By all accounts Crysis is one of the most talked about PC first person shooters of all time. Few titles even come close to matching the graphical fidelity pumped out by CryEngine2, and let be honest here, this is still our go to game whenever we test out our upgraded rigs. Unfortunately developer Crytek perceived the PC exclusive title as sales dud with piracy projections as high as 20:1, and announced that it was abandoning PC only titles in favor of multiplatform development. Many feared this will lead to a dumbing down of the franchise, but it seems as though Crytek is working hard not only to produce a quality sequel, but also to design one of the most powerful multiplatform engines of all time.
Showcased for the first time at the Game Developers Conference Crytek demonstrated its real time development engine that simultaneously allows developers to make changes to a PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 version of a game. If CryEngine3 lives up to its potential, it could dramatically reduce development time – and cost. Crytek has also been working hard to integrate external tools such as Photoshop into the development environment to manipulate existing textures, and seamlessly inject them into a dynamic game world.
Many perceived the loss of Crytek as an exclusive PC developer to be a blow to our beloved platform, but if they help to design a tool that makes multiplatform releases this easy, we could well see a huge influx of new titles in the future that might have otherwise been console only. Would you agree?
Crytek boss Cevat Yerli’s desire to be the Miss Cleo of the videogame world is becoming a tad transparent. First, he conjured up visions of the next console generation’s arrival in his crystal ball, and now, he’s predicting that Cloud gaming services like OnLive won’t be viable until – at the earliest – 2013.
"We had our research in 2005 on this subject but we stopped around 2007 because we had doubts about economics of scale. But that was at a time when bandwidth was more expensive," he said.
"We saw that by 2013 - 2015 with the development of bandwidths and household connections worldwide that it might become more viable then."
So why was Crytek’s computer-crippling shooter Crysis plastered all over OnLive’s demo screens at last week’s GDC? Apparently, that was out of Crytek’s hands.
"We're not involved, we just allowed Crysis to be tested on it," he said. "It will be interesting to see how it happens under millions of users. Let's say more than a few hundred users, how it will behave.”
Sounds like he’s really raining on Cloud’s parade. Yeah, we got nothing.
We liked Crysis. Despite its less-than-stellar AI, annoying alien baddies, and flawed final mission, we liked it. We liked the game for its wide-open jungle combat and the power and flexibility the nano-suit gave us to approach combat any way we wanted. Whether we wanted to skulk through the jungle, shooting enemies half a klick away with a silenced rifle, or get up close and personal by throwing our enemies through the nearest wall, the game accommodated pretty much any play style.
If your graphics card doesn't support DirectX 10 or 10.1, don't worry about it, Microsoft has your back. The resourceful programmers at Redmond are working on a new component called WARP10 (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) to be included in Windows 7, which essentially ports DX10 duties to the CPU.
The upshot is that everyone will have access to DX10 eye candy even if the hardware doesn't support it. Minimum requirements for WARP10 are the same as they are for Vista - an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. So if you have the hardware to run Windows 7, then in theory, you should be able to enable advanced effects regardless of your videocard.
"Our primary goal during WARP10 development was to produce a rasterizer that met or exceeded all the precision and conformance requirements of the Direct3D 10 and 10.1 specifications," writes Andy Glaister, Principal Development Lead of Microsoft Desktop and Graphics Technologies. "We wanted to do this while achieving a high level or reliability and stability. If this rasterizer was going to be used as a fallback for when hardware was not functioning, it’s important that it worked in all scenarios, configurations and different types of machines."
Hit the jump to find out how WARP10 compares to integrated graphics.
So is PC gaming hosed? That seems to be the case for games that a) are not massively multiplayer, b) don’t have “Sims” in the title, or c) aren’t played by your mom.
But it’s not really as dire as all that. Mass Effect actually made it to number 2, and Sins of a Solar Empire to number 9, on the current NPD PC sales charts.
Those numbers, however, don’t reflect where PC owners are really gettin’ their game on: with casual games. Remember when you would say you were a PC gamer and people would say, “Yeah, me too,” and you’d ask what they played, and they’d say, “Minesweeper and Solitaire.” And you’d chuckle. Good times!
In a recent interview, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli blasted the PC industry as "the most intensely pirated market ever." By his own estimation, Yerli believes the sales-to-piracy ratio could be as high as 1 to 20, or in other words, for every videogame legitmately sold, 20 more are illegally downloaded or copied.
Yerli also critiqued certain aspects of Crysis. Click through the jump to see what he had to say, and what to expect differently from Crysis Warhead.
In the July issue, I tested HP’s Mini-Note—the small, cheap notebook is HP’s answer to the subcompact, sub-$500 Asus Eee PC. HP’s tiny notebook got me thinking about the point of diminishing PC returns—the point at which adding more hardware oomph doesn’t deliver a perceptible performance boost to the user.
I didn’t have any major complaints with its performance in my most common activities: web browsing, checking email, writing documents, and listening to music. Is this Mini-Note’s 1.2GHz VIA C7-M CPU fast enough for me?
Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way up front. On a properly configured Vista machine with DirectX 10 hardware, Crysis is the best-looking game we've ever played. Its jungle environments are lush and realistic, with plenty of wide-open areas and just a handful of loading screens in the entire game. This incredible level of graphical detail is what PC gaming is all about.