Getting Started with Havok

Getting Started with Havok

So you've downloaded your free version of Havok Physics and Animation and realized you don't know how to get started with it...

Step 1: Getting Havok demos running

Firstly, open up the Quickstart Guide in the Docs folder. Now section "1.2 Evaluation Checklist" lists a few thing you might want to do if you're evaluating using Havok for a larger game or considering buying a full license but if you just want to get something working with Havok you can safely skip this section for now.

So jump ahead to section "1.3 Getting Started with Havok" and do as it says, as it steps through getting the example demos up and running. Off you go, come back when you've tried all that.

Step 2: Getting Havok into your own application.

So, now you have Havok's demos building and running and that's awesome but it's not very useful if you don't know how to get the functionality of the demos into your own application :) And with 500+ demos it can be hard to know where to begin.

Go find section "1.4 StepByStep Demos" which walks through one of the StepByStep demos. These "StepByStep" demos are pretty well commented and provide the absolute bare bones required to get Havok & Havok Physics in your application.

These demos also don't have a graphical element because Havok Physics is just that, physics. Of course, the 500+ demos we provide, which demonstrate particular features of the engine (located in Demo/Demos), are visualised in our DemoFramework so you can see what's happening. However the "StepByStep" and other "StandAloneDemos" strip away anything that isn't needed so you see what is required and what isn't required to get Havok set up and running. The lesson here is, how you chose to render the objects simulated by Havok in your own application is up to you.

So now you know how to get Havok into your own application, now the world is your oyster.

What you do next is completely up to you but I'd suggest

  • Finish reading the Quickstart Guide and having another look at the lists in section "1.2 Evaluation Checklist"
  • Check out the instructional videos by HavokEnthusiast on YouTube
  • Have a read of Daniele's brilliant "Creating a simple game using Havok Physics" sticky post. This post goes through the basics of using Havok Physics in a game (as well touching on how/when to draw the physical objects with Freeglut) with full source code available to download and dig through yourself.

If you aren't sure how to do something in particular, see if you can find one of our demos that does what you're trying to do (when the Demo/Demos application is running you can search them all by pressing "/" from the main menu). Note, the API demos are meant to be read mostly as source code because they were designed to show you how to use a particular function (or group of functions) in code, so the visual part of them is rarely very exciting.

The Manual/User Guide located in the Docs folder is also a great source of information. We know it's big (we've got a big engine) so we don't expect you to read it in one sitting but remember that it is there to help you. We don't just write over 1000 pages of documentation for the fun of it :)

Finally when you're stuck and banging you're head against a wall, have a read of "How to report a Havok crash" before posting a problem in the forums. As cliché as it sounds, following the advice in that post will help us help you.

Amy Developer Support Engineer Havok
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Hi Havok_Amy,

Thank you very much for this post, but I have just a small question !  Can we port Havok to FreeBSD ?

How can we use it with Intel Perceptual SDK? i am not able to join the missing link from the PDF of SDK release Gold version unable to find the " %VISION_SDK%\Source\Vision\Samples\Engine\CharacterAnimation
\CharacterAnimationDX9_win32_vs2010.vcxproj sample" .Need help urgently?

Abhishek Nandy

Hi Abhishek 81--

The Havok Vision Engine is not part of the PCXS release. Are you using Project:Anarchy?  If so, you should post your question on Thanks!


I have downloaded the software from try Havok Link.I was able to add the Perceptual Libraries as per the PDF i am trying find ways to integrate the Character Mapping  Character Animation to accept input from  Creative Gesture Camera.I am experimenting but is it possible to use Intel Perceptual SDk with the demos given?

Abhishek Nandy


Ahmed BH wrote:

Thank you very much for this post, but I have just a small question !  Can we port Havok to FreeBSD ?

Hello Ahmed,

Havok 's free binary version only supports Win32 PCs, so FreeBSD is not supported.

The commercial distribution has a UNIX build, though, if you're interested.

Val - Havok Software Engineer - Physics

I downloaded the 2014.1 content tools and SDK, and there are no docs in the Docs folder. There are release notes, but those don't give me any information that's actually useful.

Hi everyone,

Could you please submit any problems you are having in a separate thread?

This is supposed to be just a tutorial and we're not planning on providing support on this specific thread.


Amy Developer Support Engineer Havok

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