How much interaction do you want in your PC games? It used to be that graphics were the number one factor in picking up a new game but now players are asking more and more about interactions in the environment. One company that has provided such interaction is Havok who developed a physics engine that has been used in a ton of games, including most famously in Valve's first person shooter Half-Life 2. Recently, Havok announced plans for a new physics engine, Havok FX, that would use Shader Model 3.0 graphics cards to further enhance game interactions and physics.
In the other corner we have AGEIA which has its own physics software engine, the PhysX API, but is also pushing their own enhancement called the PhysX physics processing chip. Officially revealed last year, the chip is now being put on add-on cards that people can select if they buy a machine from Dell, Alienware, Falcon Northwest or other PC makers. Add-on cards from BFG and Asus are scheduled to ship to stores next week. The first game that supports the AGEIA physics chip is UbiSoft's latest military tactical shooter Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter which shipped to stores this week. A free playable demo of the game that also supports the AGEIA processor was released on the Internet last week.
However, Havok is not letting AGEIA off the hook and earlier this week their marketing manager sent over to FiringSquad some comments and claims about the AGEIA support for Advanced Warfighter. For people who did not see our original post, you can read it at http://www.firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=10096
. We immediately sent this press notice over to AGEIAís PR reps and on Friday they sent us a point-by-point rebuttal of the claims made by Havok. For your point of reference, the Havok statements are in italics while the AGEIA rebuttal statements are in bold. Weíve also included two screenshots from Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter as well as 10 shots from Cell Factor.
Havok: In advance of our E3 press releases, which we will send on Monday, May 9, we wanted to highlight a few facts about Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter for PC (GRAW) that is releasing this week.
We know that there will be claims made by AGEIA in respect of GRAW for PC, and we wanted to let you know where Havok stands on that.
AGEIA: We will of course make factual claims regarding Ghost Recon :
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is a great game which highlights some of what can be done with AGEIA PhysX to enable hardware-accelerated physics beyond the standard software driven effects already inherent to the game.
While Ghost Recon is a very interesting game which we applaud, itís only a taste of what you can expect in the next generation of games to which PhysX will bring literally 1,000s of interactive elements of physics into the gameplay itself. Have you seen CellFactor, a PhysX-enabled game demo which brings physics into the game? Explosions cause collateral damage, cloth sways and tears naturally, fluids of all types flow and impact the environment and players, telekinesis powers which control moveable objects that can be used as weapons in the game play. This exciting multiplayer game demo was shown at GDC in March. Itís available for download now. And itís the shape of things to come.
What you see today is just the beginning. Letís just start with the fact that PhysX is integrated in Epicís Unreal Engine 3. That alone will lead to a rush of PhysX-enabled games.