A few days ago EA and Crytek have officially announced the upcoming game Crysis 3 scheduled for release in the spring next year and today they have released the first official gameplay trailer (embedded above). What they’ve forgot to confirm however is if Crysis 3 will support stereoscopic 3D mode as Crysis 2 does and if it does will there also be a full dual rendering and not only their 2D+Depth approach they currently use. The game Crysis 3 will be based on the CryEngine 3 and that engine does have native stereoscopic 3D support, so it will be plain stupid not to have the support available in the game, especially after the good feedback of the stereo 3D support in Crysis 2. Not to mention how the CryEngine’s stereoscopic 3D support is being advertised as a zero implementation solution with the game developer not having to do anything special to have S3D implemented in his title based on the engine. However we still don’t have any official confirmation about Crysis 3 having stereoscopic 3D support…
Now, we all know why Crysis has developed the 2D+Depth approach in CryEngine 3 or as they call it Screen Space Re-Projection Stereo (SSRS), all in order to ensure they can offer a decent stereoscopic 3D experience not only to PC gamers, but also to PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers willing to play in stereo 3D as well. Using the SSRS solution you get just a little performance loss when playing in stereoscopic 3D mode as opposed to the more serious performance hit that a full dual rendering introduces, but the later also does provide a more spectacular and realistic volume experience. And since we did not get full dual rendering stereo 3D mode in Crysis 2 via an update, a lot of gamers are hoping this will be introduced in Crysis 3, at least for PC gamers that can always upgrade their hardware to handle the extra performance requirements. As adding this opposed to the 2D+Depth approach is not possible for consoles where you’ll have to sacrifice details in order to ensure full dual camera rendering in order to fit in the performance capabilities of the PS3 or Xbox 360. Considering that Crysis 3 is scheduled for the spring 2013 or in about a year from now there is quite a lot of time for Crytek to add additional stereoscopic 3D rendering modes, but it is not yet know if they will indeed do that or not. Meanwhile they have started taking pre-orders of Crysis 3 Hunter Edition already that includes some extra bonuses for the most eager gamers.
Great news everyone as today Crytek has released a freely available CryENGINE 3 SDK for non-commercial use, you can download it and try it out, you just need to do a free registration in order to be able to use it. The CryENGINE 3 Free SDK can be used for non-commercial projects, so you can use it for educational purposes or even to make your own games and distribute them as long as they are available completely free. And things get even better as the CryENGINE 3 Free SDK also offers full support for the stereoscopic 3D output modes that were available in the game Crysis 2 that is based on this engine. And although the game itself only contained the post stereo rendering, meaning not full dual frame rendering as a means to still provide decent feeling for volume of the objects on the scene almost without sacrificing any performance, the free SDK also offers you to use dual rendering mode. This means that you would be able to make full stereoscopic 3D rendering for both images intended for the left and right eye, but this comes at some cost, namely the bigger hit in terms of performance when in stereoscopic 3D mode.
The Post Stereo mode (SSRS or Screen Space Re-Projection Stereo) is the only option affordable for consoles according to Crytek in this SDK as Xbox 360 and PS3 generally lack the power to use dual rendering on more complex gaming environments that you’d be normally designing with the CryENGINE 3 engine. The trick behind this is that the image for the second eye is extracted from the one rendered for the first eye by offsetting pixels based on the depth, so the processing power required for rendering the frame for the second eye is significantly reduced and thus the drop in performance drop is hardly noticeable. However when working on a game for PC you’d probably prefer to use the Dual Rendering mode in order to get two fully rendered frames for each eye in order to have more convincing depth effect, of course provided that you have powerful enough video card that can handle the extra load. Both the Post Stereo and the Dual Rendering modes are fully implemented in the CryENGINE 3 Free SDK, so you will be able to experiment with them to see what the visual and performance difference are.
CryENGINE 3 Free SDK System Requirements [Developer]:
– Supported operating Systems: XP, Vista, Windows 7 (with Windows 7 recommended)
– CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, AMD Athlon 64 X2 2GHz or better
– Memory: GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
– Video Card : Nvidia 8800GT 512MB RAM, ATI 3850HD 512MB RAM or better
CryENGINE 3 Free SDK System Requirements [End User*]:
– Supported operating Systems: Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista SP1 or SP2, Windows 7
– CPU: 32-bit or 64-bit processor (a multi-core processor is strongly recommended)
– Memory: 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)
– Video Card: ShaderModel 3 capable graphics card (for example an Nvidia 6 series card) * End Users who only use the game launcher without Sandbox have lower system requirements.
The only new feature that the CryENGINE 3 Free SDK still lacks is the support for DirectX 11, but apparently such will be added in a later version of the SDK, so you will also get to use that feature.
Meet Jens Schöbel, Technical Designer (and stereoscopic 3D wiz) for Crytek, developers of the upcoming Crysis 2 video game and CryENGINE 3 game engine. Crytek first made headlines in stereoscopic 3D gaming with a demo they did on an iZ3D monitor at GDC 2009. They later demonstrated CryENGINE 3 running in stereoscopic 3D on the big screen at SIGGRAPH 2009. Now Crysis 2 is getting set for release (this November), complete with native stereoscopic 3D support for the PC and Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 consoles. Neil Schneider from MTBS3D began a mystery tour of finding out what Crytek have been cooking in 3D by asking Jens Schöbel a lot of interesting questions.