The battle for the VR engine of choice is heating up and Crytek wants its fair share.
The German studio behind the Crysis games has today launched the source code for its CRYENGINE development toolset for free via Github. The latest iteration of the engine was announced and launched back at the 2016 Game Developers Conference in March, where Crytek confirmed that it would be giving away the engine on a ‘Pay What You Want’ basis, which includes the option to download it for free. If you do want to send some money their way, then you can head to the official website to download the engine as a complete package.
This iteration of CRYENGINE is placing a heavy emphasis on VR development. Games like winter sports simulator SNOW have chosen the engine to implement Oculus Rift support, for example. As with the Unreal and Unity Engines, Crtyek will also be releasing an in-VR editor later down the line.
So which engine should you choose? Each seems to cater towards different audiences. Unity, for example, has made a big push towards accessibility, which is why you see lots of smaller indie studios using it. Unreal Engine 4, however, is backed by both larger studios and indie teams, fueling projects both big and small as it grows. CRYENGINE may not be as popular as these two, but it allows for astonishing visual fidelity and Crytek is eager to make it indie-friendly.
If you want an example of what CRYENGINE can do in VR you need only look to The Climb, a visually stunning climbing game developed in-house at Crytek under the Oculus Studios banner for Rift. In his review, UploadVR’s Joe Durbin gave the game 8/10, praising its “beautiful” graphics.
“Half of what makes this game so enjoyable is simply gawking at the astounding vistas from every new angle that the mountains afford,” he said. “Each environment has different visual touches and Easter eggs to keep an eye out for, and they make you feel even more in touch with the simple delight of moving higher and higher up these very large rocks.”
As videogame development engines become more advanced, they also become more open. Unreal Engine 4 is also given away for free, with developers then paying creator Epic Games a share of the profits should their releases make over a certain amount of money. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Lumberyard engine – itself based on CRYENGINE – is pretty much entirely free bar a few optional services. It’s a visible side-effect of the rise of indie development, and enables smaller VR teams to start working with the technology faster.
In other words? Everybody wins.