The first rule of Fight Club, is you don't... Wait, that was Project Mayhem? Oh, and this one is Project Anarchy. So many great movie jokes ruined because somebody gave this thing the wrong name. Alright, let's just be serious for a minute.
If you're a gamer, you've probably heard of a little company called Havok. You may have even heard of a few games using its Physics engine like Battlefield 3, BioShock (1 & 2), Assassin's Creed (all of 'em), Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and a few hundred more. Ok, maybe Havok isn't so small, but it is moving aggressively to take on smaller devices. Today, the company announced the release of Project Anarchy, a cross-platform 3D game engine with support for both x86 and ARM hardware architectures running iOS (ARM only), Android, and Tizen. Here's the kicker: it's absolutely free! Well, mostly free.
The deal is pretty simple, Havok is making its Vision Engine, Physics technology, Animation Studio, and Havok AI software free for developers on iOS, Android, and Tizen. However, there are a few things the company "asks" for in return. To begin with, if you develop a game for any platform that supports x86 (Android and Tizen), then you are required to also build and distribute an x86-compatible version. That's probably not a big deal, since it just means you're targeting more customers. The other request is that you be open to "co-marketing." It's a vaguely worded expectation, but the terms seem to be set on a case-by-case basis. On the upside, the company does quite a bit to promote potential hits.
While it's obvious Havok is making a play for the increasingly valuable mobile space, it will have to take on the longstanding leader, Unity. For those following along, the Unity engine seems to be turning up everywhere lately, and just last month made its own mobile development tools free.
While both companies offer their engines at no cost, reasonably priced Pro versions with additional features are available. In the case of Project Anarchy, paid licenses will net professional support, reduce marketing obligations, and the ability to target other platforms like XBOX360 and Windows Phone. Unity also requires companies with $100,000 in yearly turnover to purchase Pro licenses, but the cost should be trivial for companies of that size. Ultimately, the competition will be great for everybody; since the two products are essentially free (or cheap to large developers), they have to battle over features and performance in an effort to best each other.
At the moment, the Mac installer crashes on startup with a working version coming soon, but the Windows package is ready to go. If you would like to give Project Anarchy a try, download it from here to get started. And, in no way should you feel compelled to build a game based on Fight Club, because that wouldn't be totally awesome.