This is more of an aside, but Crytek’s Cevat Yerli shows off a demonstration of the upcoming (September ’09 release) CryEngine 3 and I’m floored.
The enhancements that Crytek have gotten into CryEngine 3 are nothing short of amazing, specifically on the PS3. Cevat explains that over the years they have had two R&D engine teams internal to CryTek: 1 PC Team and 1 PS3 Team.
As some of you may know, developing for the Xbox 360 was made intentionally easy by Microsoft by wrapping most all of the PC-based APIs up in some proprietary Xbox 360 APIs, but for the most part leaving them intact. So developing for the Xbox 360 and PC were really straight forward, especially for companies with a long history in PC gaming like Valve — who hate the PS3.
Unfortunately it seems like developing for the PS3 has been a mind-raping experience for most developers. It was either the bare-metal APIs at launch that weren’t doing much abstraction away from the core design principle of “stream everything, nothing goes in memory” or the incredibly complex hardware — that was apparently designed to be complex intentionally.
Because of this, a good majority of the games that have come out of 3rd parties for the PS3, have been sub-par behind their PC or Xbox 360 counterparts.
Cevat explains that the two R&D teams inside of Crytek have actually been combined to move CryEngine 3 so far forward, that now PS3 is performing like their premiere platform — it’s pretty incredible when you see the detail and complexity of what they are demoing here:http://csdl.ign.com/ve3d/videos/05/72/57272_CryEngine3CevatYerliTechDemoMovie.flv
Something to keep in mind is that there is a lot not going on in these scenes that a finished game would need processing power to drive; like complex AI, many animated characters, complex physics, scripted sequences, sound mixing, etc. There are some portions of that in the demo, so at least we can get an idea of the ballpark they are playing in, and I’m seriously impressed.