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I have been working on a game in Ogre for the last 6 months or so. It started as a learning project, and after a few rewrites it actually turned into a real game project. Physics scared me, and using Bullet with its lack of documentation was a nightmare, but I was able to atleast get some basics added and learned a lot. So as of now I am using Ogre with its default animation system (fairly basic) and Bullet Physics.

I had always wanted to use Havok when I started out, but due to lack of integration information on the Ogre forums, and lack of tutorials on the net, I decided against it. Now that I am actually at the point where Bullet is just too much of a headache to proceed with (staring at forum threads praying someone answers) and the Ogre animation system is so basic, I am considering switching to Havok for Physics and Animation.

The Physics system looks extremely polished and easy to use. The animation system looks incredible with the retargeting/blending/etc. The documentation is incredibly detailed as well (I guess when you come from Bullet, any documentation looks amazing)

So my question is, as I am still somewhat of a 'newbie' to game development, should I just stick with what I am using now or should I make the switch over to Havok? The physics looks like I could get my project back to where it is now with minimal effort, and be able to expand much faster. The animation aspect looks extremely daunting as far as integrating it with Ogre.

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It would help if you specify if you intend to sell this game, since Havok is free for non-commercial use. –  David Young Oct 7 '10 at 8:49
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

(Disclaimer: I work for Havok)

There is a binary-only version of Havok Physics and Animation for Win32, available through Intel here. It's been a while since I read through the licensing agreement, but IIRC, essentially it's completely free if you're selling your game for less that 10 USD, and free but subject to an approval process if the price is more than 10 USD. The longer explanation is here.

Intel has a forum that's dedicated to supporting the free version. Havok support engineers read and reply on the forum regularly (plus an occasional guest appearance by yours truly).

As for the animation component, you could initially keep most of your decompression/playback/blending in Ogre, and just convert the final pose to Havok format for ragdoll driving. Once that's working, you could switch the animation format and your toolchain over to Havok if you though it was worth it; otherwise you could just stick with the Ogre tools/format.

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Go on with Havok boy, it's the number one in the world if you want to blend ragdoll with animations, it's well documented, performing, and has so many features that a life is not enough for discovering them all.

Regarding the license now it's totally free of charge on the PC platform, even for commercial projects.

Of course we are talking only about havok physics and animation, because you would have to pay for cloth, ai, behavior, script and destruction.

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I can't say whether or not it's a good idea, but you could ask Havok if you could evaluate their package to see if it is as easy to integrate as you think. Then if you're ready to give them many thousands of dollars (it was $75k last time I knew anything about that aspect) you can get some of the source code too.

The nice thing about Ogre and Bullet is that they are open source so you get all of the code. The code is always the most certain place to find the answers to questions as other documentation may be out of date. I don't remember Havok's documentation but I never really spent a lot of time with it.

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From my point of view the main difference between bullet/ogre and havok configuration is licensing. While ogre/bullet comes with open source code, need for self effort and time, havok comes with a licensing cost. So this decision is based on your purpose. I would always prefer gnu,gpl,zlib like licensed products for my development environment as long as I want to be free on distributing or selling or sharing my products.

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