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Crytek is still throwing punches. The Hunt: Showdown developer wants to keep competing in the game-development toolkit space. To do that, it has released version 5.5 of CryEngine. You can download the update right now and get its numerous improvements and new features.

While Crytek uses CryEngine in its own games, it also licenses it out to third-party developers. This engine powers winter-sports sim Snow. Developer Warhorse Studios uses it for medieval adventure Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Arkane Studios even used CryEngine for space-station sim Prey.

Crytek does not charge a licensing fee for CryEngine. Instead, it takes a cut from marketplace sales. It also has a deal with Amazon, which uses CryEngine for its cloud-based Lumberyard game-dev platform. So it’s important for Crytek to keep the toolkit up-to-date. Developers have plenty of choice at the moment. And people won’t spend money in the marketplace if Unreal is easier.

That’s where this update comes in. And the company is focusing on novices to ensure CryEngine is welcoming.

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“Cryengine 5.5 marks a major step forward in terms of ease of use,” reads Crytek’s press release. “[We’ve introduced] extensively overhauled and redesigned documentation and an updated, comprehensive course where absolute beginners are shown step-by-step how to create a full game.”

Crytek’s tool is not as prominent as Unreal or Unity, but it has a reputation for delivering stunning-looking games. That’s something that may appeal to first-time devs.

What’s changing?

Crytek is promising 1,158 changes to Cryengine in version 5.5. So this isn’t just an attempt to position the tool as more friendly to rookies.

You can read the full breakdown changelog here, but check out some of these highlights:

  • Cryengine’s SVOGI tech is getting support for ray-traced shadows in addition to cached shadow maps.
  • A new onboarding course called Flappy Boid.
  • UI changes to simplify workflow.
  • A new terrain tech to make snow and sand look more realistic.
  • Simple plugin tool for distribution platforms like Steamworks and PlayStation Network.
  • A guide to migrate content from Unity to Cryengine.

Game development is more open than ever. Engines from Crytek, Epic, and Unity are a big reason for that. But now that people know what these tools are capable of, Epic’s Unreal has started to pull away with more of the market. Crytek is trying to reverse that, and 5.5 could contribute to those efforts.

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