Thursday, June 12th 2008

AMD and Havok to Optimize Physics for Gaming

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."Source: AMD
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19 Comments on AMD and Havok to Optimize Physics for Gaming

#1
acperience7
So then will nVidia users suffer from the games being optimized for AMD products? I also heard that Intel has a stake in Havok so I'm guessing that this will not impact their processors? This kind of stuff is cool, but when it hurts another group of customers it loses some of it's appeal.
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#2
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
So it seems this may be a way for AMD to somewhat counter Nvidia buying Ageia out. Im glad to see AMD partnering with Havok. However, I didnt know the goal of game companies was to do most processing on the cpu with physics and such on the GPU. I thought the GPU was supposed to lessen the burden on the cpu.
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#3
Weer
Didn't nVidia buy Havoc?
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#4
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
TPU has a copy of warmonger on its games downloads if you want to see just how much physics will kill your cpu
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#5
[I.R.A]_FBi
i c what u did there ...

edging out nvidia ... if its already available on my cpu why buya graphics card for the same thing ...
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#6
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
I may give that a try later today when I get home. I always though physics was from a dedicated GPU type hardware solution. Ive had to install AGEIA software for physics on certain games I play, and Havok as well.
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#7
ASharp
by: Weer
Didn't nVidia buy Havoc?
No, Intel bought Havoc. nvidia bought AGEIA.
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#9
Millenia
AMD's in a very intruguing phase with physics atm; they can also support the open-source PhysX later on - having a very good support for both standards where as Intel and Nvidia are both doing their own thing.
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#10
imperialreign
by: WarEagleAU
So it seems this may be a way for AMD to somewhat counter Nvidia buying Ageia out. Im glad to see AMD partnering with Havok. However, I didnt know the goal of game companies was to do most processing on the cpu with physics and such on the GPU. I thought the GPU was supposed to lessen the burden on the cpu.
generally true, especially in theory, but GPUs have proven themselves to be faster and more efficient at physics processing - I think it all boils down to the differences in architecture between a GPU and a CPU.


This is great news for the red camp, though - being able to partner with someone who is already dominant in the market should be a big boost for their morale, revenue, and ddevelopment.
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#11
GSG-9
I hope this goes well for them, I dont think Havoc is the beast it once was. When half life 2 came out it had the physics market. All of it, they just did all the physics. Now they have competition, hardware based competition. Not saying there not good by any standards, just saying they might be feeling a bit of pressure to do something.
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#12
panchoman
Sold my stars!
looking up for amd! their gpu's are extremely powerful at processing(f@h,etc.) and i'd definently like to see some phyics thrown into the mix!
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#13
sfnox
Physics engines in games rocks!
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#14
tkpenalty
Since the HD2~4k series have programmable shaders you could probably dedicate some of the GPU power for physics, this function could be intergrated at hardware level easily. GPUs have massive FP power and physics calculations are nothing for GPUs these days...

(When the hell are we going to get raytracing btw?)

Lets say, HD3870 + A HD2600 for physics.
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#16
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Winners: AMD (+ATI), Intel. Loser: NVidia.

Pretty rational. The CUDA port of PhysX only favours NVidia GPU's, it's a closed standard. Not to say that Havoc is open, but that it's 'open' to other players. Havoc runs on any x86 processor with SIMD optimisations (SSE, SSE2....). Intel of-course benefits, so does AMD with its processors, what's more, AMD's answer to NVidia's GPGPU standards, ATI Stream Computing spells wonders for Havoc, if they could port it to ATI's GPGPU standards, we have a potent competitor to NVidia offering Ageia PhysX on its GPU.

But then ofcourse, if you have a machine that's Intel+NVidia, you end up with both physics API's :ohwell:
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#17
adrianx
amd make road for the future processor ... FUSSION :D
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#18
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: adrianx
amd make road for the future processor ... FUSSION :D
That's Fusion. It's just a CPU + GPU for great budget builds. AMD were the first to integrate a memory controller onto a CPU for latency reduction, now all they're upto is a GPU in it. What's more is that where there's GPU, there's an interface. Hence, expect the CPU to have a PCI-Express switch integrated....RIP Northbridge.
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#19
GSG-9
by: btarunr
...expect the CPU to have a PCI-Express switch integrated....RIP Northbridge.
Thats a very good point
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