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CryEngine 3 Technical Breakdown

Video analysis of the GDC demonstration.

Over at Digital Foundry, we often like to take a hardcore look at new technology, and worthy of our attention is Crytek's CryEngine 3 trailer, released during GDC. We've prepared an annotated video that you'll find embedded below. There is a lot to discuss (so be prepared to pause the video to read the comments!) and if the technical terms confound and confuse, take a trip to Wikipedia or just sit back and enjoy the shot.

First of all kudos to Crytek for releasing a trailer that really is an accurate representation of the work it has done so far on its new CryEngine 3 console technology. We're talking about direct captures from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with no touching up. In an age where massaging and manipulation of media assets is all but the norm, what Crytek has revealed is refreshingly authentic.

The engine is clearly still in development, and I suspect that there's still plenty of work to do. Most people have already commented on the fluctuating frame-rate, but it's also clear to see that there are a range of differences between implementations of graphical features on both platforms. We'll save the in-depth analysis there for a time when there is actually a gameplay experience at stake.

Frame-rate analysis on the released video? Perhaps a tad unfair right now bearing in mind that the engine is still deep in development, but what we can say is that as an average across the entire range of clips, frame-rate on both systems is at 25.5fps give or take a 0.1fps.

You can surmise that the Xbox 360 version of the engine appears to be ahead in development compared to the PS3 rendition. You draw this conclusion simply from the fact that the majority of shots involving elements that really tax the engine (and thus incur frame loss) are using 360 video. So, early days yet, and I would be hoping for closer platform parity and a solid 30fps frame-rate on any game powered by this new engine, the first of which must surely be Crysis itself? Crytek needs a showcase game for its console technology, and why not a console rendition of one of the most beautiful-looking games ever made?

So there we go. The trailer itself is a very intriguing teaser and it leaves us all hungry for more information. Look out for more soon, including a technical Q&A with the developers themselves.