Crysis 2: DirectX 11 free update released

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 27, 2011 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: dx11, crysis 2

Last Wednesday we reported on the announcement of the Crysis 2 DX11 patch and high resolution texture pack upcoming for the 27th of June. Looking at the calendar it appears as if your graphics card just ran out of time to rule the roost. Clocking in at 546 megabytes for the DirectX 11 update and 1695 megabytes for the high resolution texture pack the new updates are not small especially since that does not include the size of the 1.9 patch itself. The big question is whether these updates will push the limits of your computer, and if so, is it worth it?

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Can you run me now? … Hello?

VR-Zone benchmarked the new updates on an Intel Core i7-965 system paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580. We believe they accidentally mislabeled their Extreme Quality benchmark with their Ultra Quality benchmark as the ultra is the more intensive of the two settings; also, ultra should have the biggest difference between DX9 and DX11 settings as DX11 effects are not enabled at the extreme settings. ((Update: 6/28/2011 - That's exactly what happened. VR-Zone fixed it; it is correct now.)) Under that assumption you are looking at approximately 40 FPS for a 1080p experience with that test system and all the eye-candy enabled. That is a drop of approximately 33% from its usual 60 FPS under extreme settings.

But how does it look? Read on for all of that detail.

Okay I believe I have teased you long enough (clicking one extra link, oh noes!) and it is time for Crytek to showcase the game. Be sure to full screen and switch to high definition to get the best idea of what we are talking about.

I don’t think this will end up on the 360.

Okay so concentrate on my voice. Are you back with us? Good. We will now go over the features in detail.

The most known addition to DirectX 11 and the first non-advertisement of the video is tessellation and displacement mapping. Actual geometry is impossible to represent on a computer so we need to approximate it and for that we typically use flat triangles. The logic is sound however the problem comes about if a triangle is larger than a pixel (or subpixel for Antialiasing), often much larger than a pixel, then we can see the flatness of the geometry. We have been struggling to discover methods to represent more geometry with less memory and computational usage ever since. The main methods we have come across thus far in videogames are:

  • Simply leaving geometry as all flat
  • Simple shading between “smooth” vertexes
  • Bump mapping, a texture of “high” and “low” points on a triangle
  • Normals mapping, basically a bump map with directional information (not just “high” and “low”) for other tricks
  • Parallax/Occlusion mapping, normal mapping with a height texture so a material can occlude itself, like fins on a grill.
  • Tessellation/Displacement mapping, break the triangle down to smaller triangles and shifts them based on a height texture.

The latest addition, Tessellation/Displacement mapping, is the first method to allow better smoothing when viewed edge-on all without sacrificing extra in-surface detail. Every other pervious method would help a cylinder look smoother side-on, but a hexagonal cylinder will look like a hexagon when seen face on except now. A hexagon can be tessellated to an octagon, decagon, hectogon, and so forth. Another advantage of displacement mapping is that, on top of being more efficient than simply using the higher detail geometry, you can decrease the amount of tessellation as the object gets smaller on screen.

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Tessellation off

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Tessellation full

Another major advantage though not quite as lauded by Crytek is the advancement in tonal mapping. People have long since complained about the negatives of HDR due to its lack of perceived benefit. In the old days of videogames developers used to tweak their engines for semi-accurate lighting indoors or outdoors. For an example of this, look at Doom 3 outdoors and Battlefield 2 indoors. Halo 2 actually used two different lighting profiles and switched back and forth as you moved inside and outside. HDR was invented to allow the engine to understand all ranges of lighting and change its scale as necessary. Now that we have all that extra lighting information, tone mapping allows us to see details in the very bright as well as the very dark creating a much more rich image.

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Tone mapping enhancements off

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Tone mapping enhancements on

Another advancement, although somewhat minor, is a more accurate and artist-driven depth of field blur. Real depth of field is not a Gaussian blur; it actually depends on the aperture and the lens. If the aperture is not circular but rather a polygon due to the mechanics of the camera it will tend to create distortions within the blur that resemble the shape of the aperture. Like I said it affects the blur itself too, but that is the most noticeable part of it. Now an artist can create a custom “bokeh” and have that drive the blur. In the following screenshot, the artist appeared to use an octagonal bokeh to pretend to be coming from a camera with an octagonal aperture.

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Bokeh depth of field, octagonal bokeh pointed in red

Water rendering, always a notable virtue of the CryEngine, also took another leap forward with water physics effects as well as subsurface scattering. Subsurface scattering imitates the effect that happens when light enters a translucent material and scatters inside it, potentially even scattering back out of the surface. The most noticeable times when this effect happens are with skin as well as large bodies of water. This effect has been faked so many times in the past including with Photoshop “render clouds” tricks for skin textures and colored fog just under the surface of water but now it is much more real.

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Under water

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Above water, greenish subsurface scattering circled in red

Shadowing also took another major leap forward due to the addition of variable penumbra which is a blurring effect that occurs due to the size of a light. If one side of a light source can light up an object but the other side is blocked by an in-between object you will get some shadowing but still some light added to the object. Originally people used to blur shadows and cross-fade between the two extremes but now it is again a bit more directly performed.

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Shadows with penumbra

Various blurs were also pretty difficult in DirectX 9 due to the lack of control when using HDR rendering. HDR rendering is known to cause serious problems (such as below with antialiasing in Bioshock; errors occurring between surfaces lit by very different intensities, red; but properly performed otherwise, blue) due to the majority of the process being hidden from the programmer in the DirectX API. Older motion blurs tended to be very streaky and not convincing but now with DirectX 11 artists can do better.

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Bioshock Antialiasing (HDR limitations)

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Crysis 2 HDR-friendly motion blur

Lastly particles were also given a bit of a facelift with motion blur and shadows. Not much to say about them, they just look prettier.

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Mmmm. Explosions.

So I guess this means the Crysis 2 will finally be the game, for now, that you will use to show off your PC’s horsepower. Put that slacker to work!

Source: VR-Zone
June 27, 2011 | 03:14 PM - Posted by David Kennedy (not verified)

Great article and technical explanation.

I will be very interested in seeing the water dynamics in-game.

With vastly improved shadows and Tesselation, I agree with what you say re:show off your PC’s horsepower. (or lack of)

Dave

June 27, 2011 | 03:45 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

David,

Thank you for the compliments.

Actually the two parts that excites me the most are the Subsurface Scattering as well as the enhanced tone mapping. I was always a bit of a lighting geek though.

June 27, 2011 | 08:04 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Even though I run this site, I just wanted to point out what a great write up this is on the technology here. Good job Scott!

June 27, 2011 | 08:50 PM - Posted by ThorAxe

Finally Crysis 2 lives up to it's heritage and looks fantastic.

With FRAPS I'm running at around 30fps with everything on Ultra uisng 2 6870s in CF. I was previously getting around 70fps.

I get the feeling a new CAP is needed.

June 28, 2011 | 07:40 PM - Posted by Cristian Kleuser (not verified)

Indeed

June 28, 2011 | 05:46 AM - Posted by alcatraz (not verified)

i cann't install patch 1.9 please hekp me
http://images.beef.ge/pictures/6763bf4c29195f4be2c10fcaff931b1a.jpg this is a eror which i see during instalitin.

June 28, 2011 | 05:57 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Is it retail or Steam?

June 28, 2011 | 07:53 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

I have the STEAM copy and I did not receive that error. If you do have the STEAM version do you have your STEAM games installed in the default location?

June 28, 2011 | 07:58 AM - Posted by Shantanu (not verified)

this is a great write up,well explained. stumbled upon it while looking for some info the crysis 2 Dx11 patch. i hope my laptop can handle v1.9 atleast at the "ultra" settings.it's got a NVIDIA geforce GT 420M.

June 29, 2011 | 10:43 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

420M? You're not going to be able to do much with it. It's possible if you juggle your settings around perfectly you might be able to turn SOME features on (and the rest WAY down)... but not everything... or even most.

June 30, 2011 | 02:25 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Editorial, that explains why this article is written so positive!

Because I wonder why the guys over at [H]ardOCP came to the conclusion that, this patch is a peace of crap!!!!

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/06/29/crysis_2_dx11_tessellation_hig...

And yeah i think its also a crap update, that I only could install after i followed there instructions.

Step 1: Install the game but DO NOT start the game. This prevents the auto updater from launching.

Step 2: Download the 1.9 patch manually (I used this link) and install it.

Step 3: Start the game and enter your 20 digit code. Start a campaign and the immediately save and quit.

Step 4: Restart your computer.

Step 5: Install DX11 Tessellation pack. Start a campaign and then immediately save and quit.

Step 6: Restart your computer.

Step 7: Install High-Res Texture pack.

Step 8: Restart your computer.

Step 9: Start game, select the "Ultra" option in the graphics settings menu. Select "Yes" for high-res textures in the advanced games menu.

Step 10: Play Crysis 2.

For me, I will never pre-order or even buy a game from Crytek any more, till I have tried a pirate copy first.

Because Crytek broke almost all promises they made before the game came out, and when i got it it felt more early beta then release ready.

FU Crytek you are not getting any money from me for your next game!!!

July 3, 2011 | 03:02 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

It took me about 2 minutes to install the DX11 and HRT pack with the STEAM version. The patch has worked beautifully for me.

I pre-ordered the game but there was never anything official saying this would be DX11 at launch. However I was still very disappointed that it didn't ship with it.

Still HardOCP is out of control and need a reality check. The game still looked amazing in DX9. Kyle is just plain rude to some of the posters. I know it's his site but he could at least try to be professional.

July 3, 2011 | 09:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I got the retail DVD for Crysis 2 shortly after I heard about the DX11 patch. Install went without a hitch.

1) Install game.
2) Start game it will update itself to 1.9.
3) Download and install the DX11 and High res texture pack.
4) Play the game.

It's obvious that [H]ocp had DX11 turds on the HDD from installing the leaked DX11 and High Res patches before the 1.9 update was released.

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