GDC 2007: Crytek2 Engine; thus, I saw the glory of God … and it was good

If there was one thing to be taken away from Mr. Miyamoto’s keynote earlier today it’s that all of the women and most of the men in that audience would murder their parents for a chance to be impregnated by that man. If there is a second thing, though, it’s that games do not have to exhibit the latest in graphics or technology to entertain people. This may be so, but the boys at Crytek make a very convincing case otherwise.

I just finished a personal demo of the new Crytek2 Engine designed by German developers Crytek for the upcoming sequel to their surprise hit Far Cry, Crysis. The short version of the story is that it’s stunningly beautiful, but if you want the long version, including swears and tons of superlatives, hit the jump. 

(Editor’s Note: Thank you ever so much for jumping. Summa hits me if you don’t, and his belt is made of angry cats. — Nex)

As I mentioned, I just finished a special demo of the new Crytek2 Engine, and it really is fantastic. The demo was a lot of what they’ve shown before, but if you haven’t seen it in person, you have no idea how magnificent the thing looks. Aside from the stunningly realistic real-time lighting and the finest in facial imperfection rendering, the physics innately within the engine are damn amazing. At one point, I got a text message from Sir Isaac Newton exclaiming, well, nothing really, because he’s dead. I’m not really sure how that relates, but I almost had a joke there about sexually aroused seventeenth century physicists.

Do you recall the scene in the first Predator movie where Ahnuld and his men are trying to hunt down whatever it is that just blasted a hole in the chest of Jesse “Governer Sexual Tyrannosaurus” Ventura, and the stoic, bald guy opens up on the forest with a minigun? This engine recreates that in amazing splendor. Aside from a naked woman and wrestling a bear, nothing can make you feel more masculine than cutting down half a forest with a fully-automatic set of rotating barrels, and being able to cut the same tree in half three or four times before it collapses to the ground is sacriliciously appealing.

After a quick cut, the demo has you facing out the window of a building, firing off rounds at an oncoming tank. In any other game, you’d toss a few into the side of the armor, duck while it fired a shell at you, rinse and repeat, right? Sadly, in the Crytek2 Engine, the tanks have all the power. The damn thing rumbled closer and closer, to the point where you would imagine it would bounce harmlessly off of your shelter, only, this time, the whole building was brought down as the tank smashed the shelter into component walls and bits of rubble. It went merrily along its way, and someone in some virtual, god-forsaken, third-world country is left even more destitute than before.

Finally, they demoed a bit of the facial rendering technology, and aside from picking the ugliest people possible to model their characters’ faces after, it too was quite gorgeous. I’m not going to tell you it was photo-realistic, as, in a year, I’d be claiming something else was even more pretty, but this engine rides up the wall of the uncanny valley, does a kickflip, moons you, then plummets back in for another go-round.

Don’t get me wrong, if they totally screw the pooch with the gameplay, the prettiest engine in existence won’t do a thing for their upcoming titles, but having such an immersive starting point is a hell of a first step. 

About The Author
Earnest Cavalli
I'm Nex. I used to work here but my love of cash led me to take a gig with Wired. I still keep an eye on the 'toid, but to see what I'm really up to, you should either hit up my Vox or go have a look at the Wired media empire.
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