The fifth iteration of the CryEngine made waves last week when developer Crytek put the code up on GitHub.com for all to use — for a price.
It has joined the ranks of engines like Unreal as being readily available for developers to browse through and use for their own projects.
“This has been our internal roadmap for some time,” said senior systems engineer David Kaye in a blog post announcing the move, “but we wanted to take our time and make sure we got it right: once a file is published to a Git repository, it becomes part of the history and cannot be removed by subsequent updates (in contrast to other version control systems, which may allow changes and file revisions to be obliterated.)”
The drop includes the newest source code and access to all of the supported platforms, such as Linux, Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Oculus Rift, according to the developer.
Now, of course, all of that information comes at a cost: Whatever you want.
When CryEngine V came out in March, it was released under a pay-what-you-want model. For as little as one penny, people could access the tools.
Now, with the GitHub release, it has truly become “pay what you want.” Prospective developers can pay $0 for the source code, though some projects might get use out of support packages, which cost extra.
Those who opt to pay for the code can also dedicate up to 70 percent of their contribution to CryTek’s Indie Development Fund. That money goes toward providing financial and community support for independent game devs who use the engine to create their own worlds for players to explore and play through.
“Indie developers—both teams and individuals—are eligible to apply for funding,” according to the fund’s page. “If you are working on a CRYENGINE project you’re excited about, we want to see it. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what your project is about, or how long you’ve been in the industry. Show us your work with CRYENGINE, and share your passion.”
Currently, the fund has about $1 million in place as a developer deadline looms around the corner. Applications for the fund are due June 10, after which the CryTek team will choose three projects to fund and six additional projects to receive tech support packages.
Once obtained, developers can use the code to make and sell games, at least those that would receive an ESRB rating of M or lower.
Best of all for said developers, CryEngine V projects products are royalty free. Unlike those that use the Unreal 4 engine, which has a 5 percent royalty on gross product revenues after the first $3,000 per game per calendar quarter, CryTek requires no percentages, kickbacks or other obligations.
Some developers might enjoy the DirectX 12 support CryEngine V offers, but looking ahead, virtual reality is the obvious frontier. VR has exploded onto the scene in recent months, with both the Rift and HTC’s Vive hitting the shelves earlier this year and Sony’s own foray slated for October.
CryTek’s team announced a new initiative with CryEngine V’s release — VR First. VR First hopes to create a worldwide hub of virtual reality developers to explore a medium that is just now coming into people’s homes in an affordable way.
Well, mostly affordable.
The Rift runs a buyer about $600, whereas the Vive rings up at roughly $800 — and that’s not including the computers needed to run them. Sadly for Samsung Gear enthusiasts, CryEngine V doesn’t offer mobile support.
Still, as the technology grows more widespread and affordable over time, it will give a wider market to those who want to take advantage of a tool as readily accessible as CryEngine.
Looking ahead, the CryTek dev team will focus on streamlining the connection between them and GiHub. “The next step for Git is to establish a simpler pipeline for accepting pull requests from GitHub into our existing version control system …, “ Kaye said.
Right now, CryTek uses Perforce for its revision management, but Kaye said users are more commonly asking to provide the source via GitHub itself. That transition will take time, and no prospective date was offered up.
“In order to maintain the quality of our code,” Kaye said, “we have a system of tests that code must pass before it can be submitted to our production branches, which cannot be run directly against pull requests.”
But with the first step out of the way, it’s off to the races for developers.