New CryEngine vid shows next-gen vision

Digital Foundry analyses high-def version.

CryTek has completed development of its new CryEngine 3 middleware and released a new trailer demonstrating its vision for the engine's next-generation capabilities, along with new footage highlighting performance on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

From what we can see, the "Next Gen" elements of the trailer appear to be about the scalability of the new engine and are most probably derived from the technology running on a supremely powerful PC.

The forest scene, for example, is hugely oversampled, but the lighting quality is absolutely phenomenal. The later scenes retain the high quality and showcase high resolution shadow-mapping and absolutely no "pop-up" whatsoever.

After concentrating on console performance in its CryEngine 3 presentations, elements of this trailer come across almost like a love letter to CryTek's dedicated PC fanbase, who've been left to wonder exactly what visual goodies the new engine will bring to their hardware in the future.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 elements of the trailer are new material based on the assets seen in CryTek's previous GDC showcase. There are no direct shot-for-shot comparisons between the two consoles, but it is clear that there are differences between the two implementations, with the lighting model appearing to be different between the two consoles.

Overall performance seems to be close to the firm's initial GDC video, based on shots taken from the same areas. For example, during the Xbox 360 procedural destruction and physics section, we see that the frame-rate hovers around 20FPS, just as it did in CryTek's previous materials. Both versions of the engine appear to be running at native 720p with no anti-aliasing.

One thing that does look different is the implementation of v-sync. In the GDC trailer it appeared that the PS3 version was triple-buffered with v-sync, while the Xbox 360 engine had some screen-tearing. In this new video, v-sync is clearly disengaged on the PS3 "Rich Interiors" clip. All of this is important as, by CryTek's admission, the engine is now complete. This is the tech that will be powering 2010's Crysis 2, coming to both PC and console.

There's much to be excited about with CryEngine 3, whether you're a developer or a gamer. Unreal Engine 3 technology has dominated the current generation of gaming, particularly in the first- and third-person shooting genres, and this is something new and compelling that introduces a wealth of new graphical possibilities.

For the game-makers, the so-called Live Create "what you see is what you play" editor, showcased in the trailer, should make the process of cross-platform development that much easier. Changes made engine-side are duplicated on both consoles, in real-time. Not only that, but the scalability elements of CryEngine 3 make it simpler for developers to write for the current generation today, while maintaining an easy path for supporting the forthcoming console platforms.

"With CryEngine 3 we are releasing the best development solution available today and tomorrow," says CryTek CEO/President Cevat Yerli. "With its scalable graphics and computation it is Next Gen ready and with new features like CryEngine 3 Live Create the best choice for game developers and companies developing serious games applications alike. It is the only game engine solution that enables real-time development."

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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