×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Havok Team Profiled

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the and-let-slip-the-dogs-of-war dept.

Games 26

obchrisj writes "Chief Technology Office of Havok, Steve Collins, has spoken to FileFront about the team, their projects, and the trials and tribulations they had on their way to success. FileFront profiled Havok and their technology in an article titled: "F! True Project Story: Havok". The Havok physics engine powers many popular titles, including Valve's Half-Life 2."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

26 comments

List of titles (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11682333)

They publish a list of titles that use Havok. You'd be suprised what all is in there, its not just first person shooters.
HAVOK Title list [havok.com] here.

Re:List of titles (1)

Zevets (728720) | more than 9 years ago | (#11694854)

I believe that list is a little old. Havok lists Half Life 2 as "under development", yet it has been out for six months. There are others, including Mercenaries, Ghost Recon 2, Tribes Vengeance and many others.

The funniest part of this technology (3, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11682511)

A 3d real physics world is a core component of true artificial intelligence. Why haven't we seen artificial intelligence even though people have been researching it for 40+ years? Because you need a 3d world with true physics. This is something we're just finally seeing in games, and not executed perfectly with electromagnetism and other forces incorporated yet. We're in the infacy of true computing. Once someone makes a natural language input to interface with a 3d world: ie"Show me a forest with one tree that has red leaves." then the computer can 'understand' what a human is talking about. You could then ask it questions about the scene it's thinking about, or ask it to complete a task given certain rules: ie "You are 1' wide, make a path to the flag through a bunch of blocks scattered in the level I just created." up to the medium,"Go buy my groceries and then mow the lawn.", finally to the advanced,"Find a cure for some disease."

Now given Havok probably won't be used for true AI, another physics engine will probably do that, it is nice to see some baby steps being made in the realm. Imagine if you went back 200 years, and tried to explain a Ferrari to someone. Not only are the parts not there to make it, but the road isn't there either. You'd have to explain how cow paths would eventually evolve to be highways.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (3, Interesting)

SammyJ (590557) | more than 9 years ago | (#11682704)

Actualy people 200 years ago would easily understand the concept of highways. Hell, we've had trade routes for thousands of years. Ever hear of caravans or carriages? They used roads to travel between cities. Not to different from modern highways, no?

Also, why is a 3D engine required for AI? Wouldn't it be easier to get AI to think about abstract data, without the overhead of a 3D engine and physics simulations?

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11682885)

"Also, why is a 3D engine required for AI? Wouldn't it be easier to get AI to think about abstract data, without the overhead of a 3D engine and physics simulations?" People think in 3d, even blind people have spacial recognition.

Remember: See spot, see spot run?

You think about a dog in your head. Maybe its in a yard, or floating in space, but you think about a dog. Maybe you think about a dalmation because its spotty, but not everyone thinks the same dog.

Now imagine you're playing paintball. You see the terrain and imagine where people are, where they may be in the forest, but you're not sure until you see them. Once they disappear, you have a generally knowledge in 3d of where they may be. Also in 3d, you keep track of many of the trees around you and obsticles. If theres a river or a row of jaggers, you know you can't flee in that direction. You know where the enemy forces are, so you're not prone to run blindly at them, less you get shot in the open. People think in 3d, and figure out what might happen next.

Say you're on the road, you know in 3d the car in front of you, and if you're on roads you travelled before, you know the hard turns and stop signs. If you haven't travelled the road before, you need to go slower because unexpected terrain may get you. If you don't put a situation into 3d physics, its difficult to think about.

You can do relations like,"I like to eat steak", and the AI will remember your preference and it has nothing to do with 3d. And then later you can go,"I want something to eat." The computer would go and imagine the actions needed to eat(in a 3d model), and realize you need food as a component. Then it would search down foods you like and see steak.

You don't think you need 3d when you talk about basic stuff, but if you remember to when you were a kid and just learning basic problem solving, you'd remember you'd even use objects to count.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11682980)

Wow, that's some crazy shit you're smokin'. Where can I get some?

Re:The funniest part of this technology (2, Interesting)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11683082)

"You don't think you need 3d when you talk about basic stuff, but if you remember to when you were a kid and just learning basic problem solving, you'd remember you'd even use objects to count."

That's because animals have evolved to understand 3D space, because that's what we live in. If we could snatch pieces of information out of thin air, silently issue commands to devices across the globe, and such, it wouldn't be advantageous for us to try and visualize a network of computers in a 3D way, because we'd have our own internal representation of it in the form it most easily takes.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11683173)

"That's because animals have evolved to understand 3D space, because that's what we live in. If we could snatch pieces of information out of thin air, silently issue commands to devices across the globe, and such, it wouldn't be advantageous for us to try and visualize a network of computers in a 3D way, because we'd have our own internal representation of it in the form it most easily takes." Exactly! The computer starts with 3d, but slightly develops to become a greater thinker. It wouldn't have to run a simulation of every cell in your body to know a person is standing in a room. But if it wanted to know what is inside your body, it'd have to go to a deeper level and understand the interactions of cells going on there and the rules that go along with them. And if it'd want to know whats inside a cell, it'd go to a deeper magnification. The ways the AI would think of things wouldn't be restrained to the macro 3d world we percieve with our eyes, but would first be trained with it as children are.

For a computer to imagine a network of computers could easily be the same way you see network neighborhood. It doesn't have to render the whole globe, and all the cables across it.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (2, Interesting)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 9 years ago | (#11682859)

i dont believe AI has anything to do with 3d environments or ANYTHING of the such, in EXACTLY the same way that 3D physics engines are nowhere near to what they actually, by intelligent theory, should be.

The problem with everything here is it's people trying to do eye candy before solving the real problem: realistic, convincing environments come from EVERYTHING being involved in a physics model. The floor should be attached to a scale globe which has it's own gravity, every item should have it's own gravity, no matter how minute, and when in a shooting game, the bullets should be physical entities, and when shot should only 'fly' because there's particles/pressure in the gun pushing it outwards.

It's a long way off, but I feel many people miss the point that rather than hacksawing together various rules, it's becoming time that everything has things applied to it, no matter how insignificant. AIR should be a particle in the game's memory just like a solid object... etc etc.........

The problem? we simply don't have the processing power for this... or rather we do, but we're expected to use a hell of a lot of this for gfx processing.

Back to AI. AI isnt about designing for an environment, it's about designing for anything. That's what AI is; adaptive, thinks about whatever environment it is in and acts accordingly. IF there's restricted physics rules, it tries to figure out the limits ...etcetc............

We just don't have the power.

(IMHO)

(I could be rambling)

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

hollismb (817357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11682918)

Except, the AI has to understand the environment to be able to react to it accordingly, which is really what AI is all about. So, he's right, AI and physics go hand in hand. I'm too lazy to look for it, but there was a Slashdot story not too long ago about the AI behind Halo 2, which specifically dealt with the interaction with the environment (hiding behind objects, turning them over, jumping on top of them, etc.), and programming the AI specifically to recognize objects and where there location was, and what they could do with them. That has a lot to do with physics, in turn, me thinks.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 9 years ago | (#11683243)

youre right. That's how current AI works.

MY point is that TRUE INTELLIGENCE would mean that they'd figure it out for themselves..

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

iridium_ionizer (790600) | more than 9 years ago | (#11685101)

Actually true AI doesn't need physics necessarily, it just needs some rules that it can work around as it tries to find the best solution. Now I guess you could argue that only a 3D physics-based world can provide the complexity required to evolve precursor AI into human-level intelligence. If you read this [slashdot.org] article featured recently on Slashdot you might imagine how a 3D game could easily have evolving friendly and enemy AI based on various simple actions.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11685186)

MY point is that TRUE INTELLIGENCE would mean that they'd figure it out for themselves..

Of course, the distinction between AI and "Machine Intelligence" ... but do remember that artificial is all you need in an environment that's artificially constrained. They're not trying to get around crates to deliver flowers, they're trying to kill you, with one of two weapons they might have. Meanwhile, your interaction with the world is largely through the barrel of your own gun. It's a simple world that needs the simplicity of AI.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (3, Insightful)

iridium_ionizer (790600) | more than 9 years ago | (#11684957)

The really odd thing is that someone could create a highly complex physics simulation in a 3D graphics environment. And it would be able to run easily on most computers, if they would just use simpler graphics. Unfortunately, to my knowledge neither hobbiests nor game companies have made much of an effort to this approach.

Havoc is pretty good but even they have admitted in interviews that they dumb down the physics a bit to save processor power (90% right for 10% of the effort. They just want it to LOOK right not neccessarily BE right.

So to all of you aspiring game designers, instead of coding games that are approaching the look of A-list titles, just code simpler graphics with lots of interaction. The original Quake engine is open-sourced. There are plenty of non-proprietary methods to simulate physics (see your local university library). And you could always attach a couple of ALICE bots to some animated models. Throw in a few fun gamplay objectives. And... poof! You'd have a Katamari Damacy-like cult sucess on your hands.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11682862)

+5 funny!!!
or -1 idiot!!!!

you decide...

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11683096)

+5 ahead of your time.

The coolest part of slashdot is that they log all your comments. The negativity I get is funny because all inventors and developers get it when posing something revolutionary. But I'm fortunate enough that I can point people back and go,"Just look at how most people didn't understand the concept."

Anyway I'm writing a scientific paper for: An ai conferance [aaai.org]

Its amazing that theres an AI conferance in a city only 45 min away from where I live!

Re:The funniest part of this technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11685130)

Hey Mr. World Class Game Designer! Please, before you inflict yourself on any grown up academics, at least do them the courtesy of learning to spell "conference". p.s. try sending your paper to Social Text.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

Ian Action (836876) | more than 9 years ago | (#11682949)

Why haven't we seen artificial intelligence even though people have been researching it for 40+ years? Because you need a 3d world with true physics.

There is an amazing 3d world out there, with even more amazing physics... I'm in it right now, and let me tell you, it's amazing!

Re:The funniest part of this technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11684071)

Awesome! Where do I logon?

Re:The funniest part of this technology (2, Funny)

snorklewacker (836663) | more than 9 years ago | (#11685190)

Yeah, but the lag til you get to respawn is terrible -- no one's actually managed to even do it. There's rumours of some players who did, but they were in god mode.

Re:The funniest part of this technology (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11686725)

Why haven't we seen artificial intelligence even though people have been researching it for 40+ years? Because you need a 3d world with true physics.

Halo 2 has completely unbelievable physics yet arguably the best AI in any modern game (how the hell can I jump about 2 meters into the air? Why can't a tank round destroy a rock cube? etc)

Before that, there was Halo 1 (which speaks for itself). Before that there was Return to Castle Wolfenstein and the helmets that would pop off if you shot it (remember how the AI would sometimes kick grenades back at you?) And before that there was Half-Life, which had unarguably the best AI at the time (AI working in teams? Flanking manuevers?! Amazing!)

Its longer a problem with hardware or physics anymore. Halo 1 and 2 managed to create awesome AI on hardware which is on par with a 4 year old computer. Fine its on a console, but what about Half-Life 1? The Unreal Tournament series has some pretty good AI (although you could claim they 'cheated'). Far Cry has some of the best AI in a modern game (although it pushed most computers a little too hard.) Doom 3's AI wasn't special but they managed to put it in while creating computer crippling graphics.

Poor AI is largely the fault of rising multiplayer. Companies don't want to spend money on single-player AI anymore and are regulating it to basic "see player, attack player" systems that you see today. Why make AI when you can just tell players to play against human players online for no extra cost? You were gonna put online play in anyway, why not cut corners?

from the and-let-slip-the-dogs-of-war dept. (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11682562)

A reference to Julius Caesar [rice.edu]. That did-you-know aside, I don't like how engines like Havok and Meqon [meqon.com] slow down so horribly with more than a moderate number of objects. It adds slightly (I think) to Half-Life 2's stuttering and makes realistic implosions almost impossible. I don't know how to optimize them though so I think I'll have to live with it (or get better processors). *sigh*

Parties, and those Havok guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11690966)

go ahead and mod me off-topic...

but have you met those Havok guys?

Every year they throw the *best* party at GDC in San Jose... this year I think GDC has moved to San Francisco, and word is that the party is at SWIG on Tuesday (March 8th).

If you're in San Francisco then definitely make a point of heading along.

(and they've all got the most AWESOME Irish accents - and pretty good looking too)
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...