This past Friday, we held our first CRYENGINE Community Gathering here in our Frankfurt offices, and today we want to give all those of you back home a quick recap of what happened, and some of the exciting news we had in store for our guests.
After a short introduction by Brand Manager Marcel Hatam, including a studio tour of Crytek’s offices and a small snack, we sat our attendees down for some presentations and previews of new features coming with CRYENGINE 5.2 (currently scheduled for mid-August).
Presentations of 5.2 features
To kick things off, Software Engineer Luis Lairet showed some of the work that the Sandbox Team is currently doing. This includes a new Notification Center, which gathers all messages about tasks, errors or warnings in one convenient place for the user; a new node-based frontend for the Particle Editor, as well as further improvements to the overall look and consistency of the new interface- all of which will go live later this month with 5.2.
This was followed by the first big announcement of the day when Programmer Christian Jäger presented the latest additions to the FBX Importer, including support for animations! This was high on many wishlists from our users, so we are very happy to say that starting with 5.2, you will be able to import animations along with static objects, with files being automatically converted to the appropriate CRYENGINE-formats. We are looking forward to getting user-feedback on this highly requested feature!
Next up was Senior Engine Programmer Holger Durach with a demo of our Dynamic Response System (DRS), which allows designers to quickly set up a wide variety of audio events without needing a programmer. Using this system, it took Holger only a few minutes to set up a variety of different audio reactions for an AI character based on whether he was shot (and where), or grabbed and thrown around. Thanks for your help, nameless AI character!
Rounding out our 5.2 demonstrations was Product Manager Colllin Bishop with a look at some of the improvements we are making outside of the engine. Chief among these is a big update to the CRYENGINE Launcher, which greatly simplifies project creation (fewer clicks thanks to prefilled information and available engine versions) and management (you can now start your Game.exe right from the launcher). There is also a built-in reporting tool that can grab your engine logs and send them directly to our support team whenever you want to report an issue.
We have also heard your feedback on our website, and are currently creating a new homepage (showing a very cool video from one of our community members), with a faster and simplified registration process, and more information on where to find the right learning resources for you. Finally, the previously announced new gallery for the Indie Development Fund will go online in the next weeks (along with the launcher and homepage updates), and allow anyone interested in receiving funding from the fund to upload their pitch for the community to vote on.
But wait, Collin had even more good news! He also showed one of several new C++ templates that we will ship soon to allow users to jump right in when building their own games- no matter if they are aiming for a first- or third-person-shooter, an isometric game or even a sidescroller! We also showed even attendees some of the in-depth C# documentation we are currently working on, as well as a sneak peek at the new CRYENGINE “Getting Started” guide, which you will be able to download as a handy pdf.
A public Roadmap is coming this month!
And finally, the biggest news- you have asked for it, and we listened. Starting this August, we will have a public CRYENGINE Roadmap right here on our website so you can at any time check what to expect from our teams in the future!
The roadmap will be split into three sections, showing you what features and improvements to expect from the next release (in this case, 5.2 in mid-August), the one after that (5.3 in October/ November), and finally some of our long-term R&D plans that may or may not be realized. Within each release column, features are sorted based on the team working on them, such as Audio, Rendering or Sandbox. Being more transparent with our community is one of our core goals going forward, and we hope that the release of this roadmap will be a big first step on this path.
After a short break to let all of this sink in, it was time for the most important part of the Gathering: The Feedback Session. For 90 minutes, we gathered many members of the Crytek team – including several of the most senior CRYENGINE developers and two of our company co-founders – and gave our guests the chance to ask or tell them anything they ever wanted about the engine. Complaints, suggestions, praise- anything was fair game, and we are thankful for all the feedback we were given. We are also happy to say that starting later this month, you will see that many of the requested features are in fact already part of our development roadmap for later this year!
The fun bits
As a company, we like to adhere to the “work hard, play hard” motto- and what could be harder than playing in-doors Lasertag during the brief but hot Frankfurt summer? Let’s just say that more than one participant expressed their “thanks” for the impromptu workout we provided them with!
To cap off the day, our group ended the day with some traditional Frankfurt food and drinks in a nearby restaurant, providing even more opportunities for our guests to talk with some of CRYENGINE’s developers.
Learnings for next time
We are very happy with how this first event went, and like to think that the same applies to our guests, but nothing is ever perfect. So for the next event, we will make sure to announce it much further in advance, to give more developers from across Europe (or even the world) a chance to attend.
We also heard that some of our guests would have preferred more time for the Feedback Session, so we will definitely take that into account for the next event.
All of us in the CRYENGINE Team would like to thank our 16 guests who traveled from all across Germany (and Norway!) to spend the day with us, and to provide invaluable feedback.