Intel has been quite openly sniping at Nvidia this week, but today the company adopted a subtler approach to ribbing its rival. Now that the nominations for the BAFTA games awards are out in the open, Havok (which is owned by Intel) is relishing the fact that ten of the nominated games (making for a total of 27 nominations throughout 12 of the 14 categories) feature Havok-powered tools and software.

This, says Havok, is “six times greater than any other physics engine,” which in other words means: “six times greater than PhysX.” We're not entirely sure how you divide either ten or 27 by six into a whole number, so we assume that the "six times" figure refers to the number of categories.

Either way, Havok claims that its physics technology "dominates" the 2008 BAFTA award nominations. Havok’s managing director, David O’Meara, claimed that “the significant amount of nominations Havok-built games received speaks volumes for our technical leadership and clear differentiation in the market.

He also added that “Havok continues to offer the highest-quality and most comprehensive set of cross-platform modular tools available today, which makes Havok the solutions provider of choice for top-tier developers worldwide. Havok enables game studios of any size the ability to deliver more compelling gameplay, character interaction and physical effects in less time with substantial cost-effectiveness.

The Havok-powered games nominated for BAFTAs include Fallout 3, Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, Fable II and Guitar Hero: World Tour. Havok also claims that over 65 games are currently lined up to use Havok Physics in 2009, and points out that 200 existing titles already use the technology, including the Halo series and Half-Life 2.

However, it’s also worth noting that these games rely on the CPU to process physics, and a large number of games support Nvidia’s PhysX API in the same way. Nvidia also promises that more games will feature GPU-accelerated PhysX this year. The company licensed PhysX to both EA and 2K in December last year, and Mirror’s Edge already features GPU-accelerated PhysX effects.

However, Nvidia is currently on its own with GPU-accelerated PhysX effects at the moment, despite offering the technology to AMD. Instead, AMD has signed up to support Havok and has even expressed doubts about whether PhysX will survive in the future. In December last year, AMD’s director of technical marketing at its Graphics Product Group, Godfrey Cheng, said that "There is no plan for closed and proprietary standards like PhysX," adding that "As we have emphasised with our support for OpenCL and DX11, closed and proprietary standards will die."

Are Havok’s BAFTA nominations really a sign of Havok’s technical leadership, and which physics API stands the best chance of survival in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04