Why Not Relax With The Cryengine 2012 Graphics Trailer?

By Craig Pearson on March 9th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

Don't fear the noble fishman
Shhh. Deep breaths. In, hold it, HOLD IT, and out. Ah. Now you’ll feel like me. It might be because it’s Friday and I’m a bit tired, but I felt myself relaxing watching Crytek’s CryEngine 3 demonstration. I love graphics, because without them games are all words and stuff and you can’t shoot a word in the face, so I’m predisposed to start drooling over meaningless advances in tech and their associated sizzle videos. But this one, with the waves and the bizarre music, was like a tessellated pillow. I drifted away, barely noticing the noble fish thing until I realised the video has stopped playing half an hour ago. When I rewatched it: WTF? So: what the hell is that fish thing?

Really, what?

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97 Comments »

  1. dsi1 says:

    Crytek: “Oh shit we forgot to make a PC tech demo for CE3!”

  2. Juxtapox says:

    I don’t know to be honest. I felt a little ‘meh’ watching that. Relaxing, yes. Impressed? Meh.
    Am I wrong here?

  3. Grinnbarr says:

    It looks how I feel in the morning, as I flounder to get up, and then perch on the edge of my bed rubbing my eyes.

    • Grinnbarr says:

      Right well I’ve learned my plaice. I won’t try and start any more pun threads.

    • Syra says:

      Hmm your attempts here are a bit fishy.

    • ThinkAndGrowWitcher says:

      For goodness hake – please keep puns to a minnowmum, you stupid basstards.

    • Tams80 says:

      You must not be a frequent kipper then.

    • yasdsam says:

      That requires you to render the character you are playing as in high resolution all the time which takes up resources, especially as the chances are you won’t be looking in mirrors through the entire game, it will be quite a rare event. http://zna.me/8465

  4. SuperNashwanPower says:

    For sale: One mother, good condition, mildly disappointed.
    Cost: £3000 (incidentally same as PC to run the tesselated fish)

  5. Mollusc Infestation says:

    It’s clearly Thing Fish. “Straighten up in that chair and pay attention! People, this is for yo’ own good.”

  6. rockman29 says:

    It would be nice if one day there was a game to go with these graphics. It looks nice, but until then :/

    They’ve obviously done great work on the tech, but please now do something else too.

  7. BurningPet says:

    But words can be graphics! and pretty nice ones too:

    • Harvey says:

      fa(BLAM)ce

      • kastanok says:

        Without clicking the link, I’m going to guess it’s a kinetic text video of the Pulp Fiction scene from the car when Vincent, Jules and Marvin are driving away from the flat…

        EDIT: Awwww. That wasn’t the face-blam I was expecting.

  8. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    What bugs me is that the beautiful landscapes and ability to make extremely life-like, well, anything will never be utilized in a meaningful way. For example, they could use their gorgeous water effects to make some kind of Endless Ocean-esque experience, or even a super screensaver–you know, something where the fancy graphics would actually be a justifiable end in and of themselves–but instead it will just be a fleeting landscape feature in games where you shoot people. Amazingly well-rendered people, admittedly, but I see people every day. Impress me, dammit!

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      Keirley says:

      I’ve got to agree. Sometimes it feels like technology is being pushed forwards simply to make things look nicer. It’s rare that such improvements are used for something particularly imaginative or game-changing.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Yeah, much like the CryEngine 3 concept art/last year’s video, I watched it and was impressed for about 30 seconds, until I realized “…and NONE of this will be used in any engaging way”.

      Then they showed a reel of generic shooters and I groaned. Yep, I was right.

      Engine trailers are quickly becoming non-news for me. What the hell is the point of this amazing technology if all we’re going to see it used for is in making even more angry manshoot games? Yuck.

    • lijenstina says:

      Like the Unigine engine – Valley demo. That also looks good. I don’t know… Game’s style and setting are much more important. Graphics fidelity comes after that when it does contribute to the immersion and atmosphere.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      More sex games.

    • top8cat says:

      Have you seen David Cage’s PS3 tech demo Kari? Sure it was nothing tech wise that we PC gamers have not seen, but the concept really showed some promise for something far beyond ‘shoot guy in face’. Of course it is to be expected from the developers of Fahrenheit

    • InternetBatman says:

      A next-gen Endless Ocean game would be amazing. I’ve put more hours into it than any other game, except maybe Baldur’s Gate.

    • Wut The Melon says:

      I think CryTek’s biggest problem, visually, is that their engine is capable of a great deal but their art/map design is IMO very boring. As you said, they make very realistic rocks and broken flats, which I guess is also some kind of achievement. But generally art design > graphics technology (I think Crysis 2 and BF 3 both had issues with that).

      Also, video quality does a good job of obscuring most impressive graphical stuff.

    • Shuck says:

      I’ve been thinking this about game engines for a while. I remember when they introduced features that allowed translucency of flesh such as ears in Unreal Tournament 3, and it seemed the most absurd feature ever. Obviously you’re never going to see it when you’re 50+ feet away from the character and running in different directions at a combined speed of 100 mph. Plus the increased specs meant that it ended up looking substantially worse than the previous engine iteration. Never mind that most developers won’t be able to afford to build models and shaders and textures of sufficient detail and quality to actually make use of the engine.

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    Vandelay says:

    I wasn’t so much confused by the fish thing as randomly being told that someone made some pra koog (not even Wikipedia knows what that is) in the middle of the video.

    Besides that, wasn’t that much more impressive then playing Crysis 2. Maybe we should stop minutely pushing graphics forward and possibly focus on things that will actually improve gameplay, like AI. I like tasty graphics as much as the next PC geek, but even okay looking games have looked fine for the last 3 or 4 years.

    • Fumarole says:

      If only the video had some sort of pathfinding demonstration.

      • dsi1 says:

        The AI bit was actually pretty amazing. I don’t think anyone else has done anything like that outside of small proof-of-concept demos.

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      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “pra koog” is meant to be “พล่ากุ้ง”—more sensibly transliterated as “pla koong” or “pla goong”, a Thai dish, often called “spicy prawn salad”. Here are pictures of the dish, and here’s a recipe.

  10. DaftPunk says:

    Not impressed honestly.

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    MajorManiac says:

    I do like the look of the AI path-finding.

    What surprises me about engines like this and the one used for Just Cause 2, is how they haven’t been used for very pretty RTS games.

  12. virtualmatrix258 says:

    Meh. Not impressed with CryTek anymore. Crysis 2 destroyed my faith in them but I hope the studios that use CryEngine 3 really utilize it’s strengths for PC.

    • Thants says:

      But Crysis 2 was pretty good.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        ..in opposite world.

      • Stephen Roberts says:

        Crysis 2 was an acceptable man shoot. It was shooty, but it was hamstrung but being designed with an assumption that only idiots would play it. Hence it barks orders and visual cues down your throat all the time. Mouse4 to Detach. Press F to use. ‘Look mode’ vignettes your view, actually reducing the ability to look. Here are some ‘hints’ for tactical routes including ‘Avoid’ on the enemy tank (just in case you didn’t get the point when it vaporized you three times in a row). I felt like I was trying to fight a UI and babbling suit, not enemies with guns.

        Oh and more relevantly, the graphics in Crysis 2 were great, but hamstrung by console targets and some of the worst fucking pop-in I have ever seen. Pop-in like… why isn’t that guy dieing when I shoot him? Oh, he was behind a big vent that wasn’t rendering. That’s acceptable.

  13. PleasingFungus says:

    “Oh no, Naomi turned into a unicorn!”

    Sometimes youtube annotations perplex me.

    • Lemming says:

      Saw the same thing and it completely ruined the video for me. GG Youtube!

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      Dunno if you can default them to ‘off’ but I tend to have a habit of killing them at the beginning of every video. It’s the speech bubble button on the bottom right.

  14. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Abe Sapien looks really disappointed in us for some reason.

  15. Baboonanza says:

    Great intro Mr Pearson!

  16. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    Bioware should get on this tech for Mass Effect 4 (The second trilogy – Prequel?).

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Only if there is a trade embargo involved. I want to sit down at the negotiation table, look over ledgers and contracts, and be able to make a fair and equitable decision that does its best to meet all of the needs of each party, in triplicate. Single drafting is for Renegades.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Well, that Bioware C&C game is going to be in the Frostbite 2 engine or something…

      ME was done in Unreal, and there’s the 4th version of that coming…

      I’d guess they’ll go with one of those.

  17. Fierce says:

    The Character Shading is a step forward, and actually seems more viable (as Crysis 2 showed) than the face work done with the Unreal 4 engine, but that Ocean Tessellation better not be tessellating underneath the entire goddamn forest again.

    Also, I smiled when Warface was followed by “Gface”

    A knowing and weary smile.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Just wait until they release OFace, for classy gentlemen’s choice.

  18. Jade Raven says:

    This looks really impressive, but until developers of high-graphics games stop cross-developing them for the consoles of yesteryear PC games will, unfortunately, never look this good.

  19. Turkey says:

    I’m always looking for more tesselation in my first person shooters.

  20. Vagrant says:

    But, you can shoot a word in the face if the word is WARFACE. Or any other word with ‘face’ in it.
    It might not make for good enemy design, though.

  21. Bhazor says:

    Is it wierd that Psychonauts still looks way better to me?

    • povu says:

      But how can that be when you can’t see every individual hair and pore on Razputin… That shiz matters.

  22. lijenstina says:

    Fishface for president 2012.

  23. Dreforian says:

    Better pathfinding, yesssssssss. Also, seems to me that achieving ever higher levels of detail should be far lower on the list than developing better tools for animation. Half-Life 2 did an amazing job of making expressive characters and most games since still haven’t achieved much less surpassed that accomplishment. DX:HR deserves at least some credit for trying. ME2 was carried far more by body language and dialogue and alien faces that couldn’t be read the same way. Every one of the human squadmates (including Shepard) had at least one instance of producing some horrifyingly inappropriate expression and Jacob’s jaw always seemed off to me (both on PC and PS3 versions).

    I don’t care much if I can count the pores on the forehead of the person I’m talking to so long as they don’t look mechanical or worse, freakish while doing it.

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      dahauns says:

      Mass Effect 3 is a bit better in this regard. Im especially impressed with Liara so far, very nuanced expressions in some dialogues.

    • sophof says:

      “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West” was extremely good at the expressions. Also, the environments were rather well made for such a clearly low fidelity engine. Personally I’m a bit surprised that game stayed so far under the radar. The gameplay wasn’t the best, but enjoyable enough.

      But then again, SotC wasn’t that popular as well if I recall it correctly. And that game has always stood out to me as what a developer should try and achieve. You can pretty much count the pixels, and still it is beautiful.

  24. MistyMike says:

    PC gamers amongst themselves: “Pah, who needs fancy graphics?! Give me sophisticated gameplay! Depth! Complexity!”

    PC gamers when console gamers can hear them: “Har har, just think of the crap visuals on the tv-toys! Those jagged edges! Those low-res textures! Who could even look at that for two seconds without their eyes lacrimating in agony?”

    • LionsPhil says:

      Close, but the correct labels would be “PC gamers upon feeling that a console game has graphically outshone their own platform”, and “PC gamers upon feeling that their own platform has graphically outshone a console game”.

      • skinlo says:

        Consoles nearly never outdo PC graphics, especially not in the last 3 years.

        • MistyMike says:

          Usually after the debut of a new generation consoles have the upper hand for a year or two, then PCs catch up.

    • lijenstina says:

      Maskirovka.

    • Urthman says:

      Or maybe you can’t describe what people want with the single word “graphics.”

      I like the artwork, design, and graphical style of the PS2-era Psychonauts better than a lot of XBOX360-era games like Bioshock that have “better graphics.” And Psychonauts wouldn’t really be improved by tessellation or any of the other techniques in this video.

      But at the same time, Psychonauts looks much, much better on PC at 1600×900 than on PS2 at 640×480.

  25. Rattlepiece says:

    Not all that impressed.

  26. MD says:

    WARFACE

    Is there a Poe’s law yet for game-names?

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    liquidsoap89 says:

    So what exactly is tesselation? Is it similar to a bump or displacement map? That’s the impression I was getting there.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      My quick, less-than-expert take on it: Its a less hardware intensive way of adding geometric complexity to a model. I believe it works by assigning a numerical value to a part of a model (vertex?) that dictates “projection” or sticky-outeyness. So rather than directly having to build more complex, higher-poly, bumpy models and animate them, you actually have a simpler, flatter one – but the GPU takes that ‘projection’ value and extends the model when it comes time to render. Thats probably a shit explanation, there will be a wiki page somewhere :)

      • Lemming says:

        Am I reading that wrong or are you saying it’s kind of like a convex bump-map? Cos bump-mapping is a texture ‘trick’ for depth right? So presumably tesselation is something similar but with polygons going outward?

      • Telzis says:

        Tesselation basically makes the geometry you give the hardware to render finer. So the triangles (or quads) will be divided into smaller ones directly on the graphics card, without you having to specify more polygons. Use that with a displacement map texture to displace the newly generated geometry and the stone doesn’t just look bumpy because there is a normal map, but IS bumpier and rougher because the geometry itself is more detailed.

    • Nic Clapper says:

      Telzis is correct, but I’d like to add that I don’t understand why tessalation is being done ingame. I don’t see why you wouldn’t just feed it a high poly model to begin with instead of having this extra process running realtime. I mean you can create the model the same way if you want in 3dmax or whatever…like if you don’t want to ‘hand sculpt’ it. I think some might argue that some drive space is saved by not having multiple 3d models for the LOD’s, but I have a hard time believing that small amount of space is worth the tradeoff of the extra process.

      • Zyrusticae says:

        My understanding is that tesselation is more efficient because they reduce the polygon count according to the distance of the object from the screen. Hence, they can use tesselation to reduce detail level when a character or object is too far away from the screen for those million polygons to feasibly make any level of difference in graphical fidelity.

        This also means tesselation is a VERY nice replacement for the LoD systems of the past, as those that are still in use today are simply rife with problems – the LoD models must be pre-generated, either by hand or by automated processes (most of which look utterly horrible in actual practice), and they have the terrible tendency to induce immersion-breaking pop-up. To me, this is the biggest and most wonderful feature of tesselation – I HATE pop-up, it takes me out every single time, and it’s pretty much ubiquitous in games (ESPECIALLY open-world games like Saints Row, the Elder Scrolls series, and any MMORPG). The sooner that’s cut out of games in general, the better.

      • Telzis says:

        I guess tesselation becomes really interesting when you want to animate or even generate the displacement/geometry procedurally, for example in fluids, waves on a water surface or cloth.
        Another reason could be convenience – I imagine managing LoD geometry being quite tricky from a technical perspective. Disk space might be less important, but having to store multiple levels of geometry in your graphics memory, load them in and out and check which are needed may be not as easy as having one geometry and a displacement texture on your card and adjusting the detail by changing a single parameter.
        However, despite having some experience with graphics programming, I never worked with tesselation myself and haven’t read much about the matter, so I’m not sure about other aspects or if these points are entirely true.

  28. D3xter says:

    RPS, home of the luddite game journalism. Seriously, it’s like technological development has killed someone’s dog or something xD

    A nice experiment would be watching a trailer of the “Dear Esther” Mod and one of the Remake (being basically the same game) and honestly saying which one you’d rather play and which sets the mood and atmosphere required/wanted better.
    Personally, until games reach the fidelity of being able to 1:1 resemble the original concept art and being able to fake realism if wanted/required I won’t be satisfied.

    And no, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like or wouldn’t like games pushing forward in other ways or being extraordinary like a lot of Indie games (in fact most of my 300+ Steam library consists of low-tech Indie games or Point&Click Adventures), both of these designs can coexist… just because there’s an engine and the tech out there to do all these things doesn’t mean that every studio has to jump on it, but I’m always looking forward and thankful for a new Crysis, Witcher 2 or Battlefield 3 aswell.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      There is definitely an anti-graphics movement out there, and I can understand some of its frustrations. When you get games like BF3 single player that looks amazing, but is very shallow, its easy to link one with the other and say that graphics were prioritised over gameplay.

      I dont agree thats the case – I think gameplay got borked by something else (e.g. wanting to be call of duty). Personally I have been a gamer since the Commodore 64, and have always loved watching technological advances in graphics. I really do want a super high fidelity, true to life experience in my games, ones so real it would be like playing reality. But I want that to enhance a great gameplay experience.

      By the laws of physics, there’s nothing preventing great gameplay and graphics co-existing, so I have never understood the “gameplay-not-graphics” argument – beyond encouraging devs to put equal amounts of attention and money into both. If its a choice – you aren’t allowed both, then yeah I will take gameplay. But there have been plenty of awesome AND beautiful games – IMO, Crysis 1 and Warhead being examples.

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        felisc says:

        yep.

      • Lemming says:

        @SuperNashwanPower

        I think it’s a fair comment when all the innovation and interesting game play is coming from the low-tech indie market.

        • skinlo says:

          Not all, a fair amount. But thats because it is ‘easy’ to be an indie game developer, take most indie game concepts, scale them up to a £30 full release and they’d be crap.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t welcome the return of rapid graphical improvement because that shit was expensive and really hurt PC gaming. The harmful lie of the $2000 gaming PC is still out there, even though a PC that can run any game is dirt cheap now. Also, better graphics require larger staffs, which means more money, and some genres just can’t get that big. So it meant that a lot of great types of games were no longer made.

      • Shuck says:

        Yeah, exactly – these sorts of graphics usually require huge budgets, so developers suddenly have to get very conservative about the game they’re making. And it’s at the point now where even a very conservative game with a large potential audience still might not generate enough sales to cover development costs. Until the emphasis is on being able to more easily generate a lot of that content, these graphical improvements to engines are more destructive than not.

        • D3xter says:

          Alongside those tech developments they usually also develop better tools to make use of them along with APIs that make certain other tasks a lot easier, you’ve seen the dynamic AI pathing in the video above, nowadays there’s APIs that handle real-time lighting (e.g. Enlighten), things like SpeedTree to make vegetation a lot easier and even “generate” entire woods, there seems to be more and more work going towards AI and dynamic AI (not only by CryTek), there’s also APIs for realistic animations (like EAs ANT system), you can build UIs easier with Scaleform and once certain effects/algorithms like Realtime Reflections have been added to an engine which is being licensed (Unreal Engine/CryEngine/Frostbite etc.) there’s not that much work involved by single developers using those tools. Time-consuming processes like setting up the lighting correctly and checking it or setting up AI pathways by hand that were a pain in the past become almost automatic or require little input and arranging.

          Without those advancements (or the need for them because the console generation is literally blocking it) there is also no need for better/easier tools and implementations, why work on something that will “only” work on PC and might be used by that obscure MMO or Shooter every now and again when most major commercial releases still use Tech of yesteryear? Why develop better AI if there ain’t enough RAM for a reload-animation in games like Mass Effect 3 anyway? The more advanced and harder to achieve things get, the greater will be the need for better tools and middleware.
          They’ll spend the same kind of money trying to squeeze out better visuals from old consoles anyway they can by optimizing for months anyway (see Uncharted, RAGE, Battlefield 3 etc.), I’d rather they spend it on something constructive instead.

          Tech development (in general) is also rather interdependent and you’ll never know if something people call a “gimmick” (like improved AI or fluid body physics or whatnot) and make fun of one day might prove critical for the game concept of another game in the future. Not only that, but other fields like medicine and CAD have also tremendously profited from the huge commercial push into tech being made by both games and movie CGI in the past few years.

  29. morningoil says:

    The first few bars of the music I thought – oh ho! They’ve lifted the score from Ultima 8!

    Genuine question: whatever happened to Nenad Vugrinec? He used to write the most beautiful game music — I’ve been scouring the interrrrrnet for years and’ve never found anything.

    • ScubaV says:

      I really want to know what this music is from. I tried Googling it, but the only mentions are references to some horrible Gametrailers music on a 6:00 demo.

  30. elnalter says:

    Consoles couldn’t pull these effects off with any quality anyway so why bring them up. Does it matter if Crytek has a powerful engine when they’re making generic FPS like Crysis 2?

    • Tychoxi says:

      @elnalter
      I was about to post exactly the same thing, Crysis1′s story and script were incredibly cheesy, predictable and silly; while the gameplay was average at best and arcadeish at worst.

    • InternetBatman says:

      There’s a new generation of consoles coming out relatively soon, and they’ll probably be like a high-end computer right now.

  31. MordeaniisChaos says:

    Hard to know how good it looks at no more than 640×480 resolution…. That dude looked really good though. As a graphics nut I’ll look for this in HD.

  32. Forceflow says:

    Shadows glitch out at 0:55-0:56.
    NOT IMPRESSED.

    No seriously, the advanced particle lighting and the face rendering (sub-surface scattering) looked really well, now only to do something fun with it. Imagine this face rendering tech with La Noire-style facial animation. Yes, that’s a tesselated ocean, now make a game that is not on a tropical island, but actually on ships! Or an underwater colony … anything but shooting men in the face in a tropical island rendered more beautifully every year, but feeling emptier too.

    • Oof says:

      I was quite disappointed with the ears and eyes.

    • Shuck says:

      To make it worse, the engine will mostly be used for games where you shoot men in the face in corridors.

  33. MichaelPalin says:

    Only 720p? I’ll pass!

  34. LifeSuport says:

    Fish man looks inspired by Enemy Mine – http://www.imdb.com/media/rm84643328/tt0089092

    I showed my girlfriend the UE3 demo and I said “Wow, this is amazing no guns, and no one is sh….it

    If it weren’t for Sierra games and pretty much EVERYTHING pre-doom I would think I was getting old with my hate for “modern” shooters. Even that “Kara” demo which shows johnny-5 disassemble, but hides the naughty bits, because killing is cool but your body is the devils work!

    If I didn’t know better I would think our culture is being brainwashed to accept the industrial military complex that, in the US, spends $394,967,000 on two types of jets alone, meanwhile people are jobless, homeless, and hungry. Recall when the US Gov. paid Disney et al to make pro-WWII movies… A lot of these games are basically America’s Army from 2002… and most importantly boring…

  35. LionsPhil says:

    Real-time reflections, eh? We had those in the ’90s. In the BUILD engine. And with some trickery in Half-Life, and UnrealEngine 1 (think making JC do silly dances in front of the Unatco bathroom mirrors, and the shiny shiny shiny floor in MJ12 where Simons and Page do the intro).

    It’d be nice to stop doing that “every mirror in the game is conveniently broken” thing that’ sbeen going on through the ’00s.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I’d assume it has something to do with doubling the amount of potential rendering in a scene that stops em. That Unatco bathroom probably had about 67 polygons in it, so doubling it wasn’t so bad.

    • skinlo says:

      That requires you to render the character you are playing as in high resolution all the time which takes up resources, especially as the chances are you won’t be looking in mirrors through the entire game, it will be quite a rare event.

    • Bassem says:

      I remember in the BUILD engine, in order to create a mirror I had to create a room that was as big, behind the mirror, as the room in front of it. I think the point is that this time it’s a real reflective surface, as in, one surface that’s assigned as “mirror” and creates reflections in real time.

  36. Voon says:

    Slightly impresssed with this, honestly

    I’m all for better graphics but it would be better if someone manages to put in some mindblowing art direction to compliment the gorgeous graphics in this engine. Warface looks more of the same generic manshoot we’ve seen for years.

    P.S. Better pathfinding is more than welcome. Thank God!

  37. Hydrogene says:

    “Catmull-Clark compliant Subd Surfaces” I don’t know what it is, but I want one!