As some of you might be aware of by now, towards the end of last month, the moderation team suddenly disappeared for a few days… If you were wondering where we were, I think this picture might give a bit of a clue:
That’s right, we’d been flown over to Frankfurt to pay the Crytek offices a visit. For this little trip, we had most of the staff team there – Squiggers, Cry-Ruan, Geo Piskas, Liam, I-E-D, CoD511, and Litos456.
After our highly enjoyable flights (CoD511 had to endure an 18 hour flight from Australia, whilst I had the joy of a bunch of over excitable children on my flight…), we all met up at Frankfurt airport where we met Cry-Adam, and Cry-Tom, before beginning a trip through the maze of subway trainstations towards the offices and our hotel in the centre of Frankfurt. Perhaps the biggest problem with Frankfurt isn’t the slight language barrier (as English is also commonly used within the huge city), but the 30 degree heat, with a huge storm due. It was a hell of a change from the 14 degrees I’m used to in the UK!
Before heading off to the Crytek offices, we decided to go to one of the areas in Frankfurt that has a large English speaking crowd, Waxy’s, so we could get something to eat - which we would also be paying a visit to on our final night in the city. This first trip unfortunately started off the jokes about Ruan preferring to eat grass than normal food, being the heathen vegetarian that he is.
Once we arrived at Crytek, we had to sign an NDA which means that some of the stuff we saw whilst at the office, we can’t reveal to the public unfortunately. But what we can reveal to start with is that their staff are much shorter than you’d expect, as the following image shows inside the office. (Sorry guys, I couldn’t resist.) (Adam: This is us in our human form)
From left to right – Adam, Tom, I-E-D, Geo Piskas (kneeling), Ruan, CoD511 (kneeling), Liam, Litos456, and Squiggers. That handsome devil in the middle is Alcatraz.
Once through to the Crytek offices, our first activity of the day was looking around the office. Before we’d even left the central area of the office, we got jumped on by Sean Tracy, one of the writers of the CryENGINE Cookbook, and perhaps better known to some of you as Cry-Criminal.
The offices are arranged in a circular fashion and colour coded to the red/blue/yellow/green logo colours, with each project having its own area, along with the PR, and Admin departments.
Whilst wandering through the huge offices, we met yet another well known staff member, Cry-Alex who was happy to see us, and like Sean, we'd see him throughout the rest of the trip.
From the looks of it, nearly all of the office was well aware of us coming to see the Frankfurt HQ, and were looking forward to meeting us all. Once we’d finished our tour of the offices, it was off to speak to the Audio team and their principal Florian for the first of two meetings over the course of the trip.
We were shown how the audio for cutscenes is built up using the following clip:
Where the cracks appearing in the glass were built up, slowly, piece by piece. Altogether there was approximately 5-8 separate sounds used for just the glass breaking in its production, so that should give you some idea of how much work goes into getting the audio right in Crytek's games.
After this introduction to the audio department, we headed off to one of the smaller rooms where we got our first encounter with Warface and it was definitely something we can’t wait to get our hands on when it releases.
As we can't show images from Warface.. heres a picture of a Nanosuit statue covered in Crytek trinkets that was on Adam's desk.
As we’d arrived fairly late, it was time for us to head off back to the hotel, before heading out to another restaurant – this time to be joined by a severely jetlagged Cry-Styves – who the community will perhaps remember better from his username Xzero – who we unfortunately gave the nickname of “The Shader Guy”. Remembering new people’s names can be difficult in all fairness.. and I’ve a feeling Styves was far too tired to complain!
After we'd finished with the offices, some of us decided to go on a little photography trip around Frankfurt at night - for such a huge city, and huge workforce the place is surprisingly quiet at night, as some of the pictures taken below illustrate.
Thats all for the first day of the trip - stay tuned for Day 2!