Well, CRYENGINE 3.5 is out and running like a charm (even if it is in all caps). Considering we were engineless for far too long there because of the 'security issues' and not even able to load up our maps in the editor at all - this is a big relief. We can now open all our old files again as normal and make new ones but the login has changed to be a one-time (per machine I guess) thing which will make lots of our exhibitions and demos work much more elegantly which is great.
The forest level loads up and looks as pretty as ever. A quick look around shows there are a suite of differences. No binoculars which is annoying as the sample level is nice to demo but now I dont have a no-gun option which is very off-putting for people. I dont have my hands underwater anymore either - I liked that, anyhow you can see the basic interface is still the same:
Frostbite is the mighty game engine behind Battlefield and Skyrim to name a few. These are undoubtedly some of the most gorgeous environments in gaming and EA are bringing us Battlefield 4 and the shiny new Frostbite 3 Engine. More on the games in another post - but have a look at some of the joy that is in the new engine - would be fun to be able to work with it, alas it is locked behind the EA doors for serious game dev only...
When we had the trouble with CryEngine logins I did take another look at Unity. This mighty little engine always seemed to struggle visually (despite long ranty forum threads). There is little doubt that a student can create a quite stunning visualisation in CryEngine very quickly with limited skills, that just isnt possible in Unity.
Other things are wonderful in the engine though, the file format support, the customisation, the marketplace and community, the support for things like the Oculus Rift, the active development support, the platforms and more besides. You see demo videos that look pretty beautiful but you just dont see that level of graphics in all the other dev work... Not all games/environments 'need' to look incredible, but if that is what you are going for in some sense then an engine should make that easy for you.
Note - still VERY keen to play with Unity and the Rift when I get a sec...
Obviously I shouldnt end this post without a quick vid showing of the Unreal UDK. This video shows off the splendour of Unreal Engine 4 for us...