Microsoft now owns Havok

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If you’ve played a big, retail video game since 2000, you’ve more than likely come across this logo:

havok

 

Havok is the premier middleware engine for doing physics calculations, adding ragdoll physics and physics-based destruction amongst many other elements to the games you play and love. Until recently, it was owned by Intel, who acquired the middleware from its creators. It’s now got a new home: Microsoft.

Microsoft announced it had acquired the company last week. Don’t worry though, that doesn’t mean that Havok-based physics and destruction will be exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms. As they’ve showed with their multiplatform Minecraft support, they’re quite happy to licence things out.

Says Microsoft:

“As we welcome Havok to the Microsoft family, we will continue to work with developers to create great gaming experiences, and continue to license Havok’s development tools to partners. We believe that Havok is a fantastic addition to Microsoft’s existing tools and platform components for developers, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio and Microsoft Azure.

Havok is an amazing technology supplier in the games industry and the leading real-time physics creator. We saw an opportunity to acquire Havok to deliver great experiences for our fans. Throughout the company’s history, they’ve partnered with Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and many others to create more than 600 games including Halo, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls and The Elder Scrolls.”

Havok is, of course, more than just a physics engine:

  • Havok Physics: It is designed primarily for video games, and allows for real-time collision and dynamics of rigid bodies in three dimensions. It provides multiple types of dynamic constraints between rigid bodies (e.g. for rag-doll physics), and has a highly optimized collision detection library. By using dynamical simulation, Havok Physics allows for more realistic virtual worlds in games.
  • Havok Animation Studio: Havok Animation Studio is formally known as Havok Behavior and Havok Animation. Havok Behavior is a runtime SDK for controlling game character animation at a high level using finite state machines. Havok Animation provides efficient playback and compression of character animations in games, and features such as inverse kinematics.
  • Havok Cloth: Released in 2008, Havok Cloth deals with efficient simulation of character garments and soft body dynamics.
  • Havok Destruction: Also released in 2008, Havok Destruction provides tools for creation of destructible and deformable rigid body environments.
  • Havok AI: In 2009, Havok released Havok AI, which provides advanced pathfinding capabilities for games. Havok AI provides navigation mesh generation, pathfinding and path following for video game environments.
  • Havok Script: Havok Script is a Lua-compatible virtual machine designed for video game development. It is shipped as part of the Havok Script Studio.
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What does this mean for you the consumer in the end? Probably not a lot in the short term. Microsoft’s ludicrous R&D budget will probably mean that Havok’s capabilities grow faster, and its core technologies might appear in the company’s games first before heading elsewhere. It’ll be used to great effect in Crackdown 3, most likely.

Last Updated: October 5, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Grand Admiral Chief

    Microhavok, where will you fall today?

    • Pariah

      I can think of at least One place.

    • RinceThat

      lol I see what you did there.

  • Pieter Kruger

    MICROSOFT 4 LIFE!!!

    • Pariah

      This comment makes no sense. O_o

    • RinceThat

      PS FOUR LIFE

      • Pariah

        And this even less so. O_o

        • RinceThat

          FOUR to ONE?

          • Pariah

            Let me ask one thing (note the absence of a capital):
            How does an article about middleware purchased by Microsoft become a conversation about the consoles?

          • RinceThat

            How does finding Fossils in South Africa turn into a racial debate? 😛

            For shits and giggles. Microsoft shits while PlayStation Giggles 😛

            I can see why sites on the internet are slowly shutting down their comment sections. Too many oVgs out there.

          • That does not compute as the core South African rule is everything can be turned into a racial debate.

            Here is an example. In Bloem they created a new hardier mielie. However the project had to be scrapped because the mielie would have caused a massive job cut due to less crop TLC concerns. The white scientists were called racist because they were essentially cutting down on black employment by making a better mielie.

            I mean come on FFS!

          • Pariah

            Jou mielie man…

            😛

          • Los my mielie uit! 😛

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            For real?

          • RinceThat

            SA is an interesting place to live in lol Still in its baby steps.

            They discovered water on Mars yet the comment thread on IOL turnes into a racial mud flinging match. I still cant tell who is trolling and who is not. I think they also shut the comment section.

          • Yeah the thing is Water was on Mars in 2014 already.

          • RinceThat

            lol What does Saving Private Ryan, Interstellar and the Martian all have in common?

            Saving Matt Damon 😛

          • Martian however was about Matt Damon …. Space Pirate!

            🙂

          • Hammersteyn

            I blame @pieterkruger:disqus, totally not biased 😛

          • Pieter Kruger

            ONE to NONE?

          • RinceThat

            Depends if you have internet.

  • RinceThat

    Somebody needs to buy that Fox Engine and rent it out as middle ware. Its better than Unreal.

    MAKE IT SO.

    • HairyEwok

      If I could I would just rent out Kojima O.o

      • RinceThat

        HAI

    • UE4 is pretty damn amazing tbh.

      • RinceThat

        Every darn Unreal upgrade is amazeballs. I remember when they revealed 2 with the globular effects used in the worm for Gears 2. Brilliant shit. Now emagine if that engine was 1st party and was buried with Konami?

        • True but luckily it isn’t and UE4 has an even better dedicated team than Frostbite4.

  • HairyEwok

    Microsoft getting physics middleware to calculate how hard your bank balance will fall with micro transactions?

    • Pariah

      Wrong company. You’re looking for EA. Go straight, turn right at the t-junction, first door on your left. 😛

      • HairyEwok

        You’re so kind, but wait whats this, you want a micro transaction for the directions now?

        • Pariah

          Oh you spotted that? I thought it was nicely hidden, too. Darn it…

        • RinceThat

          Like Tony Hawk?

          • HairyEwok

            Neversoft and EA would make a fantastic team.

          • Not as good a Team as Konami and Ubisoft. 😛

          • HairyEwok

            Ubinami!

          • Grand Admiral Chief

            HAI

          • Their Logo would instantly be Iconic. 🙂

          • HairyEwok

            The colours seem to work

          • Now that is ICONIC! (By Ubisofts definition ofc)

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