Cry havok, and let slip the dogs of war

by: John -
Ah physics. How you were touted not too long ago and forgotten only to be rearing your head again. Today Havok and AMD announced plans to investigate optimizing physics effects on AMD's line of products. I'm still a little disappointed the use of video cards for physics calculations haven't come about so while this news is certainly good, I'm not holding my breath. As the release states, they are exploring possibilities so nothing really concrete is coming out of this yet. I'll be surprised if anything does come out it this year.
AMD and Havok to Optimize Physics for Gaming

AMD and Havok announce plans to optimize physics processing on the AMD platform

SUNNYVALE and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — June 12, 2008 — AMD (NYSE: AMD) and Havok today announced plans to jointly investigate the optimization of physics effects utilizing AMD’s full line of products.

With over 100 developers and 300 leading titles already using Havok’s physics engine - Havok Physics – the company has clearly defined its position as the leading developer of game physics. By working together, both companies are demonstrating their commitment to open standards and continued support for the needs of the game community.

“As the complexity and visual fidelity of video games increases, AMD wants to take advantage of opportunities to improve the game experience,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD. “By working with the clear market leader in physics software, AMD can optimize our platforms to consistently deliver the best possible visual experience to the gamer.”

Havok Physics scales extremely well across the entire family of AMD processors, including quad-core products such as the AMD Phenom™ X4. As part of the collaboration, Havok and AMD plan to further optimize the full range of Havok technologies on AMD x86 superscalar processors. The two companies will also investigate the use of AMD’s massively parallel ATI Radeon GPUs to manage appropriate aspects of physical world simulation in the future.

“The success of Havok as a cross platform software company is predicated on our willingness to listen to the needs of our customers,” said David O’Meara, managing director of Havok. “The feedback that we consistently receive from leading game developers is that core game play simulation should be performed on CPU cores. The clear priority of game developers is performance and scalability on of the CPU. Beyond core simulation, however, the capabilities of massively parallel products offer technical possibilities for computing certain types of simulation. We look forward to working with AMD to explore these possibilities.”

Today’s game experience demands a balanced platform approach, one that combines the right CPU and GPU horsepower. A number of game aspects, including advanced physics processing, are optimized for CPUs, while the latest DirectX 10.1 games demand the latest GPUs. AMD is striving to deliver the best of both worlds, with highly capable CPU and GPU technology that partners like Havok can use as their canvas to deliver the best experience possible.

"Physics is an important part of today's game experience, and in the quest for greater realism the usage and requirements of physics computation is expected to increase,” said Dean McCarron, principal analyst, Mercury Research. New technologies that improve physics simulation will enhance the gaming experience.
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