The Battle of the Game Engine Tech Previews, CryEngine 3 versus Unreal Engine 4…

The next generation video games are looming large on the horizon. Crytek have their latest CryEngine 3 technology driving their big name title Crysis 3 while Epic games have chosen to make the futuristic Frontline the first title to utilize the brand new Unreal Engine 4 technology.

In the build up to the highly anticipated release of Crysis 3 Crytek would like to introduce the world to the potential of their next generation 3D engine, the CryENGINE 3, ready to power the third episode of the Crysis Trilogy. The visually stunning Crytek 3 Tech Trailer introduces the latest technology one tech jargon term at a time. Set in the urban wasteland of New York City of the future, taking on the evil Cell Corporation.

Epic Games last month released the technology preview for their latest gaming technology, a video titled “Unreal Engine 4: Elemental Demo” that universally had jaws dropping. In development for nearly 10 years UE4 has been designed to make game development as efficient as possible, while providing next generation graphics to all types of games.

Included for your viewing pleasure are the next generation technology trailers, the CryENGINE 3 tech demo and Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 tech preview. Which game engine will set the standard, which will drive the next big gaming sensation? Watch the previews and decide…

Crysis 3

Crysis 3

Crysis 3, set in 2047 you take on the role of special forces soldier Prophet. The ruined urban environment of New York City as a backdrop, there is revenge on your mind, and many questions to be answered.

The game interface looks to stick to its family heritage closely, the suit and HUD look to have been given a facelift but functionally remain the same. No word on weapons so far.

Crytek are putting together a technological tour de-force for Crysis 3. There is also a certain amount of competition between the various first person shooter franchises. Call of Duty and others have stolen a lead on Far Cry and Crysis, Crysis 3 is Crytek’s answer.

CryEngine 3
Crytek established a reputation for developing leading edge 3D graphics engines that often stretch even the latest gaming PC’s. With stunning visuals CryEngine could easily have been limited to only the very fastest computers; they have made that mistake in the past. This time though Crytek have learned that leason and developed CryEngine 3 to be intelligent enough to balance quality and performance.

The suit returns.

Behind the new levels of realism is the technology, for the tech terminology inclined the advances include; Real Time Volumetric Cloud Shadows, Pixel Accurate Displacement Mapping, Tessellated Vegetation, Composite 3D Lens Flares & FX, Procedural HDR Flares and Shapes, 3rd Generation Real-Time Global Illumination, Dynamic Water Volume Caustics, Real-Time Volumetric Fog Shadows, Real-Time Area Lights, Unlimited Particle FX Lighting, Integrated Cloth and Vegetation Simulation, Top Secret Tessellated Toad Tech.

If you have the power, a new world will be available to you. A world made up of spectacular water renderings, hugely complex models, incredible HDR lighting effects and new levels of environmental detail.

The top secret Tessellation Toad Tech is still to be revealed. The brief renderings of the toad, at the end of the video, show incredible texture details on the leathery skin of the toad. The toad seems to combine a number of texturing effects to produce the final result.

CryTek originally burst onto the PC gaming scene with Far Cry, a visually stunning open world first person shooter. The Yerli brothers established Crytek in 2002 to not only develop games but also to sell the tools used to make games. The CryEngine 1 was the first version of their developer tools that integrated their real time graphics engine.

Epic’s Unreal Engine 4
Epics Games last month launched the first salvo in the next generation gaming wars. Releasing a technology preview of their own, demonstrating the capabilities of their next generation game engine, Unreal Engine 4.

Unreal Engine 4, lighting.

In the past the Unreal Engine 3 had been put to work driving big name games such as BioWares Mass Effect, Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham City along with many others.

Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, spent five years on the initial development of the new game engine. Like an after hours mad scientist Sweeney tinkered away on his engine every spare moment, running a major software house during the day. After handing his work over to the Epic Dev Team in 2008 development on the entire platform has continued, now the fruits of Epics labour are beginning to appear.

UE4 brings a number of new technologies to the party including; Dynamic global illumination, no pre-calculations required and enhance GPU driven particle physics. Developer tools now encompass the entire end to end process of game production and the interface is now entirely drag and drop.

Epic are also very proud of their Kismet 2 visual scripting system. A system that allows real time logic building using a drag and drop interface. Allowing simple games to be built with just a few mouse clicks, no coding required. Mod building made easy and much more is promised for Kismet 2.


The first UE4 game, Fortnite.

The Unreal Engine has a history of being used for a wide variety of games, with the only pre-requisite being a 3D interface. The development team behind Gears of War take the latest Unreal Engine 4 technology for a test drive and in the process develop Fortnite, the first game due to be released utilizing the next generation graphics engine from Epic.

A very different type of online game that sees players join co-operative teams to build forts and protective structures during the day, and then by night they must fight off invading monster hordes.

Epic hope to release Fortnite early in 2013, rumour suggests the game may join the crowded free2play market, although pricing and the final release date are still to be set.

Looking more like Toy Story than Gears of War Fortnite will incorporate building, strategy and monster battling action into the online game play.


Crysis 3 is due for release February 3, 2013 on PC, Xbox and PS3. Frontline will be an online PC exclusive set for release Q1 2-13. Both game engines will provide the basis for the next generation games on current and next generation hardware. Both next generation gaming engines involve as much change for the game developer as it does for the game player.

Making current generation video cards nervous these two examples of the next generation game engine will provide stunningly immersive visuals and game-play. They will require a top end video card to get the most from them, ATI 7990 or NVIDIA 690 anyone? Tempting us all in to upgrade hardware that will guarantee high frame rates at maximum quality settings. Luckily there is plenty of time to save our pennies…