Crysis Remastered is coming out a little later this month on 18th September, reviving the classic PC buster for more modern hardware and with Crytek throwing plenty of modern graphics techniques into the mix. For the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, that will impressively include ray tracing.
Digital Foundry got to visit Crytek in Germany (not that big a deal in terms of international travel, since two(?) of the team live there) and go hands on with the game on all the various platforms it’s coming to, diving into the technical nitty-gritty of how Crytek have pulled off ray tracing on the current gen, despite not having hardware support like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X will.
Ray tracing is restricted to these higher powered consoles for a very good reason. Without ray tracing enabled, the game runs at 2160p30 on Xbox One X and 1800p30 on PS4 Pro. With ray tracing enabled, that drops all the way down to a dynamic 1080p30 on One X and <1080p30 on PS4Pro. There’s also a performance mode locked to 1080p without ray tracing and with an unlocked frame rate for those who want it.
The trick that Crytek have pulled is in being very frugal with what they ray trace. But first, what is ray tracing? Current games typically lean on screen-space reflection techniques that take whatever is on screen at that time and extrapolate and transform that onto a reflective surface to give the impression of realistic reflections, but if you look at a window at an angle and turn your point of view, you’ll start to see things fade out as they’re no longer on screen.
Ray tracing enhances graphical realism by reflecting things not on screen at that time, which is a big part of why it’s such a burden on game performance. In addition, it’s computationally expensive the trace how light travels and reflects off different surfaces. So game engines have to decide what to include and what not to include in the ray tracing side of the engine.
For Crysis Remastered, the game drawn an area around the player, rendering an additional low detail version of the game world and then processing reflections from that. However, this is only the scenery, and not characters, vehicles or other destructible elements. It’s also rendered at 540p, and it’s from this that the CPU then calculates the rays of light. We’ve already seen that there are similar compromises being made in games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, where destruction is not shown, but various parts of the scenery are, but with hardware ray tracing, these effects can be done much more extensively.
Speaking of which, you’ll get to see Crysis Remastered with full on ray tracing on the PC. There, with Nvidia’s RTX 20 and 30 series cards, and the upcoming AMD RDNA2 cards, you can enable hardware ray tracing and have much more extensive ray tracing. In fact, there’s a new “Can it Run Crysis?” graphics mode that ramps up every single setting possible on the game engine to show just how the game can punish modern hardware, just as the original game did.
Today's post is dedicated to our PC community!
We want to show you, for the very first time, an in-game screenshot using the new "Can it Run Crysis?" Graphic mode, which is designed to demand every last bit of your hardware with unlimited settings – exclusively on PC! pic.twitter.com/kVHEf63oWe
— Crysis (@Crysis) September 6, 2020
Source: Digital Foundry