The folks at Havok are making a show this week of debuting their first totally new product in more than five years: Havok FX, cross-platform middleware designed to embody in-game visual effects (say, chunks of debris or wisps of smoke) in a way that renders them persistent, interactive pieces of the game world.
"Havok FX is a CPU-optimized system building on and integrating fully with Havok Physics," says Havok product development chief Andrew Bowell, who claims that FX is designed with a "lightweight" C++ API and runtime to be integrated into developers' extant particle systems.
Bowell tells Gamasutra that FX has been in development for a number of years; it's meant to work by "thoroughly utilizing all available multithreaded resources in combination with a new set of specialized algorithms for large-scale low cost collision detection and solving. As Havok FX is focused on physically powering visual effects, the new algorithms are focused first on multithreaded performance and secondarily on simulation fidelity."
Though some developers may recognize the FX technology or even have some experience working with it (Havok has been beta testing it since early this year, and it's already being incorporated into upcoming projects like Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Siege), it will only be rolling out as a general release later this year. For now, developers can make a request to evaluate the new tech through Havok's sales site.