September 22, 2017 // 11:13 a.m.
Crytek has announced the launch of CryEngine 5.4, despite the company's recent financial troubles, bringing beta-status support for the Vulkan application programming interface (API).
Best known for the Crysis family of games, Crytek's fortunes have been waning for some time: In 2014 staff reported unpaid wages even as the company denied bankruptcy rumours and key staff departed, and a capital injection and the sale of the Homefront franchise later that year only bought a couple of years before reports of bouncing paycheques resurfaced. In December 2016 Crytek confirmed it was in financial dire straits, closing the bulk of its studios - one of which would be saved from extinction by Sega's Creative Assembly.
Now, Crytek is announcing the release of CryEngine 5.4, the latest release of its in-house game engine with which it hopes to compete with the like of Unity and Unreal Engine. The biggest change to come from the new release: Support for the Vulkan low-level API, building on work the company had already carried out for Vulkan's predecessor Mantle. This functionality, however, is available only in beta form, with Crytek still shipping Microsoft's rival DirectX 12 API as the standard renderer.
Other new features in CryEngine 5.4 include integration with the Substance Designer material authoring tool, the ability to blend and integrate disparate objects into a terrain mesh for improved detail and flexibility, a new Entity Component System which takes the load of entity handling off the game designer, improved extended detail bending for vegetation based on work carried out for Crytek's Robinson: The Journey, and new support for subpixel morphological anti-aliasing (SMAA), temporal anti-aliasing (TAA), and supersampling.
CryEngine 5.4 is available now, though Crytek has not indicated when the first games based on the new engine will be appearing. More information and demonstration videos are available from the official website.