Crytek has launched the newest version of its powerful CryEngine technology – and shaken up its business model in doing so.
CryEngine will now be available on a Pay What You Want basis, giving developers the chance to contribute to new advances or use it for free.
“The entire engine and full engine source code will be available,” creative director Frank Vitz told attendees during a GDC 2016 briefing. “That’s all of the tools, everything our own developers use to make games.”
He stressed that there will be no royalties fee, and no obligation to pay for additional services, adding: “We just ask you to contribute what you can to support our continuing development.”
That ongoing development has now manifested as CryEngine V, a brand new version of the technology that Crytek promises offers a wide range of improvements – most of which are, unsurprisingly geared towards VR.
New features include support for DirectX12 and FMOD, a completely redesigned and rewriter low-overhead renders, new volumetric cloud system optimised for VR, support for all major VR devices, and more. CryEngine V will also be C#-enabled.
Vitz described the new engine as “more robust, more accessible, more intuitive and optimised for VR”, acknowledging that Crytek hasn’t done as good a job as other engines in supporting smaller and indie studios.
To that end, the company is investing $1m into a new CryEngine Indie Development Fund, which is aimed to help studios get their projects started.
Fellow CryEngine users will be able to contribute too, with up to 70 per cent of their Pay What You Want donations able to be attributed to the fund.
Finally, the company unveiled a new VR demo – Codename: Sky Habour – that is designed to be the benchmark consumers can use to establish whether their PC supports virtual reality devices.