So, what's new in CryEngine 3?

As with all engines, CryEngine gets updated all the time. We met up with Crytek at GDC to see what shiny new bells and whistles they've added to their engine.

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As with all engines, CryEngine gets updated all the time. We met up with Crytek at GDC to see what shiny new bells and whistles they've added to their engine. The first new feature is unique to Crytek. Pixel Accurate Displacement Mapping (PADM) is the studio's alternative to tessellation. It allows artists to add a displacement texture dynamically on objects "with no visible polygon edges on the silhouette of the displacement." In a real-time demo, we saw a tree trunk's displacement dynamically altered--a neat trick for artists, to be sure.

Left: PADM off | Right: PADM on

Through CryEngine, artists can now place area lights to give a more "physically plausible look" to the environment. Crytek says that its new area lights have volume, and that it will impact shadows and the appearance of light reflection. I personally couldn't see the benefit, but perhaps you can:

Left: Area Lights off | Right: Area Lights on

Crysis 3 introduced 3D HDR lens flares into the engine, as it offered the ability to easily create the "stylized look" that the team was going for. The lens flare editor makes it incredibly easy to create an otherworldly look. As we saw the flare adjusted in real time, we joked that this would be perfect for a Star Trek game--an entirely original joke that totally hasn't been played out on the internet already.

Left: 3D HDR Lens Flare off | Right: 3D HDR Lens Flare on

CryEngine 3 also offers the most flexible support of anti-aliasing modes ever, with varying degrees of SMAA, FCAA, TXAA, and MSAA. Developers can see in real-time how their game renders with each form of AA, although the effects are quite subtle.

Click to see in full resolution

Other neat features showcased to us include a new way of rendering global fog and cloud shadows. In previous versions of the engine, you could look into the sun to see its rays scattered--but the effect would be gone the moment you looked away. In the updated CryEngine 3, the effect is now persistent throughout the world. Additionally, the engine now supports dynamic caustics in the water, rendering real-time interactions with liquids. Water rendering is further enhanced with sub-surface scattering and wave crest foam approximation. Add an updated vegetation rendering system that simulates individual blades of grass--and CryEngine 3 seems perfect for a big-budget fishing game. Crytek pointed out that all of these new features are being deployed in both the professional and free versions of the CryEngine 3 SDK. You can check it out for yourself here.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    March 29, 2013 10:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, So, what's new in CryEngine 3?.

    As with all engines, CryEngine gets updated all the time. We met up with Crytek at GDC to see what shiny new bells and whistles they've added to their engine.

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      March 29, 2013 10:32 AM

      Holy shit

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      March 29, 2013 11:47 AM

      The third screenshot is much better without the lens flare. I find it extremely frustrating when I can't make out the environment because I'm blinded by lens flare.

      I gave up on the Battlefied 3 single player game after the Paris mission because I got so frustrated by the blinding lens flares. Car headlights or flashing police car lights were brighter than the sun. The Paris level appeared to look quite nice, but I couldn't actually see most of it through the lens flare. It was so bad it actually ruined the game.

      I play games for fun, not to be frustrated by stupid visual effects. After a terrible experience with Battlefield 3 I won't be buying Battlefield 4, and if Crytek got the same way I'll stop buying their games as well.

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        March 29, 2013 12:56 PM

        lens flare is stupid and i wish they'd get rid of it. It doesn't increase realism at all.

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          March 29, 2013 1:07 PM

          It's supposed to be an effect, but sometimes it becomes something more than that.

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      March 31, 2013 1:30 PM

      Not sure how you can't see the difference from area lights. Maybe your monitors contrast is too low or needs to be calibrated.

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      April 13, 2013 1:59 PM

      Agree. Lens flare has never been an attractive or logical effect. I don't get lens flare in my eyes.