Great Engine, Great Price but where is an option for the sourcecode? :(
OK, two years ago, I never thought that there are AAA Engine out which provide a source code access for Indies and absolutely newcomers and may also Crytek needs time to analyse the new market situation.
I made few little steps with the CryEngine SDK, later with the Unreal SDK and now with the Unreal Engine 4. But also I had tested the CryEngine offered here on Steam (ok, only a really short time - But it was so powerful as I thought) and the Unity 4 Pro (ok, now there is a Version 5 with PBR, better lightning and so on). So lets`s compare these Engine.
From all the big 3 Major Game Engine which can be accessed by every one, the CryEngine have the best graphic and physic rendering inside (so long you don't use frameworks/middlewares like the nVidia Framework, which give you the nearly same results in all engines). And off course, with the CryEngine you have also access to the best available AI.
Ok there is something more but it's not objective, the CryEngine Level- and Terrain-Editor is my prefered editor. Yes you can get the same results and options for automatic generated terrains and foliage in aspect of the heights and angles - But with the CryEngine Level/Terrain editor this is out of the box more intuitive and
Inside the CryEngine is working a powerful audio/sound middleware, OK this have to paid separately, but it's fully include, it works great and with extra fees lower as 2,500 USD for (for bigger releases) this is not really expensive. And this is the point, where we have to talk about the price and the last big positive point for the CryEngine:
With <10 €/$ per month and no royalties, this is a really low priced engine which gives Indie teams the ability to take as much from there project as they can. It technical better then the Unity 5 and does not cost a one time fee of 1,500 USD. Compared with the Unreal Engine, which have no monthly fees, this is also cheaper because you have not to pay the 10% of royalties fees. Please let`s make a small calculation:
You have 5 team members and producing a small game in your free time. You spend also 1k-10k USD for assets, plugins, middlewares... So you and your team/friends would release a game with your loved game style and art. So you are working 1-2 years 20h per week (wow, this is unpaid ;) ....) and then you are releasing your game on your own page and/or inside the Steam network:
If you sell 10,000 copies for each 10 USD:
Unreal Engine: You have to pay 10,000 USD to Epic (this is OK)
Unity: You have to pay 5x 1,500 USD = 7,500 USD (hmm, is still less)
CryEngine: 5 devs x 18 months x 10 USD = ~810 USD (wow, this is really low ;))
Now you had your first discounted sales and you want bring it on a new level with a typical indie price:
If you sell 100,000 copies for each 20 USD:
Unreal Engine: 200,000 USD
Unity: 7,500 USD
CryEngine: ~810 USD +2,500 USD (sound)
And of course there are additional fees for Steam and the App-Stores, mostly 30% of every sale plus the local taxes with a average of 20% - Only these two fees will cut your benefits to 50% of you market-prices. So it's important to talk about the fees!
If you sell 100,000 copies for each 20 USD you will get 1 million for your team of five people. But from this 1 million you have to pay the 10k for assets, 2k for sounds, ... let's say 20k (and this is really low calculated). For the two years of work with powerful PC, you have also pay for additional hardware (new/bigger screens, new graphic cards from AMD and Nvidia to test the different settings, ...) lets say, you need additional 30k... And the power which you need, lets say 20k... and and and...
OK, from your two million of revenue, you got one million to pay your bills and your invest: After this you have 900,000 USD minus the fees for your Engine (200,000 USD for Unreal, 7,500 USD for Unity and 810 USD for CryEngine). This 896,690 USD you have now to split in a part for your next game and live and for a small revenue... It's not much and really not enough to hire additional experts... especially if have to pay 200,000 USD to epic and you only get 700,000 for your team and next project. And this after 1-2 years of hard developing parallel to your work.
So this small math session was for all the negative Voters which used the engine for less than 0,x hours... And off course if you only the a part of this, may the 10,000 copies for each 10 USD: you will only get 40,000 USD (Unreal), 42,500 USD (Unity) or the 49,190 (CryEngine)...
So yes, the CryEngine is the cheapest engine of all the three available Engines and this is also cheaper as Steams upcomming Source Engine 2 - If you don't want to publish your game primary to steam, because you also think that the 30% royalities are too high.
+ Best AI
+ Best out of the box graphics (including lightning, parallex, composing for vegetations, ...)
+ Best out of the box physics (not only nVidia PhysX)
+ Best out of the box sound system (for bigger releases, you have to pay small extra fee)
+ Best price for all small and big releases (only extra small releases will bring you a lower fee/royalities with the Unreal Engine)
+Really goot Terrain/Level editor
+ Good Multiplayer Setup
+ Best working LOD and DOD (more details and larger maps)
+ Together with Unity, really good tools for perfomance monitoring
+ Best water volumes, time of day system, shadows, ... OK best graphic/physic
- No source code access for Indies, also not for a extra fee
- Engine and instruments are focused on Shooters, and this you will see every time
- Smallest community (and also this is necessary if you are an Indie)
- No Asset-Store with out of the box working scripts, propperties, and so on
- Only few implemantation of actually external tools and middlewares (this works much better with Unreal and Unity), e.g. Substance Designer and advanced materials, SpeedTree, ... - But if you are working only with Autodesk Maya/3DSM it doesn't matter)
- No mobile plattform support (but also the Unreal Engine had a lot of problems with mobile plattforms, so Unity is the only one which is working for you if you want deploy your game cross plattform or primary for mobile devices running on Android or iOS).
The Cryengine is the best for everyone who wants the best looking results and who are making Shooter or similar games. Off course, also other teams had made totally other games with the CryEngine, but this needs a lot more time as you are working with Unreal Engine.