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.


  1. TheMightyEthan says:

    Since the motion is obviously controlled by head-tracking my guess would be that they either recorded the motion data of one person’s VR “playthrough” and then re-rendered it at standard monitor AR, or they had it set up to output a monitor signal realtime for spectators and captured that.

  2. TaurusI76 says:

    I like how the plants are scared when the T-Rex screams. Approved by Archeo-Physicists.

  3. mtomto says:

    A tech demo isn’t worth much on youtube at 30 fps 1080p.

  4. XhomeB says:

    Trespasser 2.
    Why on Earth hasn’t it been made yet. We now have the technology to make that dream a reality.

    • SlimShanks says:

      It’s been too long since we could accidentally shoot ourselves in the head!

  5. GameCat says:

    Dinosaur Egg (With Eyes) Simulator 2015

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      You aren’t an egg. You are in a nest surrounded by eggs. Food for the baby dinos that are about to hatch. Hence why the T-Rex doesn’t eat you.

  6. Cytrom says:

    If they made, a remake of Crysis with dinos, I’d totally buy that.

  7. Nereus says:

    If they remade Crysis, but with more free-roaming capabilities a little like Far Cry (but without the obnoxious objectives) I would hemorrhage money.

    • Nereus says:

      I forgot the salient information, remade CRysis with dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are important otherwise you just have far cry.

  8. Bereil says:

    ““X-Isle: Dinosaur Island is an educational demo”

    Where are my lovingly rendered dinosaur feathers?

  9. skalpadda says:

    twitchy, jerky, somewhat-annoying movement

    Got a whiff of motion sickness even watching that on my monitor. I’ll probably be among those left behind when/if 3D actually takes off.

    • mtomto says:

      I think it’s pretty normal. Your brain is having a hard time distinguishing between the visual movement and your own actual movement. It might be better when you feel like you are in control. Motion sickness should get less of a problem the better the control gets (virtual 3d).

  10. SuicideKing says:

    That T-Rex using Active Camo or what?

    (I know, I know).

  11. Text_Fish says:

    Thanks to VR, you too can finally experience the delight of having an insect repeatedly flying in to your face. The term “majestic” gets bandied around far too easily these days, but honestly, anybody who’s ever shared a small room with a flying insect would have to agree that in this scenario if nowhere else, it is not mere hyperbole.