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Havok Team Profiled 26

Posted by Zonk
from the and-let-slip-the-dogs-of-war dept.
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."
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Havok Team Profiled

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  • List of titles (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @05:53PM (#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.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @06:05PM (#11682511) Journal
    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.
    • 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?

      • "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. Y
        • "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'
          • "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
    • 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 gravit
      • 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 w
        • youre right. That's how current AI works.

          MY point is that TRUE INTELLIGENCE would mean that they'd figure it out for themselves..
          • 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.
          • by Anonymous Coward
            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 t
      • 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 ri
    • by Anonymous Coward
      +5 funny!!!
      or -1 idiot!!!!

      you decide...
      • +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!
    • 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!

    • Please. Those highways were intelligently designed.
    • 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

  • 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*

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields

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