Chances are that over the last few years you've played a game built using the Unreal Engine 3. Whether on BioShock, Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War or another game, you've seen the engine in action. Some think it's the best game engine built to date, while others think it's old and overused. Well, with the recent announcement of Crytek's new CryEngine 3, Epic may need to watch its back, as there's a new game engine in town and it's sporting technology surpassing anything seen on the consoles yet. Both game engines support features such as realistic lighting (global illumination), depth of field/motion blur, advanced physics, developer support and rendering tools, so what sets them apart?
With the Unreal Engine 3, developers have access to a wide collection of 3D party plug-ins including FaceFX, SpeedTree, and Morpheme. These partnerships with 3rd party software developers allows Epic's engine to support many world class simulators and sandbox creation and editor tools. For example, studios using Unreal Engine 3 have access NVIDIA PhysX, which offers cloth and destructibility physics, as well as Autodesk Kynapse, which handles complex AI.
On the flip side, Crytek built nearly all CryEngine 3 tools and editors in-house. Boasting everything from Ocean Wave Technology to CryPhyics, Crytek has created an engine built for complex simulations and visual prowess. What was once king of high-end PC gaming, will now be enjoyed on your PS3. Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli stated that CryEngine 3 is "not just a little improvement upon CryEngine 2, it's actually a significant rewrite towards a console engine."
To refresh your memory, a few Unreal Engine 3 titles that have come out in the last few years include Army of Two, BioShock, Mirror's Edge, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. So far, Crytek has yet to announce any titles using CryEngine 3, though rumor has it that not only is a PS3 version of Crysis on the way, but even Hollywood is looking at using the CryEngine 3 for creating CGI sequences on silver screen.
Below, we've posted a screenshot comparison of the two engines. For a more detailed look at each engine, you can read more about the Unreal Engine 3 here, and Crytek's CryEngine 3 here.
Click on the images for larger versions.