Crysis 2′s Shocking Tech Compromise: Proof

By John Walker on March 29th, 2011 at 1:06 pm.

It's just hideous.

Having played Crysis 2, the latest from the former technical innovators at Crytek, I have to express that I’m not only horrified, but also shocked, at the paucity of graphical accomplishments in what should have been a groundbreaking game. It’s quite clear that massive compromises have been made in order to keep the console market happy, meaning the PC version of the game is crippled to the point where it’s literally impossible to look at without feeling physically sick. I have put together some detailed analysis of the differences between CryEngine 2 and CryEngine 3, to prove that the developers have let everyone down.

First of all, let’s take a look at the technical range.

Crysis, built in the CryEngine 2, was capable of a 32.2m pixel spread across a 12 joule range, displayed in a dynamically generated four-part volumetric resource buffer. This meant a broad spectrum resonance in the upper 40s, with significant occlusion.

However, when we perform our benchmark tests on the CryEngine 3, it registers only 32.1m pixels in the 12J, reducing the BSR to a measly 43, with almost negligible ambience.

Clearly we've rounded down here.

But it gets worse once you include the Verticle [sic] Sync Module. CryEngine 2 was praised by for its revolutionary VSM, significantly upscaling especially on NVidia chipsets. When we take a look at the CE3 VSM figures they reveal a significant drop in upscaling, and a worrying trend demonstrating an increase in downscaling.

This doesn't take into account but we believe significantly increases for the end.

So how does this translate in real terms? Well, let’s take a look at a simple in-game object, a basic crate model. In order to remain impartial we’ve selected boxes appearing in darker areas. Here’s Crysis:

A wooden model.

And here’s Crysis 2:

And a cardboard model.

At first glance the textures in Crysis 2 may look improved, with the appearance of more detail, and a slightly more realistic look. Certainly if you were only to run past them that may be the impression you’re left with. But let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on here.

Here’s the Crysis texture:

At a 45 factor.

And here’s the reality of the Crysis 2 texture:

Also at 45, but with deliberate smoothing.

As you can see there’s absolutely no comparison, the Crysis 2 “cardboard box” barely featuring a fifth of the parametric mesh generation of its predecessor, unquestionably as a result of the PS3′s weaker OpenMP.

That’s at a micro scale, but the same deficiencies appear on a macro scale. For instance, let’s take a look at a scene from near the beginning of Crysis:

The full scale retro-backlighting really shines here.

And now a scene a similar distance into Crysis 2:

Just a complete failure of occlusion.

Immediately you’ll notice not only a downturn in colour (almost 32.3% by our benchmark), but also a significant reduction in flora. It’s quite clear that the development of CryEngine 3 for the consoles has led to a devastating effect on the in-game environments, lowered ambient conditions for both AI and NPCs (inevitably as a result of the 360′s eDRAM chip), and a raise in carbon production by over 300%. With Crysis having supported DX12, and Crysis 2 not even shipping with DX11 support, it’s nothing short of a disgrace.

At the time of writing Crytek have refused to respond to any of the points made above, and it’s pretty obvious why.

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386 Comments »

  1. bleeters says:

    Pitchforks and torches time.

    • sneetch says:

      The first man takes a pitchfork, the second man takes a torch. When the man with the pitchfork dies the man with the torch picks up the pitchfork. The first man takes a…

    • President Weasel says:

      Time to Crate metric for this story – depends how fast you read, really, and if you’re skimming it or following hte important technical details. Let’s call it 40 seconds. THIS IS A TERRIBLE ARTICLE.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Pitchforks indeed! I am one of two people on this planet with EIGHT graphics cards on a motherboard. I DEMAND Crytek validate my purchase by optimizing their engine to take FULL advantage of this! Anything less would be the greatest injustice in human history.

      People these days don’t seem to understand what makes a game good. *shakes head sadly*

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think Crysis has its own exploding barrel metrics

    • Imbecile says:

      Don’t you understand?! Its not about whether the game is any good, its about whether its notably better than the console version. That, and the CE3 VSM figures

    • Premium User Badge

      Maltose says:

      I didn’t know we were both hipsters and gamers.

    • Hanban says:

      It’s not really about if it’s better than the previous game, or if it’s better than the console versions, at all. It’s about the fact that it’s multiplatform. Which is HORRIBLE.

      (I don’t think it is, I like Crysis 2)

  2. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    Uh… what? Is it April 1st already?

  3. Chufty says:

    The funniest thing is, people actually think like this.

    And some didn’t get the joke at all.

  4. Mr. Mojo Risin says:

    Interesting analysis, although I guess maybe not that surprising unfortunately. Modders will enhance the textures and whatnot like they did with Crysis 1 though? A shame that usually modders nowadays mean so much to the PC Gaming community (*cough* would I have spent 150h on Oblivion without mods? *cough*) and they don’t get enough credit.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      i….inter…interesting analysis?
      “interesting analysis”, he says.

      oh myBWAHAhaHAHAHAHA oh god HAHA

      Oh, man. Too funny. How many more people won’t get it? I love it.

    • mojo says:

      hey! that’s my nickname from 15 years ago. give it back!

  5. Hallgrim says:

    Crysis 1 and Crysis 2 use the same pixel size? UNACCEPTABLE!

  6. MaXimillion says:

    Sounds legit

  7. ZIGS says:

    Checkpoints. That is all

  8. terry says:

    Also it installed something called a Voodoo 2 driver, does anyone know what that is?

    EDIT: It won’t run at all now. It keeps asking for the Workbench disk.

    • The Colonel says:

      It only works if you have two drives. Boot into DOS and type A:/Setup, but you have to have the second disk already in the B:/ drive.

    • terry says:

      It played the theme to “Yie Ar Kung Fu” and crashed. I hate this game!!

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Did you try typing
      load “*” ,8,1
      ?

      You should definitely get The Final Cartridge 3 and plug in though. You can use it to add an extra vertex edge to every voxel spline, Crysis looks amazingly better with it, better than DirectX 11 even. I don’t know why it wasn’t included from the start – probably the programmers were lazy or if they just dumbed it down for the consoles?

  9. Astalano says:

    Not sure if serious…

  10. Dominic White says:

    Oh dear. Woke up on the wrong side of the bed?

  11. Bats says:

    Crysis 2 also punched a baby, something Crysis 1 never did, and I saw it!

    In other news, quit bitching, it’s still a damn good game, and I daresay it flows and is way more invovling than the first one, which was a mess really. Hopefully they’ll release that DX11 patch soon enough so I can actually take advantage of my video card.

  12. sana says:

    Heh. Heh.

    Someone ate a clown for breakfast, eh.

  13. Nighthood says:

    Although this is a silly article, it’s interesting to see the way that Crytek have made Crysis 2. For a start, the default FOV is 55. Fifty five. If you manually change it to something respectable, like 75 or 90, you get hideous amounts of clipping and see through bodies and things. It’s really not right that a game apparently made for PC should have such a console-based setting like that.

    Also the fact you have to download a separate program to modify graphics settings. That’s never good.

    • Premium User Badge

      Monchberter says:

      Fifty FIVE? That’s like opening the ends of a cereal box and mounting it on your face.

      Shite.

    • Bantros says:

      It uses vertical FOV not horizontal, so it is actually 80. Putting in 90 is actually the equivalent to 120…

      Also you don’t have to download a program, yes it maybe be easier but true PC gamers know how to use the console

    • ceebux says:

      Ban this sick filth!

    • Shatners Bassoon says:

      @Bantros. Ahh I thought I shouldn’t be getting bloody fisheye at those numbers. Time to use the BFBC2 FoV calculator then! Huzzah! So people don’t have to go looking here are some resolutions. Console command “cl_fov #”

      Desired FoV – Input FoV
      85 – 55
      90 – 59
      95 – 64
      100 – 68

      You get the picture.

    • Premium User Badge

      oceanclub says:

      Ah, that makes sense. I wondered why, when I changed FOV from 55 to 90 using that third-party app, it seems like I was looking thru a fishbowl.

      Am still too early into Crysis 2 to give a real judgement, but I think it looks great _and_ runs extremely well. Even with my new 460 Ti card, Crysis 1 still runs like a dog on medium settings. Super-large textures are all very well, but not if only a fraction of the gaming population benefit from them while the rest suffer.

      P.

    • benjaminlobato says:

      You all realize that Mr. Walker was making fun of discussions like this right?

    • mwoody says:

      You’ll have to excuse us if we appear nerdy while trying to avoid feeling queasy playing computer games.

  14. The Colonel says:

    Bored, John?

  15. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    Pffft…… :D Nice.

  16. Kaira- says:

    My eyes bleed, such ugliness.

  17. Longrat says:

    I smiled

  18. Greg Wild says:

    This… This is an outrage!

    Fuck Cameron, it’s Yerli we should all be breaking out the balaclavas and bike helmets out for.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    Thank you John, that gave me a good chuckle, especially your “Start to crate” homage :D

  20. alh_p says:

    An argument handsomely and classily substantiated.

    Very good John. I like your graphs.

    You strike me as a man with his head screwed on right. I could do with a man like you in my biofuel plant. How do you feel about getting handy with some bovine excrement?

  21. Dominic White says:

    This article made me laugh.

    This comment thread quickly confirmed to me that Crytek have this near-mystical ability to turn almost everyone into grumpy fun-hating curmudgeons. Like some kind of horrible internet-borne midas touch. What hath science (and graphics card technology) wrought!?

    • Justoffscreen says:

      Jerks. It wrought jerks.

    • poop says:

      fun-hating curmudgeons? I guess we should be glad that you dont need anything to become a white knight troll

  22. fionny says:

    Im confused….

  23. BrendanJB says:

    How are you people taking this seriously hahah?

    Brilliant article is brilliant.

    • wakeupandsmelltheashes says:

      Seriously. The only excuse I can possibly fathom is that they read only the title before commenting. The crates should really give it away, if the giant first image already didn’t.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      People can’t be reading it, or at least understanding it, if they’re taking it seriously – John’s techspeak is complete gibberish as well he knows :)

    • Flint says:

      All techspeak is complete gibberish to me so it did take me a bit to realise it wasn’t a serious article :(.

  24. kastanok says:

    So is this a rip at a specific article or a general attitude?

  25. Warth0g says:

    Heh excellent…

  26. Bantros says:

    Fantastic, you should write for Digital Foundry.

    Having seen countless threads like this I am glad this pressing matter has gotten the attention it deserves!

    Although it would’ve been sweeter if you had told Cevat Yerli to choke on his flaccid member and demanded your money back like a well known tech site did

  27. weego says:

    This clearly would never have happened if the Government gave tax breaks to games companies. This is big. No bigger than big… Huge. And it’s been blown open like a clowns changing room door.

  28. MadMinstrel says:

    I don’t get why it’s suddenly so fashionable to ridicule people who are genuinely interested in technology. These are the same people who actually write your games. It’s understandable that most gamers don’t care about buffers, occlusion, etc. – they just want their games to look pretty and run smooth. I totally get that. But to make fun of people just because they can actually understand what those things are and want to have some fun analyzing the newest high-end engine and perhaps learn something along the way is going a bit far. I find this joke article to be in poor taste.

    • Schmung says:

      I took it more as a jab at the kind of people who winge on about this sort of thing and drop in all these terms without any clue what they’re talking about rather than a a dig at the likes of Digital Foundry.

    • gganate says:

      You’re a little thick, buddy. They’re not making fun of programmers and tech oriented people; they’ve lambasting the kind of folks who freak out about some irrelevant feature that they’re sure was left out just to spite them. For example, the whole “crisis” over why there’s no DirectX 10 or 11 in Crysis 2. Does it really matter? It’s obvious the game looks at least as good as the original.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Digital Foundry is the blacksmith of the future, and a hero. This is not related to that.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Also, “poor taste”, really? Really??

      Jokes about drowned Japanese people, or murdered womenwould be in poor taste.

      Either you need to learn a sense of perspective, or you need to learn the what poor taste means.

    • Tyshalle says:

      I really don’t understand why people are so eager to play the victim that they’d completely misconstrue the point of an article just so that they can take offense to it.

      The article has nothing to do with tech people. It has everything to do with the fact that Crysis 2 is a beautiful, beautiful game, and the nerds who try to justify naysaying this do so with a whole lot of unconvincing jargon that can be completely ignored in favor of just looking at some pictures.

    • Zogtee says:

      No, I sort of agree with the OP and if you read it without your RPS fanboy glasses on, it’s just not funny. The Onion would have binned it.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      No. The OP is wrong not because he didn’t find it funny (humour is obviously very subjective), but simply because he mis-identified the target of the joke.

      It’s not about people who understand the tech, or about articles that do in-depth analysis of the tech. It’s a dig at the people who go into frothing mouthed rage about such things, and declare games ruined or unplayable due to some barely perceptable setting they think should have been done differently.

  29. Inph says:

    What is this? The Onion!?

  30. Anarki says:

    Very funny and all but a bit dismissive of the good work Digital Foundry do, I actually find their articles really interesting and useful…

    If anyone else is interested Digital Foundry did an article about Crysis 2 here http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-tech-comparison-crysis2

    • Bantros says:

      Yeah Digital Foundry is great if you like reading about the technical aspects, but I think this post is mocking the outrage from people who don’t have a clue

    • Ragnar says:

      This article is mocking people who complain that Crysis 2 suffers from poor graphics, poor performance, etc, due to its consolization. These people use pseudo-technical “facts” as their arguments, like the complaint that Crysis 2 doesn’t have a 64-bit executable, as if that would somehow make the game better.

      It has nothing to do with DigitalFoundry (who are, in fact, awesome!).

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      It doesn’t have a 64-bit executable? You mean, like 99% of all games out there?

      RAGE!

      Love the article!

    • Urthman says:

      No, RAGE is not 64 bit either.

  31. ShiftyParadigm says:

    I care.

    I don’t want to miss out on any broad spectrum resonance!

  32. Imbecile says:

    Nice :P.

    I’m still a little bewildered that some pc gamers are getting quite as involved about the changes in Crysis.

    I’m guessing its because for a long time Crysis was a benchmark for PC graphical superiority, and arguably still is. You needed a ridiculously high end pc to play Crysis initially, and I guess the sort of person who owns that kind of uber machine, might be the sort of person who gets very upset about any kind of technological compromise?

  33. Navagon says:

    It’s good to see that crates are back at the forefront of testing a game’s quality.

  34. darthmajor says:

    This is wonderful, i love you RPS.

    @ the “DX11 patch soon so I can actually take advantage of my video card.” crowd
    Cause right now you gpu is just chilling. And how DARE the game look so well without taking ‘advantage’ (meaning it uses at least one of the barely/un-noticeable effects) of your video card! You payed good money for . So what if it’s one of the neatest looking games on the market atm, it sucks without DX11!

    I don’t like the “it doesn’t use xyz so it must look like shit (even if it doesn’t)” people :(

    • Milky1985 says:

      Erm funny you mention that cause theres a rumor gonig around that crytek are backing out of the DX11 patch as theres something about it being delayed on eurogamer – its beeing made a bit more credible by a lack of proper denial by EA (who could have just said “theres been no offical annoucement”, you would expect them to say “the dx11 patch is coing out soon but we have no offical date” if they were going to do something)

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-03-29-crysis-2s-directx-11-patch-in-doubt

  35. Premium User Badge

    Mr Pink says:

    I’m not sure I can imagine a more perfect first reply to this story :D

  36. Jajusha says:

    Does it have powerup crates?

  37. Tei says:

    I hope Crysis 2 has a “normal texture resolution” pack, with textures in PC resolution.
    The game has ben released with half the Crysis 1 texture resolution.
    Or maybe I am making a joke.
    Postdata:
    Relevant thread on the HardOCP forum

    Postdata2:
    Ugly graphics

  38. sonofsanta says:

    So what more pressing work are you avoiding this time?

  39. Premium User Badge

    Man Raised by Puffins says:

    I’m not sure why you’ve focused on Occlusion based metrics here, John. The most alarming aspect of CryEngine 3 is that it increases Disillusion by 97.894% in 8 out of 10 surprised Koreans.

  40. thepaleking says:

    Yes I had to stop playing the game, and promptly vomited, when I realized there were only 1021.3 pixels per liter of 23rj xRam. I didn’t buy 5 GPUs and 6 monitors to play a console game.

  41. Bhazor says:

    @ Simon1987

    Hmm… not sure if serious or trolling.

  42. Inigo says:

    Crysis, built in the CryEngine 2, was capable of a 32.2m pixel spread across a 12 joule range, displayed in a dynamically generated four-part volumetric resource buffer. This meant a broad spectrum resonance in the upper 40s, with significant occlusion.

    However, when we perform our benchmark tests on the CryEngine 3, it registers only 32.1m pixels in the 12J, reducing the BSR to a measly 43, with almost negligible ambience.

    You’re supposed to reverse the polarity.
    Duh.

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      You’re supposed to reverse the polarity.
      Duh.

      That only works of you have a neutron flow in the first place and being a shoddy console port Crytek didn’t bother.

    • Hanban says:

      Don’t forget to mention that you must increase the electron capacitor flow to turn on the metaelectrical spectrometer machine so that you can get some sweet sweet particle effects from the sun.

      I’m sorry I didn’t understand a word you wrote! :(

    • Gonefornow says:

      They jettisoned the standard neutron flow capacitors and went straight for the Flux capacitor.
      It triples the amount of god beams, you see.

  43. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    So, so, so good. Thank you John Walker.

  44. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    I like the unit-less toothpaste advert/Daily Mail graphs, nice touch.

  45. crainey92 says:

    “Sickly enjoying watching the comments car-crash” says Alec, teehee.

  46. VA1N says:

    It’s hilarious how people are getting out their pitchforks without realizing the point of the article. I guess they missed these lines: “Immediately you’ll notice not only a downturn in colour (almost 32.3% by our benchmark), but also a significant reduction in flora. It’s quite clear that the development of CryEngine 3 for the consoles has led to a devastating effect on the in-game environments, lowered ambient conditions for both AI and NPCs (inevitably as a result of the 360′s eDRAM chip), and a raise in carbon production by over 300%”

  47. runbmp says:

    Maybe we can do a part two on physics and AI in Crysis 2? ah hell, just let the shit game die already.

  48. DeanLearner says:

    You’d think after years of development there would be some change in this, but my studies show that.

    Number of sides of a cube that can be shown at once.
    Cryengine 1 : 3
    Cryengine 3 : 3

    Quite laughably it is still 3.

    • Bantros says:

      Surely not?!

      Nice one, now my mouse is in pieces ffs

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I think Crytek are blaming God for providing such a slow API interfacing our brains with the software. Future generations of CryEngine will hopefully be able to program individual brains directly without having to go through the tedious “eye” API. There’s also a serious Necker Cube glitch that they hope to fix with CryEngine 4.

    • MajorManiac says:

      Its about time they made a Fourth-Person-Shooter.

    • Lukasz says:

      Indeed it is pathetic as Source engine managed to show all six sides of the cube at the same time.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Now I want a cubist graphics engine.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      Euhm, 3D screens?

      You still do need two eyes though.

    • crooon says:

      From the inside it’s 5!

  49. ceebux says:

    Woosh.