I’m willing to bet a considerable amount of money that I wasn’t the only person whose jaw hit the ground the first time I used the Gravity gun in Half-Life 2. For those not aware, the company that made that cool physics possible goes under the name of Havok and boy did they cause it. As the main proponents of physics engines that run on the CPU rather than dedicated hardware it should come as no surprise that the company has caught the attention of Intel, who have purchased Havok for an undisclosed amount.
Havok will operate (at least initially) as a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel and moving forward will continue to lend its technology to games and films. Famous titles that have benefited from Havok include BioShock and MotorStorm and films such as Kingdom of Heaven and The Matrix.
What will be interesting to see is how Intel’s involvement with the company will bear on the games developed using Havok physics. We’re used by now to games being optimised to run on various manufacturer’s graphics cards, with such programs as nVidia’s “The Way It’s Meant To Be Played” offering improved reliability and performance on a particular vendors cards, but could we start to see games optimised for Intel CPU’s? The SSE instruction set already gives Intel processors an advantage in some applications, so it doesn’t seem entirely impossible for similar optimisations to be included in Havok.
Whatever comes of the acquisition, be it simply yet another source of income for Intel or something bigger, there’s no doubt the move is an interesting one.
Intel press release.