Cyrtek is here in attendance at Game Developers Conference 2007, but the company isn't showing off its much-anticipated Crysis so much as it is showing off its stunning CryEngine 2 technology that powers the game. And if you think Crysis looks stunning (because it does), wait till you see what others can do with the tech, because Crytek is now licensing the engine to other developers. And to illustrate just how power and developer-friendly the engine is, Crytek is giving live demonstrations on the show floor of how quick and easy it is to create stunning levels. But you can also gaze in wonder at the new technology trailer, which builds on last year's show-stealing Crysis trailer.
The new trailer begins by showing off many of the same technologies that were highlighted in last year's GDC trailer. For instance, there are incredibly lush jungle scenes with warm sun beams shining through the tropical canopy and staggeringly long view distances that let you soak in the grandeur of the Pacific island setting. But then the trailer goes into new territory, such as showing off the amazing facial and skeletal animation that goes into each character. Then there are the game's elaborate physics, demonstrated by a poor North Korean soldier trying to cross a rope bridge only to have two huge barrels land on him, causing the rope bridge to partially snap, the soldier to fall, and the remainder of the bridge to ripple from the impact. Hit location on vehicles was shown by a speeding truck getting its wheels shot off and causing it to go into a spin, with sparks flying from the wheel rims grinding against the road. And do we dare mention the nuclear detonation and the cinematic wave of destruction that followed? (We also understand that there's a tactical nuclear weapon in multiplayer, though whether it remains in the final game has yet to be determined!)
It goes without saying that every time we see Crysis, we're blown away, but this game just gets better and better. The good news is that the frame rate is a lot smoother than we've seen before. We're told that Crytek did some memory optimizations to help out in that regard, but there are still a ton of CPU and graphics optimizations to go. The company is still sticking to its guns that Crysis will be able to run on three-year old machines, but once you see what the visuals are capable of, you'll probably want to upgrade, because Crysis is the game you're going to want to rub in the faces of all of your console-loving friends. As to when we'll get it, Crytek is adamant that it will take its time to get the game right, so no solid release date has been set yet. We have learned that the game is near or recently passed alpha stage, which means all content is in and it's now onto the beta phase, which consists of bug fixing, polishing, and optimizing. This is such an ambitious game that the beta could take a while, but reaching alpha is a significant milestone. The developers at Crytek seem very confident in the technology and the game, and judging from what's being shown at GDC, they have every right to be.