Regardless of what you think of CryTek's games, you have to admit that their engine, CryEngine 3, makes games look really pretty. While Epic just recently updated their Unreal Engine 3, CryTek has seen fit to fire back with the release of version 3.4.0.
While the release of a new version of an SDK might not be big news to some, developers working with CryEngine will be ecstatic to know that the new version of CryEngine includes some much needed improvements. Those improvements include better DirectX 11 support and improved shaders for the all important eyes and skin. Here's the breakdown of all the new features in the new version:
Revamped DirectX 11 Tessellation
DX11 support and tessellation has come a long way since Crysis 2. Phong, PN triangles and displacement maps, along with no need for pre-tessellated assets, makes CryENGINE's DX11 support among the best in the industry.
Multi-layer Navigation Mesh
The multi-layer navigation is a powerful new and easy-to-use navigation system that AI agents utilize to path-find through game maps.
Improved Skin Rendering and Eye Shader
New scattering approach gives more realistic rendering with fewer artifacts. New settings, checkboxes and sliders for things like oiliness, iris control, colors, pupil dilatation, tessellation and parallax support make CryENGINE character rendering more advanced and customizable than ever before.
Advanced/Improved/Extended Glass Shader
The glass shader is a specialized tool for rendering glass-based surfaces. It can represent a wide range of glass types, including regular windows, stained glass, leaded glass, beveled glass, some crystal types and some types of transparent plastics as well. The improved glass shader now also boasts features such as a dirt layer designed to produce extremely realistic-looking glass surfaces complete with dust and dirt, differential fog and refraction blur.
It's also important to note that there is a free version of CryEngine that has also been updated. It updates alongside the premium release and includes some functionality from the current release as well as past releases. It's a great alternative for those who just want to play around with the SDK for educational purposes. The changes are:
Improved glass rendering.
Geometric light beams.
Point light shafts.
Time of day based filmic HDR tone mapping.
Curves and key tangents for time of day.
User controlled per cascade shadow bias through time of day.
Improved transitions between levels of detail.
Volumetric fog features extended and improved.
Improved distance cloud shading.
To see a more in-depth changelog, check out the forum post on the matter. It includes all you need to know to start building the next generation of games with CryEngine 3.4.0.
To show off just how impressive CryEngine 3.4.0 is, CryTek has also released a trailer showing off the improvements. Just be warned, you're about to see some very pretty visuals that even my monster gaming PC would have a bit of trouble with. Check it out and be amazed: