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C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby NeoLegends » 04.05.2012, 23:50

wow what a battle
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby Adsolution » 05.05.2012, 01:04

LizardSpock wrote:4. Giant water volumes with full wave simulation. When an object creates a disturbance in the water, the engine actually propagates waves over the entire water surface (which could be an ocean around an island, for example), as opposed to generating all the waves randomly but in a way that looks natural. In C4, if a boat creates a wake a mile offshore, then those waves eventually wash up on the beach.

Now that is fairly neat - I hope at some point they implement that into CryEngine.
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby mihanix » 05.05.2012, 09:40

LizardSpock wrote:1. All lighting and shadows in C4 are 100% dynamic. There is no internal limit to the number of lights in a scene. How many the engine can actually handle depends on the area of influence of each light, whether they cast shadows, and how complex the materials are on the illuminated surroundings.

True. But how many lights you can add in a scene with a decent frame rate? Suppose you have a scene of a room with candles and a large (say 100) number of high poly (say 2k each) objects in it. Now you want to illuminate them. How many light sources you can add to this scene to make a good looking picture and be able to navigate around it? Of course you will reply, that it depends on influence radius and the fact that shadows are cast or not. But let's drop shadows (or they WILL drop FPS down to zero in C4 and this scene). So the only thing that left is the radius. How small do you want to make it? Small radius won't make a scene look good enough. What else do you want to sacrifice? Poly count? Would be logical of course, but the scene is just 200k (not much for current gen. cards). But because of multi-pass rendering nature of C4 this scene will quickly become 2kk or even more because of light sources forcing to rerender the meshes. Of course you can add only a few light sources to this scene but in CryEngine you make much-much more. You can reply that this is the way C4 is designed. Well... this is the way CryEngine is designed.

LizardSpock wrote:2. C4 uses both cascaded shadow maps (with smooth cascade transitions) and stencil shadows. They can be mixed in the same scene however you want. All shadows are 100% dynamic, and there are no baked light maps.

True. But did you try to animate objects with depth maps or light sources that cast these depth shadows? Noticed aliasing? A big one, I mean. All you get with these is a scene of jumpy black spots.

LizardSpock wrote:3. Built-in standard per-pixel shading capabilities include tangent-space normal mapping, parallax mapping, microfacet shading, environment mapping, gloss, specular, emission, etc. These are part of the "basic" mode of material creation where you just specify colors and texture maps in some pre-defined slots. By using the shader editor instead of basic mode, you are able to use any shader effect you want. Things like normal mapping and parallax mapping end up being a single node in your shader graph.

True. But using shader editor for complicated things is a big pain. I've been using this kind of editors previously and it's a big-big-big pain, I must say. Just remembering this mess of blocks, fibers, rectangles on a screen makes me sweat. Sure you can make simple things, like apply a texture and somehow manage to scroll it. Did you try to scroll texture coordinates in a CUSTOM direction? Don't tell me... engine design... Right?

LizardSpock wrote:4. The engine has a unique feature called horizon mapping that casts dynamic shadows from the bumps in the normal map. It's very inexpensive and really nice looking, but uses more memory.

True. And also looks good. Useful? Maybe, but not much of game texture types will make use of it.

LizardSpock wrote:5. The terrain in C4 is 100% voxel-based. The engine does not render directly from voxel data, but precomputes a polygon mesh using an algorithm called marching cubes. This conversion is done in real-time in the editor when you use the sculpting tools on the terrain.

True. Maybe even very useful. Can't argue here, since I used to height maps. Much easy to use, texture and requires far less memory. Also faster to render.

LizardSpock wrote:6. The sound system in C4 supports streaming, reverberation, reflections, obstructions, atmospheric attenuation, doppler shift, and room-to-room path tracing (so sounds go around corners instead of straight through walls).

True. Have you tried to use FMOD? You should try it some time. Only then you WILL notice the difference. Just use it's Event system and FMOD Designer software. This baby makes sound design a dream!

LizardSpock wrote:7. Skinning is done using a SIMD algorithm that runs on all available CPU cores. For processors with 4 cores or more, this has higher performance than GPU skinning, especially in multi-pass lighting situations or on lower-end GPUs.

True. But only for C4 engine. If an engine makes use of multi-pass lighting, then there are only 2 possible choices: CPU skinning or transform feedback. Eric choosed the former, because the latter is only a high-class GPUs could support at that time. Also this solution doesn't use CPUs fully. I made tests with the demo and it showed only %60-%70 usage of my quad core Phenom in a test scene. I understand that there are stalls at other places that cause this, but still, CPU skinning doesn't perform as well as another test app with instanced (BTW, no instancing in C4?) characters. 8192 characters with lighting and shadows (PSSM). All visible at once (no LODs) - 30 FPS on the same Phenom and AMD 6870. In case you want to test, the sample is here: http://developer.amd.com/sdks/radeon/pa ... aspx#d3d10 (the one "Skin Animation (June 2007)"). Can anything like this be done in C4? I understand it's just a synthetic bench scene, but we were talking about features. Right? Or this is a "not needed" one?

I'm not very familiar with CryEngine, but here's a list of features in C4 that I believe are not available in CryEngine (since some people were asking for them). Correct me if I'm wrong.

LizardSpock wrote:1. The transvoxel algorithm. This is used to create seamless transitions between different levels of detail on the voxel terrain, a problem that any engine programmer could tell you is very difficult to solve. It was invented by the creator of C4 (just google it). If you see it in another engine, then know that it came from him.

Can't argue here. Didn't use CryEngine that much. But as I know CryEngine doesn't use voxels for everything. Main terrain is height map, but I'm not sure. Better if someone more qualified would confirm this.

LizardSpock wrote:2. Blobby particle systems like the goo/paint in Portal 2. These are also based on voxels.

Like someone mentioned previously - FPS specific. In this case - game specific. Or should I say in the same logic style - Portal 2 specific? Nice technology, but not much of use.

LizardSpock wrote:3. Horizon mapping, as mentioned above. CryEngine may have something that achieves a similar effect, but "parallax occlusion" mapping shaders tend so be much more expensive because they contain complex looping structures. The horizon mapping technique trades memory for performance and runs extremely quickly without any shader requirements beyond DX9.

Already mentioned above.

LizardSpock wrote:4. Giant water volumes with full wave simulation. When an object creates a disturbance in the water, the engine actually propagates waves over the entire water surface (which could be an ocean around an island, for example), as opposed to generating all the waves randomly but in a way that looks natural. In C4, if a boat creates a wake a mile offshore, then those waves eventually wash up on the beach.

Main problem here - GIANT. For a smooth simulation you need a very (VERY) dense grid. Or you'll get a soup of triangles (that's what we see in demo). Also you need some intuitive controls over this thing. Have you seen ocean in CryEngine? Boats leave wakes behind them. Maybe not as "good" as in C4, but...

LizardSpock wrote:5. In-game fully interactive GUI panels, with editor. I'm not sure if CryEngine has something like this, but they are like the panels in Doom 3.

Have you heard about Scaleform? Definitely try it! You will quickly change your opinion after it in no time! Or at least just watch the demos or video.
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby mihanix » 05.05.2012, 09:42

Jesse Meyer wrote:C4 does not yet support custom post processing, but Terathon has noted an interest to implement it by this summer.

We were discussing things that are CURRENTLY working. There is no point in discussing what WILL BE SOME DAY implemented.

Jesse Meyer wrote:C4's material visual shader editor supports an immensely wide variety of shaders ranging from a simple diffuse phong shader to the complex, like sub surface scattering or parallax mapping. You just have to assemble the pieces. Here is a rock wall that utilizes C4's horizon mapping that I made for testing : http://www.terathon.com/forums/download ... &mode=view I think it looks great - and each face on the wall is only 2 triangles. Whomp Whomp. It's like black magic.

Never seen artists that want to spend time in assembling the pieces of shaders to make parallax or SSS (BTW, any screenshots of this?). Artists need to spend time on tuning and not assembling. They (most of them) need to have just controls like sliders that would change parts of shader internally. In indie/hoby projects, of course, there is plenty of time to spend on this "assembling" stuff. But in commercial - I don't think so. But that's just IMHO.

Jesse Meyer wrote:So, you see it's just as powerful as any other shader editor. Custom light and atmosphere shaders are coming soon too. Which would allow C4 and CryEngine to be feature compatible graphically, more or less. Geometry shaders are coming to C4 sometime.

I agree it's somewhat normal to suspect that "what you see is what you get". But in this case, in a case of engineering and design, it's not always what meets the eye that is important. I bet that if a few of CryTek's artists ported their artwork into C4, and set up the materials in the same way, that anyone, and specifically anyone on this board would have a difficult time determining which is which. All this to say is that artists create good artwork, not programmers. Terathon has hired more artists recently, and I've seen some good stuff come through them. Maybe this will be a moot point a year from now.

As I mentioned previously - no point in discussing future. Only reality.

Jesse Meyer wrote:If you haven't used the editor, your opinion doesn't matter. It's that easy.

I can't shoot good movies, but I can tell you which movie is good or not from the description of it or a quick look.
I can't cook good enough, but I can tell you what food is tasty or not by the smell of it or look of it.
But by your (and I've seen same thing from many people trying to defend things) logic I can't do that.

Jesse Meyer wrote:It doesn't adhere to the standards that are typical in the industry, but for good reason - the industry's standards are low and mostly illogical. While the World Editor in C4 doesn't LOOK pretty, that isn't its job. Its job is to facilitate creating worlds, and for the most part it's very well assembled and logically organised. It's only not intuitive, I argue, because we've all been taught on how to deal with NON-intuitive designs in the past. Now, I'm not saying the World Editor is perfect, or better than CryTeks, but there exists very good reasons as to why it behaves and looks the way it does. I wouldn't mind a little UI-sparkle, but I'd much rather functionality over aesthetics, at least initially.

Everything has a reason, right? I'm pretty sure that everything made in the engine is not a mistake or something. Everything had a good reason before it was implemented. CryTek team also had their own reasons in creating CryEngine. Even UDK team had their reasons.
It's just that Eric saw it would be good to work exactly this way and not the other. But he is not an artist, I think. That's why the reasons are somehow differ from those people got used to.
Also, saying that "industry's standards are low and mostly illogical" is kind of odd. Perhaps you just do not agree to them, but nothing more.

Jesse Meyer wrote:Pathfinding - while I agree that the IDEA of pathfinding is used heavily in games, the exact method is typically tailor suited for exactly the type of game you're producing. So it's a complicated set of features, not just a feature. The same goes for navigation. In this way, Terathon hasn't officially designed their own algorithm, because it would only work for a fraction of their customers. That's arguably bad business. If you're using CryEngine, I bet you're modding or creating a FPS. But what if you wanted to make an RTS? Or a simulation engine like Sim-City? The pathfinding / navigation system would now likely be working against you!

A very strange logic here. Why not implement just a basic A* thing? This would make things MUCH-MUCH more easy for new comers. Also it works for 80% (if not more) of game types. Even Eric is making an FPS and the demo levels/assets used to come from a game I think (might be wrong here).
Or you are completely sure (like one of posters previously) that no other types of games use it? You are completely sure that a RTS would not be able to use CryEngine's pathfinding? You are completely sure that navmesh algorithms are useful only for FPS? Geee... Don't want to start it again. I have explained it already to the other guy previously.

Jesse Meyer wrote:Time of day - It's cool but not for every type of game, so the same logic applies. There was a shader contest at Terathon's community forums awhile ago, and the winner had made a Time of day system. It's doable already; it just isn't officially supported or included.

Have you tried to use it on your own? How much time you've spend on tuning this thing? Also time of day is not just a shader on a dome. It's much-much more envolved in it. Also it doesn't depend on a game type. It depends on a game play. Even a RTS can have this if designers decide sow. Even a platform or even a tetris type of game.

Jesse Meyer wrote:C4, like CryEngine is just another tool in the tool box. You don't need every tool to create a chair, but you do need a different set of tools to make an airplane than a car. These tools are neither worse or better than each other independently, but they do offer differing measures of usefulness, dependent on the task. Up is down to our friends in Australia. Remember that.

I agree. Things are VERY different. It's just that one guy asked about technology used in C4 and missing in CryEngine and vice-versa.
I never argued about better/worser engine. Never argued about price or support policy - just the techs. My opinion about everything other then the tech was in my previous posts.
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby the_grim » 05.05.2012, 12:23

Jesse Meyer wrote:Hi,

C4 does not yet support custom post processing, but Terathon has noted an interest to implement it by this summer.

C4's material visual shader editor supports an immensely wide variety of shaders ranging from a simple diffuse phong shader to the complex, like sub surface scattering or parallax mapping. You just have to assemble the pieces. Here is a rock wall that utilizes C4's horizon mapping that I made for testing : http://www.terathon.com/forums/download ... &mode=view I think it looks great - and each face on the wall is only 2 triangles. Whomp Whomp. It's like black magic.

So, you see it's just as powerful as any other shader editor. Custom light and atmosphere shaders are coming soon too. Which would allow C4 and CryEngine to be feature compatible graphically, more or less. Geometry shaders are coming to C4 sometime.

Hi Jesse,

Thanks for clearing things up a bit. :) So it seems there are quite a few graphical features that don't really manifest in the screenshots; LizardSpock has added some more specifics which are very interesting.
LizardSpock wrote:I'm not very familiar with CryEngine, but here's a list of features in C4 that I believe are not available in CryEngine (since some people were asking for them). Correct me if I'm wrong.

1. The transvoxel algorithm. This is used to create seamless transitions between different levels of detail on the voxel terrain, a problem that any engine programmer could tell you is very difficult to solve. It was invented by the creator of C4 (just google it). If you see it in another engine, then know that it came from him.

That sounds very interesting indeed, Cryengine has currently the traditional "hard" transition between terrain LOD levels. The DX11 tessellation system supports dynamic, smooth LOD transitioning though.
2. Blobby particle systems like the goo/paint in Portal 2. These are also based on voxels.

...

4. Giant water volumes with full wave simulation. When an object creates a disturbance in the water, the engine actually propagates waves over the entire water surface (which could be an ocean around an island, for example), as opposed to generating all the waves randomly but in a way that looks natural. In C4, if a boat creates a wake a mile offshore, then those waves eventually wash up on the beach.

These sound like really nice features! :)
5. In-game fully interactive GUI panels, with editor. I'm not sure if CryEngine has something like this, but they are like the panels in Doom 3.

This is actually possible in Cryengine through Scaleform UI integration. You can even project the dynamic UI elements on surfaces as if using a projector - the UI elements behave just like any textures. The only thing lacking compared to the Doom 3 panels are TrueType fonts and vector graphics (CE3 UI elements are converted to bitmap textures). ;)
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby Jesse Meyer » 06.05.2012, 01:38

mihanix wrote:We were discussing things that are CURRENTLY working. There is no point in discussing what WILL BE SOME DAY implemented.


Hi. Thanks for responding.

I disagree. Are you discussing and anticipating Crysis 3? I find there is much value in forecasting the weather. Now, you cannot work with what you do not have, which is important, and in that sense I agree with you, but that isn't the whole picture.

mihanix wrote:Never seen artists that want to spend time in assembling the pieces of shaders to make parallax or SSS (BTW, any screenshots of this?). Artists need to spend time on tuning and not assembling. They (most of them) need to have just controls like sliders that would change parts of shader internally. In indie/hoby projects, of course, there is plenty of time to spend on this "assembling" stuff. But in commercial - I don't think so. But that's just IMHO.


It all depends on the job description. In many professional studies, the artists that understand how to write their own shaders are prized. I am aware of other studios where there is a single artist for modeling, texturing and shading.

Also, C4 does have a standard material editor. The vast majority of materials can be assembled without even tinkering with the node graphs. Want just a diffuse, specular, normal map w/ environment mapping material, maybe UV animation? Easy. It works in nearly exactly the same way CryEngine SDK does in this way.

mihanix wrote:As I mentioned previously - no point in discussing future. Only reality.


The here-after is but of course, now. :]

mihanix wrote:I can't shoot good movies, but I can tell you which movie is good or not from the description of it or a quick look.
I can't cook good enough, but I can tell you what food is tasty or not by the smell of it or look of it.
But by your (and I've seen same thing from many people trying to defend things) logic I can't do that.


You are advocating judging a book by its cover, or a car by its paint job. Please consider that the knowledge you learn by participating in something is quite a different set of knowledge you learn by observing. My point was that, if you've never used the World Editor, your opinion doesn't matter because you may say "I don't like it because it looks archaic", without actually knowing why it is archaic in the first place.

To stress the point, some of the best mac and cheese I've ever tasted looked like it came right out of a colon. :cheesy:

mihanix wrote:A very strange logic here. Why not implement just a basic A* thing? This would make things MUCH-MUCH more easy for new comers. Also it works for 80% (if not more) of game types. Even Eric is making an FPS and the demo levels/assets used to come from a game I think (might be wrong here).


Because if you're professionally writing a game, whether or not A* is implemented is not a concern. It's (the heart of it) a trivial bit of code that doesn't take much time at all to implement effectively. There are larger and more important features that take priority.

C4, admittedly, isn't for newbies. It's a professional engine designed by professionals for professionals. If you're really wanting to learn about game design (not game creation), modding is where you should start, which is why communities like this one exist. I spent so many hours in on the Valve / Source boards learning everything I could and it was one the best things I could've done in that regard. Starting with an engine like C4 would've spin me in loops.

mihanix wrote:Or you are completely sure (like one of posters previously) that no other types of games use it? You are completely sure that a RTS would not be able to use CryEngine's pathfinding? You are completely sure that navmesh algorithms are useful only for FPS? Geee... Don't want to start it again. I have explained it already to the other guy previously.


No, but that isn't the point. It's a speculation but one that I think has a good deal of insight behind. You don't have to believe me or anything that I say. Just consider it and investigate yourself. You learn the best that way. Skepticism is the best.

mihanix wrote:Have you tried to use it on your own? How much time you've spend on tuning this thing? Also time of day is not just a shader on a dome. It's much-much more envolved in it. Also it doesn't depend on a game type. It depends on a game play. Even a RTS can have this if designers decide sow. Even a platform or even a tetris type of game.


I haven't used it. Yes, ToD is quite complicated to model correctly, and can be used across a variety of games. It's a nice feature, but it isn't engine specific - it's game specific.

mihanix wrote:I agree. Things are VERY different. It's just that one guy asked about technology used in C4 and missing in CryEngine and vice-versa.
I never argued about better/worser engine. Never argued about price or support policy - just the techs. My opinion about everything other then the tech was in my previous posts.


Thanks for the discussion.

Good day.

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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby DW_ » 06.05.2012, 02:45

I've actually been lurking the C4 boards as a guest (probably the one who was looking at the public programming sections a lot. :P) and the main site -- the engine isn't as "bad" as some of the people here like to believe. It's like if I recommended someone play Neverwinter Nights (2001 version) and they told me that they don't like it because of the polygon soup graphics. It's still arguably one of the best CRPGs of all time IF you'd just play it, and has one of the longest-lived modding communities out there.

Also, a lot of what people here have as ammo to call the engine dated could be easily implemented through an engine plugin or some modifications to the core. Don't think CE3 has engine plugins (at least, not that I know of). Sure, the editor is WYSIWYG, but terrain editing is done ON A HEIGHTMAP in A SEPERATE WINDOW. In C4, it's all done in the same window from what I've gathered from the features page and from reading the boards.

Remember, it's not the tools, it's the user. :)
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby Jesse Meyer » 06.05.2012, 09:21

DW_ wrote: ... Remember, it's not the tools, it's the user. :)


If you rely on your engine to make your game, you're doing it wrong. :P
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby ClockworkOnion » 06.05.2012, 22:07

DW_ wrote:
Also, a lot of what people here have as ammo to call the engine dated could be easily implemented through an engine plugin or some modifications to the core. Don't think CE3 has engine plugins (at least, not that I know of). Sure, the editor is WYSIWYG, but terrain editing is done ON A HEIGHTMAP in A SEPERATE WINDOW. In C4, it's all done in the same window from what I've gathered from the features page and from reading the boards.

UDK has been doing this for years........
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby Adsolution » 06.05.2012, 22:26

DW_ wrote:terrain editing is done ON A HEIGHTMAP in A SEPERATE WINDOW

No it isn't. Have you ever explored the second tab of the Rollup Bar? Heightmap editing is done in the same window with simple tools. However, you also have the option of editing it in a separate window from a topographic view, which makes it in some cases easier. Also, don't forget that CryEngine also has Voxels, so heightmaps from a topographic view certainly aren't the only solution.
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby NeoLegends » 06.05.2012, 22:32

DW_ wrote:Also, a lot of what people here have as ammo to call the engine dated could be easily implemented through an engine plugin or some modifications to the core. Don't think CE3 has engine plugins (at least, not that I know of). Sure, the editor is WYSIWYG, but terrain editing is done ON A HEIGHTMAP in A SEPERATE WINDOW. In C4, it's all done in the same window from what I've gathered from the features page and from reading the boards.

Never heard of the RollupBar?

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Same window :P
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby Trazzy » 04.01.2014, 13:53

Hello there,
Hot arguments seem to flare up while comparing these two game engines. :)
Guys, take a look at the project we developed on C4 engine. As I'm a newbie here, the forum doesn't allow me to post links. Google Wind of Luck and you will see what I'm talking about.
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby DevGuy1975 » 04.01.2014, 14:45

Oh god - necro.
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Re: C4 Engine - Crytek take notes

Postby Lavizh » 04.01.2014, 14:47

Don't necro old threads.

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