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Crysis Remastered Tech Q&A – RT Cores Provide 5-9ms Performance Boost, DLSS Coming Later with an Update

Sep 16, 2020 12:10 EDT
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Crysis Remastered is almost here after the slight delay. Launching on Friday, September 18th for PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the classic first-person shooter game will shine once more thanks to the graphics overhaul by Crytek and Saber Interactive.

We've been able to send a few questions to Crytek for a detailed Q&A that goes into more or less all technical aspects. Below you can find the answers from Steffen Halbig, Project Lead for Crysis Remastered, and Theodor Mader, Technical Director for CRYENGINE at Crytek. Enjoy!

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When did work begin on Crysis Remastered? How many developers have been working on it?

[SH] The work on Crysis Remastered started in the summer of 2019. It's hard to say how many
developers in total worked on it but what we can say is that Saber dedicated two of their studios
to the project. On our end, quite a few CRYENGINE engineers were involved in helping to
implement visual improvements.

You've mentioned that this remaster focuses on the single-player. Is the addition of multiplayer modes possible after launch?

[SH] Crysis Remastered brings back the original campaign, and there are no plans to add multiplayer.

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Can you go into a bit more detail on the textures overhaul? Are the textures all up to 4K resolution now?

[SH] We have improved a lot of textures up to 4K or 8K, where it makes sense. For instance, you
would not need a 4K texture update on all small leaf on the ground. We do it where we know it
will make an impact. It's worth a mention that the Nanosuit itself will get an 8K texture update!

As first showcased in your Neon Noir demo, Crysis Remastered will feature software-based ray tracing. Can you describe in detail how your technique differs from the RTX/DXR based ray tracing that we've seen so far?

[TM] Contrary to RTX/DXR ray tracing, CRYENGINE's ray tracing solution is entirely software-based. This means that it is fully implemented in a standard shading language and that it can run on any contemporary GPU without requiring specialized ray tracing hardware. The great benefit of this approach is that it is fully customizable regarding the data layout and the embedded payloads, and that its performance characteristics can be tightly controlled for each use case. We can even offload some of the work to the CPU in case the GPU becomes a bottleneck.

With PCs (on both existing NVIDIA RTX and soon-to-be-launched AMD GPUs) and next-gen consoles featuring hardware support for ray tracing, do you plan to take advantage of this for Crysis Remastered and generally for CryEngine at some point?

[TM] Hardware-assisted ray tracing is planned for the next CRYENGINE release and is already
available in the PC version of Crysis Remastered.

You've just mentioned 'hardware-assisted ray tracing being available for Crysis Remastered at launch'. Can you go into a bit more detail? Is this using Turing and Ampere's RT Cores, and what kind of improvement have you seen by enabling them?

[SH] We are using the Vulkan extensions to enable hardware ray tracing on NVIDIA RTX cards.
This gives us a significant performance boost in the game. The differences you will see in the
game and the reflections of animated objects, besides the main character, and performance.

Hardware support gives us a 5-9ms of rendering time performance boost with ray tracing enabled. In areas where ray tracing is not 100% present, like on a wooden floor, you won't see many differences in performance between software and hardware ray tracing, but for 95% on the game, you will feel the performance benefits.

Why did you opt to go with NVIDIA's Vulkan 'VKRay' extension for ray tracing instead of using Microsoft's DXR API?

[SH] We developed the game with DX11 and our own CRYENGINE API in place. The Vulkan extension was a great fit for us to build everything on top of our current solution to improve
performance.

When AMD's RDNA2 GPUs ship later this year with hardware ray tracing support, will you enable hardware raytracing for those graphics cards as well in Crysis Remastered?

[SH] We do not yet know how and when we will support AMD's RDNA 2.

Which effects, in particular, are going to be ray traced in Crysis Remastered, and will there be any differences in ray tracing between the various platforms?

[TM] Crysis Remastered will feature ray-traced reflections, and we have enabled ray tracing
functionality on PC, Playstation 4 Pro, and Xbox One X. The raytracing configurations have been tweaked for each platform individually to get the best balance of performance and quality
for the specific platform.

Which rendering resolution and frame rate are you targeting on the respective platforms for Crysis Remastered?

[SH] For Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, we have a quality mode with 4K 30FPS with dynamic resolution and 1080p 60 FPS in performance mode. For the base versions of Crysis Remastered on Xbox One and PS4, we deliver 1080p with 30 FPS. For the Nintendo Switch, we have 720p 30 FPS with dynamic resolution.

The original Crysis Remastered press release mentions support for Temporal Antialiasing, too. Does that open up to NVIDIA DLSS 2.0 support at some point, given that the new version is based on the TAA framework?

[TM] We are currently adding Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling technology to Crysis
Remastered, and we will ship it in an upcoming patch! Stay tuned for more. However, there
are no definite plans for a generic DLSS 2.0 integration in CRYENGINE yet.

[SH] We only started to implement DLSS recently since we were focused on all the other
features in the game. We cannot give any results about the performance boost yet, but DLSS is
known for a significant performance boost.

Will the game come with a built-in benchmark tool on PC?

[SH] Yes, we will have a built-in benchmark tool on PC.

Will Crysis Remastered have support for the now ubiquitous HDR displays?

[SH] Yes! Crysis Remastered will support HDR for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Beyond ray tracing, what do you think about the other DX12 Ultimate features? Are you going to add support for those in Crysis Remastered and/or CRYENGINE? 

[TM] DirectX 12 Ultimate brings exciting features like variable-rate shading, mesh shading, and
sampler feedback in addition to ray tracing improvements. Unfortunately, we will not be able to
leverage these features for Crysis Remastered at this point, but we are planning to investigate
them for future versions of CRYENGINE.

In our previous interview, you said SSD technology would be the real game-changer for next-gen consoles. Many developers have now made the same comment. Does that mean PC games will start requiring SSD as well, though?

[TM] We have yet to see what the impact of fast SSD technology will be on games for next-gen
consoles. The most immediate effects will likely be improved loading times and improved asset
streaming, but further down the line, there might be games that cannot function without the
impressive transfer rates of SSD technology in the next-gen consoles. I am optimistic, though,
that by that time, this technology will become widespread in the PC domain.

Do you think developers will tend to stick to 30 FPS games when developing for next-gen consoles, or will the requests for more 60 FPS games be answered at last?

[SH] The next generation will give us much better performance compared to the current console generation. Because of that, there is a high chance that we will see more games in 60FPS.

What's your opinion on the newly revealed GeForce RTX 3000 series? Do you think it will be possible to run Crysis Remastered at 8K@60, RTX and DLSS enabled, with the new RTX 3090?

[SH] Ampere is a beautiful piece of technology, and we are happy to slide into the release of it!
It gives people the chance to experience Crysis in high resolutions with better frame rates,
especially in the new 'Can it run Crysis?' mode!

Thank you for your time. 

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