Havok physics engine comes to Mac, thanks to Blizzard

in Mac Software edited January 2014

Havok physics engine comes to Mac, thanks to Blizzard

By Peter Cohen

In what may turn out to be one of the most significant pieces of Mac game news in quite some time, Havok, developer of a commonly used physics engine used in many popular games, announced Thursday that its newest engine has been licensed by World of Warcraft maker Blizzard Entertainment for both Mac and PC.

This is the first time ever that the Havok engine has been licensed for the Mac. As a physics engine, Havok is ?middleware,? licensed by game developers who want to incorporate realistic object interaction, character animation and special effects in their games without having to write the code to control such attributes themselves.

Havok is cross-platform and has been used on major PC and console games such as Halo 2, Half Life 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and many other top-selling titles. Its absence on the Mac up until now ? rumored to be due mainly to the high cost of licensing the technology ? has led to the outright cancellation of Mac game projects such as Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, and has contributed to the demise of other, unannounced projects from major Mac game publishers.

It?s also led to some creative work on behalf of Mac game makers who are desperate to get certain titles onto the Mac without having to use Havok. The PC version of Age of Empires III, for example, uses Havok, but MacSoft?s developers elected instead to replace that technology with Ageia?s rival PhysX technology, which is already available on the Mac at no charge.

?The Mac is an important piece of technology and because of the cross-platform nature of Havok?s technology, the port to Mac was easy to do. Furthermore, Blizzard Entertainment?s commitment to OS X and to the Mac community is a good indication of the growth potential of the Mac as a games platform. Blizzard has always put out great games on the Mac, and we look forward to Havok becoming a part of that tradition,? said Jeff Yates, Havok?s vice president, Product Management, in a statement.

The Havok 4.0 engine was released in July, 2006. The latest major revision to the physics engine is billed as ?a modular suite of artist tools and run-time technologies? that enables game developers to incorporate advanced in-game play physics, character animations, behaviors and special effects in their titles.

Blizzard announced that it plans to incorporate Havok 4.0 in ?upcoming games.? Blizzard is well-known to Mac gamers for its legendary Diablo and Warcraft series, and the enormously popular online role playing game World of Warcraft. But outside of an expansion pack for that game called The Burning Crusade, which is still in development, Blizzard has kept tight reins on its future game development plans.

Terms of Blizzard?s Havok 4.0 license were not disclosed.

Links: MacWorld

MacWorld Game Room

Inside Mac Games

First of all I'm a bit surprised that no one has posted this and secondly no one seems to care about all the news that has come out about Mac Gaming in general.



Arstechnica and InsideMacGames write about some OpenGL optimizations which were privately announced at WWDC two weeks ago.

According to the articles, the new Mac Pro already incorporates the new multi-threaded OpenGL in the pre-installed version of Mac OS X (10.4.7). The official release of the new version of OpenGL for existing Mac owners remains uncertain.

According to some people I've talked to, multi-threaded OpenGL games will see huge gains in performance. With multi-threaded OpenGL, the game, for example, can run off one core/CPU, while OpenGL can work on the second core/processor for its processing. So they work in concurrent fashion instead of co-habitating one CPU.

One demo reportedly had a doubling of frame rate when taking advantage of the multi-threaded OpenGL. And with dual and multi-core processors becoming commonplace, many customers will be able to take advantage of these optimizations.

Macworld points out that individual games have to be tailored for the new version of OpenGL before seeing the benefits, but game developers seem enthusiastic about its release.


All of this would indicate that Apple and Companies like Blizzard are trying to improve the state of gaming on the Mac, yet it seems like most Mac fans don't care, which is a bit confusing...

Anyways personally I'm excited with all this news and I can't wait to see what great games we'll see in the future! When I get a MacBook Pro in the future I know that all the games I will buy will have to be Mac compatible or I won't buy them, I will not use Boot Camp for gaming. If a game maker wants my money they will have to be cross platform compatible.

Btw does anyone else think that Apple, with the introduction of games for the iPod, might release similar versions of the games for our Macs? I hope so, this would prove that Apple cares at least in part about Mac gaming.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    Yeah, having Havok is huge.

    Especially because more and more games are using it, I've heard that it was becoming a significant impediment to Mac game development (beyond the whole run Windows games thing easily thing, anyway).
  • Reply 2 of 3
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    This doesn't fix the astronomical licensing fees that porting houses will still have to pay.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    Originally Posted by Placebo

    This doesn't fix the astronomical licensing fees that porting houses will still have to pay.

    True, but perhaps in the future the prices could come down, "perhaps" if not maybe Apple could help out companies like Blizzard. Also from some of the things I've read it seems that Apple and Blizzard have been working together quite a bit in the last few months.

    This would also mean that like I said before that Apple could start making games themselves, nothing too fancy, just casual games likes the ones for the iPod. The casual game market seems to be getting bigger and Apple could get a piece of that Pie.
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