges, including representatives from Havok and Intel, will review all entries and choose the winners based on a variety of criteria including: use of physics in a way that has not been seen before; realistic user interaction; responsiveness; high-quality visual content; technical, detail accuracy of content submitted; originality of content submitted; and value to the community.

Four overall winners will be selected and will be announced at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco in 2009 and have their PC game demos showcased by Havok and Intel. In addition to thousands of euros in cash prizes, each winner will receive an All Access Pass to the GDC.

Havok is also offering top-of-the-line PC equipment to the two entrants who devise technical content that shares physics knowledge with the broader developer base. Entrants are encouraged to submit code samples, optimisation tips, white papers and other technical content that can benefit the larger software developer community.

“We want to play our part in encouraging the use of math and physics in a demanding but fun way and show how cool math and physics can be,” explained David O’Meara (pictured), managing director of Havok.

“We have a host of fantastic prizes on offer to reward the most imaginative projects and are delighted to offer a special prize to the best PC game demo from an Irish third-level student. Havok is always on the lookout for emerging talent and anticipate that the competition will generate innovative entries from the amateur game developer community.”

Havok began offering the no-charge PC version of its award-winning physics and animation software products Havok Physics and Havok Animation to independent game developers in May of this year through a special sponsorship arrangement with Intel.

Havok’s physics software is featured in over 200 triple A games available on store shelves today. With well over 90 games currently in development for release this year, use of Havok’s ubiquitous software is up 100pc from the same period last year. Best-selling titles featuring Havok physics include Halo 3, Assassin’s Creed, Guitar Hero III, BioShock, World in Conflict, Half Life 2: The Orange Box and Heavenly Sword.

Havok, which is based in Dublin, won an Emmy award from the US National Academy of Television, Arts & Sciences at a glittering ceremony in Las Vegas earlier this year.

To enter the competition go to: http://www.havok.com/contest

By John Kennedy

Pictured: David O’Meara, managing director, Havok

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