The game Crysis 3 has been available for some time already and I took it for a spin to see how well it works on my stereo 3D setup with 3D Vision and do some benchmarks using the game of course. I should start with the fact that like its predecessor Crysis 2 the new Crysis 3 also uses 2D + Depth rendering method (Screen Space Re-Projection Stereo or SSRS in short) for its stereoscopic 3D output, regardless of what kind of stereo 3D display device you are using. This apparently has proven to be a good compromise between stereoscopic 3D quality and performance requirements and thus allowing the game to run in stereo 3D mode on the current generation of game consoles in stereo 3D mode as well. The fact that the 2D + Depth method is used also in the PC version of the game instead of providing two full stereoscopic 3D rendered views for each of the eyes on the PC as well has been criticized, but seeing how demanding the new Crysis 3 is it is no wonder that the developers did not provide us with full stereoscopic 3D rendering. The side effect from 2D + Depth rendering method is that it may not look as good as “true” stereo 3D rendering and there could be some additional artifacts (look at the halo around your gun), so it is not perfect, but it also takes up very little performance hit, something like just 5% decrease in performance as compared to about 40% or more for the alternative full dual view rendering. After playing the game for a while I suspect that it will yet again turn out to be more of a reference benchmark than a highly liked game by many, though it can be fun to play for a while and I do plan to finish the story when I have the time for that. But now let us take a look at some benchmark results…
The results above were achieved in stereo 3D mode in an open environment inside the game and are the average FPS achieved inside the game on a system equipped with single GeForce GTX 580 and two GTX 580 cards running in SLI with an Intel Core i5 2500K quad-core CPU (3.3 GHz) and 8GB system Memory under Windows 8 OS. All of the hardware was running in stock frequencies and was not overclocked, as you can see from the results the GTX 580 is either outdated already or more likely the new Crysis 3 game is way too heavy. Of course these results are in stereoscopic 3D mode, but the framerate increase you’d get switching back to 2D mode is minimal because of the performance optimized stereo 3D rendering mode that the game uses. Even with two GeForce GTX 580 cards in SLI the game is not comfortably playable in stereo 3D mode at Very High detail levels with no AA filtering enabled. And an average framerate of 60 FPS is not achievable even with the SLI setup at Low level of details, and no, the Crysis 3 is not a demanding game… it is a very demanding one.
Stereo 3D mode using Dual GTX 580 in SLI with AA:
– Very High, 8x MSAA – 21 fps
– Very High, 4x MSAA – 29 fps
– Very High, 2x MSAA – 31 fps
– Very High, SMAA mGPU (2x) – 31 fps
– Very High, SMAA Low (1x) – 31 fps
– Very High, FXAA – 31 fps
– Very High, no AA – 32 fps
Here is the situation when using the various AA filtering modes available in the game, as you can see apart form the high MSAA modes the situation does not change much in terms of average framerate achieved when using two GTX 580 cards in SLI.
How will overclocking affect performance:
– CPU + 1GHz @ 4.3GHz: Very High, no AA – 34 fps
– GPUs + 100MHz @ 872MHz: Very High, no AA – 34 fps
– GPU and CPU overclocked: Very High, no AA – 39 fps
It seems that Crysis 3 can push not only the GPU, but also the CPU and having more performance squeezed from either of them by overclocking does help in getting a few FPS more in the game. This however is an exception as still not many games can push the limit of multi-core CPUs as well as multiple GPUs running at 100% load and even pushing the video memory to the maximum. It turns out that with high AA levels Crysis 3 in stereo 3D mode can reach levels of video memory usage very close to the 1.5GB available on the GTX 580.
Now, considering that the above results in stereoscopic 3D mode were achieved using the 2D + Depth rendering, getting something like 40% lower framerate if full dual view stereoscopic 3D rendering was used the FPS would get even more disappointing. So yet again, I’m expecting that Crysis 3 will be used more for benchmarking hardware than being played for fun, something that we’ve seen happening with previous version of the game as well.
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.