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Watch Crytek's Back To Dinosaur Island VR Demo

At this year’s GDC, Crytek demonstrated new features of the updated CryEngine. One of their demos was Back To Dinosaur Island, a VR demo designed for use with the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype. The demo was playable – as much as it’s playable – on the show floor during GDC, but on the off chance that you weren’t there or couldn’t strap a VR helmet to your face, the below might be of interest. It’s a supposed direct feed video of the demo in action, with lots of shiny dinosaur action.

Here’s the video, courtesy of All Games Bulletin:

It’s labelled as direct feed, but it’s not split into two separate frames in the way that it would be if it was being rendered out of a VR headset. It is obviously being controlled with headtracking, as evidenced by the twitchy, jerky, somewhat-annoying movement.

This is straight-up VR-as-gimmick, with lots of things lunging towards your head to trigger your flinch instinct, though that’s fair enough for a company only attempting to demonstrate the strength of their engine when it comes to virtual reality. I found the name more interesting; this is called “Back To” Dinosaur Island because it’s a follow-up to one of the earliest things Crytek made, an engine demo called X-Isle: Dinosaur Island. It was also produced to highlight the power of the CryEngine, as well as Nvidia’s GeForce 3. From an Nvidia page about it:

“X-Isle: Dinosaur Island is an educational demo that leverages the technology and art of the upcoming title X-Isle published by Ubisoft. X-Isle: Dinosaur Island educates the player about the wonderful world of dinosaurs. Leveraging the OpenGL-driven CryENGINE and the GeForce3 nfiniteFX engine to create a Jurassic Park-like environment rendered in real-time, X-Isle: Dinosaur Island leverages the power of the GeForce3 to highlight the most advanced 3D, real-time graphics ever seen in educational software.”

Crytek never produced a game called X-Isle and it seems likely the project morphed into the Ubisoft-published FarCry, which was published three years later in 2004. You can watch a video of the original Dinosaur Island before and marvel at how far Crytek have come. In terms of polycount, at least.

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Graham Smith

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