With GDC 2016 in full swing, Crytek is making an announcement that is bound to surprise some. Today, the Frankfurt-based company unveiled the latest iteration of its game development engine, CryEngine V, and made it essentially royalty-free, following the "Pay What You Want" business model. It's a risky move, but with Unreal and Unity stepping up their game, it doesn't have much of a choice.
Crytek says that users of their new game engine can also choose to direct 70% of what they choose to pay into the company's new Indie Development Fund, which - as the name suggests - is meant to help spur innovation among indie developers around the world. In any case, whenever you make money on a game made with Crytek's tools, the company hopes you'll share some of that financial success with them.
For those of you unfamiliar with what CryEngine is, a definition for the laymen would be that it is a set of development tools and middleware that makes it possible to build games with stunning graphics, realistic physics, and complex gameplay mechanics and UI. For developers, CryEngine V introduces several noteworthy changes:
- C# Enabled: A new API that allows developers who know C# to start scripting in CRYENGINE V right away.
- Reworked Low Overhead Renderer: Significantly increases the performance of today’s hardware in graphically intensive applications.
- DirectX 12 support: Utilize the latest branch of DirectX to take greater control of hardware resources.
- Advanced Volumetric Cloud System: Optimized for VR to give clouds full 3D spatial rendering for higher quality with minimal performance hit.
- New particle system: Create stunning real-time fluid effects, handled almost entirely on the GPU.
- A new launcher and UI: Navigate CRYENGINE more intuitively thanks to a streamlined UI which includes realigned features and new icon groupings.
- FMOD Studio support: Allowing greater flexibility in audio middleware selection.
- CRYENGINE Answers: A dedicated channel where the CRYENGINE community can share questions and answers.
The latest iteration of CryEngine also includes something called the "CryEngine Marketplace", where developers can access individual assets from Crytek’s pool - "thousands of materials, sounds, and 3D objects created by the CryEngine community and other trusted vendors."
To understand the scale of what CryEngine can do, many of these features are already used to develop the next generation of games, with 12 such examples showcased in the video above. Furthermore, developers can use it to "create stand-out VR experiences for PlayStation VR, OSVR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift."
Speaking of VR, Crytek has also made a new benchmarking tool that can test your PC for VR readiness. Dubbed "VRScore", it was built in collaboration with Basemark, and Crytek claims it will serve as a valuable tool for objective, independent analysis, so that you -the consumer- do not need to rely solely on the claims of OEMs when you make your purchasing decisions.
If you are a PC gamer, you are probably familiar with the "Can it run Crysis?" meme, which is a testament of Crytek's PC-melting graphical prowess. During today's press event, Crytek's Frank Vitz said that it should evolve into “Can it run VR?” (he probably meant VRScore), but we are reserving judgement until VR actually takes off.