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Announcing Unity and Havok Physics for DOTS

March 19, 2019 in Technology | 3 min. read
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During our GDC Keynote, we announced our partnership with Havok to build a next-generation physics system for Unity. Today, we want to give you more details on what we’ve been collaborating on.

Update: Havok Physics is now available as a Preview package in the Unity Package Manager. Learn more about the integration and how to get started.

When Worlds Collide

When we first set out to build our Data-Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS), we wanted to empower creators to build rich, interactive, and dynamic worlds. To achieve this, we needed a high performance, data-oriented physics system. Through our collaboration with Havok, we were able to develop a brand new physics engine built on the DOTS technology. This allows us to create physics simulations that are scalable, deliver exceptional performance, and are compatible with modern networking needs.

The new solution consists of two offerings: Unity Physics and Havok Physics. Unity and Havok Physics both interface with the DOTS framework, which means that although they serve different production needs, it is possible for a project to seamlessly transition from one solution to the other or use them both simultaneously for different use cases. Both solutions benefit from the same powerful, accessible tools and workflows Unity users have come to rely on for their real-time interactive content.

The DOTS framework allows us to build a single data protocol for physics. This means you can author your content and game code once and it works with either Unity Physics or Havok Physics. See the below diagram for an architectural overview of how the two physics systems are integrated with DOTS.

Unity Physics

The Unity Physics integration represents the default physics system in Unity for DOTS-based projects and is currently in Preview release form. It is backed by our own DOTS physics solver and written using the C# DOTS framework. By using a stateless design and not leveraging caching, we are able to simplify the complexity of Unity Physics, empowering people to easily tweak, modify, and learn as we evolve the system. Our goal is to give the power back to you as creators and let you easily extend the system to meet your production needs.

The Unity Physics system offers the following:

  • The cache-less design is compatible with network rollback architecture for input critical simulations such as fighting games, first-person shooters, etc.
  • Interoperable and data-compatible with Havok Physics.

Unity Physics is available right now via the Unity Package Manager and is compatible with the latest 2019.1 Beta release.

Havok Physics

The Havok Physics integration represents a high-end solution for customers that have more complex physics needs. The solution is backed by the industry-leading Havok physics engine that powers over half the top titles of this console generation and brings a wealth of performance and stability enhancements for complex physics simulation needs. It uses the same C# DOTS framework as Unity Physics but is backed by the closed source, proprietary Havok Physics engine in native C++.

The Havok Physics system will offer the following:

  • Caching system provides stability and high performance for complex scenarios such as stacks of dynamic rigid bodies; systems of rigid bodies constrained together; fast-moving rigid bodies; and scenes with lots of dynamic rigid bodies.
  • Interoperable and data-compatible with Unity Physics.

The Havok Physics package will be available later this summer.

What’s Next?

Our vision for the future of physics in Unity is to provide a complete physics solution that supports new workflows for creating, editing, and debugging physics simulations. We see this partnership as the next step in empowering you as creators to build these rich, interactive, and dynamic worlds. If you’d like to join in on the discussion, head over to the Unity Forums and let us know what you think. We’re always eager to understand our customers needs so feel free to share problems, insights, requirements, and any feedback you have about our new physics systems!

March 19, 2019 in Technology | 3 min. read
Topics covered