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Updated on July 17, 2007
The future of gaming is here, and it's pretty!  Scroll down to see what technologies are featured in this screenshot!
The future of gaming is here, and it's pretty! Scroll down to see what technologies are featured in this screenshot!

The above screenshot demonstrates a dense, lush forest enviornment. What looks like a regular, if not pretty forest (minus the dead guy), is actually the most graphically advanced real-time rendered forest in a PC game. But it's just a forest, you say? Read on to find out why it's no ordinary forest!

The technology featured in this screenshot consists of, but is not limited to:

  • Real-time Lighting and Dynamic Soft Shadows
  • Volumetric, Layer and View Distance Fogging
  • Terrain 2.5D Ambient Occlusion Maps
  • Normal Maps and Parallax Occlusion Maps
  • Real-time Ambient Maps
  • Subsurface Scattering
  • Eye Adaption & High Dynamic Range (HDR) Lighting
  • Motion Blur and Depth of Field
  • Light Beams & Shafts
  • Advanced Shader Technology
  • Terrain LOD Management Feature

So what does all this technical jargon mean, you ask? It means that you are looking at what is currently the pinnacle of gaming technology. You are looking at what was impossible a few years ago. How could I put this so that it will make sense...

This game would require as many as twenty of the computer you're using now to run smoothly. Okay, so that might be an exaggeration, or it might be flat-out wrong. For all I know, you're using a top of the line $10,000 gaming rig with quad 8800 GTX video cards.

Let's take a look at some screenshots of games that have been "mega hits" over the years. The games that have taken the gaming world by storm due to their sure graphical brilliance.

Far Cry - Released in 2004
Far Cry - Released in 2004

The screenshot to the left is from the game Far Cry. For its time, Far Cry was the god among PC games in terms of graphics. Very few games came close. It was one of the first games to implement massive, lush forests. Comparing Far Cry to Crysis will give you an idea of how PC games have advanced over two to three years.

Half Life - Released in 1998
Half Life - Released in 1998

For its time, nine years ago, Half Life was easily one of the greatest games of all time. And to be honest, it's still a riot to play through it again every now and then! Half Life was the cutting edge of PC games in 1998. Despite the age of the game engine, people continue to make modifications for it to this day.

Duke Nukem 3D - Released in 1996
Duke Nukem 3D - Released in 1996

Duke Nukem 3D is considered by many to be one of, if not the single greatest first-person shooter (FPS) of all time. The game was beautiful in 1996, and even though it lacked the real 3D feel (most objects were 2D and rotated to face you as you walked around them), it was still a BLAST! Despite being eleven years old, people still play it, and make modifications for it to this day.

Wolfenstein 3D - Released in 1992
Wolfenstein 3D - Released in 1992

Wolfenstein 3D holds the title of being one of, if not the very first first-person shooters. It was awsome, and despite feeling clunky and awful today, it was phenominal for its time. Looking back at a FPS game made 15 years ago really shows you how far PC gaming has come, and should give you an idea of where it's going!

Thanks for the history lesson...

You're welcome! But back to Crysis. Crysis, while not doing anything particularly different from any of the preview first-person shooters (you still hold a gun, and shoot everything that moves... And some things that don't), is simply a demonstration of what personal computers are now capable of.

But don't think Crysis is just another first-person shooter with better graphics, because that wouldn't be correct. Crysis is just another first-person shooter with good graphics, that is also showing how computers are now capable of modeling massive ammounts of physics in real-time. "Physics?", you say? Yes that's right. Pretty much anything you run into in Crysis has a certain set of laws surrounding it. Objects have weight. Objects will react realistically to your bumping into them, or shooting them with a shotgun. You might not be able to move that house very far by bumping into it furiously, but by god, you'll sure level it with a few well placed grenades!

Not only are man-made structures completely destructible in Crysis, the enviornment is, too! If you're an action movie buff, you've no-doubt seen the film "Predator" featuring the Governator. There's a particular scene in Predator where all of the guys are firing wildly into the forest around them, leveling everything in site. Tree's are splintering and blowing apart, logs are bouncing around, leaves are flying about, and a few lucky tree's even get to fall over! The vegetation in Crysis will blow apart the same way it did in Predator. The same way it would if you were to take a minigun into a forest and shoot five or six thousand bullets in all directions.

Not only will you have a blast killing every tree in sight, you'll also be wasting copius ammounts of bullets shooting bushes and the leaves on tree's. You see, individual leaves will react to being hit by bullets. Or explosions. Or shockwaves... Or a combination of the three, if you're really crafty. Not only will these leaves react, the branche they're on will react too, and so will the other leaves attached to that branch. Some well-timed clicks could lead to some tree dancing hilarity!

Lets all look at the screenshot below, it features something cool, and awsome, and it makes me happy.

Which one is real, and which one is in-game?  You decide.
Which one is real, and which one is in-game? You decide.

Truth be told, the image on the left is the real one. The image on the right is rendered in real-time, in Crysis. If that isn't near perfection, then I just don't know what is! Check out another comparison image below. This one is even harder to tell the difference!

Fifty bucks to the person who guesses right on the first try!
Fifty bucks to the person who guesses right on the first try!

Crysis is simply the be-all, end-all of pretty PC games. Nothing compares to it now, and it will be some time before anything compares to it in the future! I'm done writing this for now, I'll add some updates later showing off more great features to be found in Crysis!


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