Crytek's Cevat Yerli on Crysis Tech

Since its announcement, Crysis has been heralded as the new benchmark for real-time video game graphics. Of course, that visual splendor comes with system requirements, which developer Crytek recently released.

Having played Crysis both in single-player mode and in multiplayer, and with the game's demo scheduled to arrive tomorrow, I delved deep into the technical side of Crysis with Crytek boss Cevat Yerli. We discussed system requirements, scalability, mod support, multiplayer, and much more. How will your system stack up? Read on.

Shack: What kind of market do you think will be feasible for Crysis, a game that pushes a lot of graphical limits?

Cevat Yerli: We are creating a high-end PC game, just as the industry has seen numerous times in the last 10 years. We assume it will be seen and accepted and hopefully embraced as such. The quality of Crysis was the number one reason we made the development choices we did.

Shack: Do you worry it will be too demanding for most gamers' machines?

Cevat Yerli: We are not really concerned. Its not more demanding than Far Cry was and Far Cry was a big success for us. Crysis is just more optimized and looks better at the same demands of Far Cry relative to the past. We scaled back to 3 years old gamer configurations, just as we promised.

Shack: How scalable will the game be; that is, how much of the "full experience" will users be getting on a machine that is more towards the minimum requirements?

Cevat Yerli: The overall answer on this is difficult, but let's think it scales you one generation back, providing you lower visual fidelity and ambiance, with the core gameplay being the same effectively. However you will perceive the core being less impressive if you experienced the high or very high setups, but not vice versa--e.g., if you didn't see Crysis on high or very high before, you will have a great experience with your machine.

Shack: How significant are differences between the DX9 and DX10 versions of the game? Are there any actual gameplay distinctions?

Cevat Yerli: For single-player the difference is only in visual quality, there are no gameplay differences. Visually the imagery has more depth though 3D post processing, looks more cinematic through motion blur systems interacting and surfaces are more crisper in detail and 3D. The lighting and post processing goes through an extended next-generation HDR rendering system.

In multiplayer when you qualify for very-high settings, that is high-end DX10, you will experience tangible gameplay improvements that actually make tactical difference and lets you feel like you play single player in terms of cinematic experience.

Shack: Generally, successful multiplayer is fairly low-req in order to allow for the largest possible userbase. How do you feel about the prospects for your multiplayer mode in the face of the numerous heavy hitters releasing this fall?

Cevat Yerli: We see multiplayer in two extremes. One is the low, medium, high version that scales games low and high in regards to your PC spec, offering you a certain fixed gameplay. We try to be as good as we can there without losing the low-spec gamers.

But with very-high you will need high-end DX10 to qualify for an experience that is essentially the future of multiplayer games, but now. This means you will also get gameplay experience that pushes options, emergent gameplay through more advanced simulations and graphics that define and impact gameplay. Examples of this are breakable geometries, soft-vegetation that interacts with characters, battledust that is synchronized across users to change the atmospherics, day-night cycles that can change tactics completely as you play.

We certainly hope through our ongoing community support and commitment to offer the best online experience for the future for our gamers, that gamers will become Power Struggle fans and help us to be the best multiplayer game. (Note: Check out our Crysis multiplayer beta preview for details on Power Struggle mode. -Shack)

Shack: How much, and in what ways, will Crytek support the mod community? Will it ship with an SDK, and if so, what can modders expect from it?

Cevat Yerli: The community will launch through www.crymod.com with having the game editor Sandbox 2--more than levels--being released with the game both in 32- and 64-bit versions. The C++ SDK will launch by mid-November.

All in all we can say that the modding community can create complete new experiences, a RPG, a Racing game, a golf game... Whatever they want. They can mod Crysis into a pirate shooter. We look forward to this... Anyone?

Shack: Is there dedicated support for 64-bit and dual- and quad-core processors, and if so how does the game distribute its tasks? Do you suggest a higher-clocked dual-core over a quad-core, or is quad-core performance enough to give it the edge?

Cevat Yerli: We support both 64-bit and multi-cores. Multi-core will be beneficial in the experience, particularly in faster but also smoother framerates. 64-bit and higher memory will yield quicker loading times. We recommend quad core over higher clock.

Shack: What is the main limiter for Crysis in terms of GPU, CPU, or RAM? If users are near the low end of the requirements, which should they upgrade first?

Cevat Yerli: We would say first CPU, then GPU, then memory. But it must be in balance. If you are balanced, we are more CPU bound then GPU, but at the same time at higher CPU configurations we scale very well for GPUs.

Shack: How extensively does the game support widescreen aspect ratios and options such as custom FOV?

Cevat Yerli: We support widescreen as your monitor's response back to our engine query. Custom FOV is not supported.

Shack: Do you have any insight to how well the upcoming range of cards will support Crysis, not just on the high end but lower down the ladder as well?

Cevat Yerli: Very, very well. Stay tuned for more on this. In mid November you will see the new NVidia cards. They are a blast for Crysis and really, really very good deals.