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  (Source: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Warface is free to play, aims to build buzz for Crytek's latest cloud-based engine

The future of gaming is in the cloud -- or at least that's what Crytek's latest release "Warface" hints at.  While the game will be available in traditional form on the Xbox One in 2014, for now gamers have access to it via their browser.

Crytek -- well known for its CryENGINE game software and Crysis, a game designed to showcase the graphical might of CryENGINE -- has shifted gears in a major way with the release of CryENGINE 3.0.  Rather than focusing singular on squeezing the most computation out of your enthusiast PC, CryENGINE 3.0's goal is to open gaming to the masses, by moving it partially to offline rendering and in-browser gaming.

While online gaming, or even 3D online gaming for that matter, is nothing new really, Warface is perhaps the first true cloud-based AAA PC FPS.

To that end Crytek has launched a new hub dubbed "GFACE" where users will play multiplayer first person shooter (FPS) games and interact.  The hub -- and the games inside (CryENGINE 3.0/Warface) -- require a browser with the latest in web rendering technology.  Hence currently only Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Chrome and The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox are support; Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTbrand-new Internet Explorer 11 and Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) Safari are not currently compatible.


The good news, though, is that Warface is entirely free.  How Crytek plans to monetize this cloud giveaway remains to be seen, but traditionally a significant portion of its revenue came from licensing its CryENGINE to third parties, so this may be more of a proof of concept to build a buzz, with the payoff being third party licensing pickups.

You can run GFACE/Warface on a rather minimalist hardware spec -- a 2.0 GHz CPU, 1.5 GB of RAM, and decade old video card (think Radeon X1950), thanks to the cloud doing most of the dirty work.  Still gamers are advised to get slightly newer systems, to allow for higher framerates and more graphical niceties.  All of this indicates that Warface should run very well on laptops -- unlike Crytek's earlier hardware-crunching products, such as last year's best-selling Crysis 3.

The game has four classes:

Warface

... with some classes like engineer taking a couple of hours of gameplay to unlock.

The new title was developed heavily by Crytek's new Seoul, South Korea office.  Yohan Kim, Managing Director of Crytek Seoul cheers, "Crytek’s proven pedigree with its multi-award winning AAA FPS games combined with our own cutting-edge technology CryENGINE® 3 and our dedicated team of experts makes us confident Warface will revolutionize the genre and become the next generation in online FPS."

Warface wide
Warface is just the latest app to make the leap to the cloud.

This new engine from Crytek is the latest in a disruptive trend of software jumping to the cloud.  Microsoft has seen significant traction to date pushing its Office users towards its cloud based Office 365 solution.  And while Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBEshowed the dark side of the cloud when its user information trove was breached, it also has been pushing hard to move its users online.

There are many advantages to the cloud -- cross platform compatibility and easier access to your data on the go.  But there are also downsides, aside from pure security concerns.  For hardware makers it's a mix bag as the cloud is minimizing the value of client-side hardware, making consumers likely to upgrade their laptops and desktops at a slower pace; but by the same token the cloud requires lots of new server hardware on the enterprise side, so it's not all bad news for OEMs.  Access in the case of internet outage or when traveling through areas with unreliable internet is another major issue.

But like it or not, the cloud is gaining a lot of momentum and now Crytek is looking to become the marquee face of cloud gaming.

Sources: Warface [homepage], [Press Release]



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Anyone tried ?
By max_payne on 10/22/2013 3:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
I sign in but it is slow like molasses. May be too many people for now.




RE: Anyone tried ?
By Motoman on 10/22/2013 4:11:08 PM , Rating: 5
I don't buy the whole concept of doing rendering at the server level and streaming the graphics to the client.

Bandwidth and latency issues will kill it. I don't see it actually working in the real world.

Altough Crytek is free to prove me wrong. I'll be highly interested to see how they do it if it manages to actually work.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By ClownPuncher on 10/22/2013 5:39:05 PM , Rating: 5
Just add autoaim to it like the consoles. Sure, it's a crappy bandaid for a crappy platform, but that's life. Either man up and become a real PC gamer, or wear a bra and cry yourself to sleep.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By bug77 on 10/22/2013 6:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
What he said.

If FPS could be dumbed down to the point where aiming doesn't matter anymore, it can be dumbed down further to only require the user to react within a couple of seconds. Or maybe the game could react on your behalf?


RE: Anyone tried ?
By ClownPuncher on 10/22/2013 6:08:14 PM , Rating: 4
Better yet, why not just watch a Michael Bay film? You can scream "PEW PEW!" at the screen if you want interactivity.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By Motoman on 10/22/2013 6:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
We already had games like that. Dragon's Lair, for example.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By stm1185 on 10/22/2013 7:15:12 PM , Rating: 3
Latency is only an issue for your character and the enemy characters. Latency is not an issue on buildings, on backgrounds, and on day/night shadow effects... it does matter if that impact effect on the wall is off by 90ms, or the shadow is off by 90ms, it matters when you bullet is off by 90ms.

So you make the local client render out the player character and opposing players/npcs, and make the server render out everything else.

Which dramatically reduces what the local client has to do. I really hope this is put to use in XBox One. In current gen games like Mass Effect 3, you have nicely detailed foregrounds, but then the backgrounds are all matte paintings, so why not use server hardware to do high quality moving backgrounds instead of paintings?


RE: Anyone tried ?
By Motoman on 10/23/2013 11:08:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
so why not use server hardware to do high quality moving backgrounds instead of paintings?


Because you'd never get that to synch up, or possibly even done at all at that "sprite" level.

As noted before, I'll believe this magic when I see it. Not gonna buy it at all until I see it work in the real world on somebody's DSL or cellular wifi connection. With *real* work done on the server side in realtime - not all with a fat client download.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By inperfectdarkness on 10/23/2013 2:44:46 AM , Rating: 2
How much content is really "out there" for the purist these days? That's enough to make a man cry himself to sleep on its own. Consoles severely wounded FPS gaming, so if this cheesy garbage mortally wounds them--I won't be surprised. Sad. Inconsolable. Bitter. But not surprised.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By ClownPuncher on 10/23/2013 11:32:18 AM , Rating: 2
Content for the PC? Well, the PC as a platform has the most exclusives by a massive margin.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By RjBass on 10/24/2013 5:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
Somebody give this guy a 6.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By Boze on 10/23/2013 2:53:03 AM , Rating: 2
Downloaded it today and I've been playing for the past few hours, its a load of fun. I don't know if it scales up at all for high-end systems.

I'm running an i7-4960x, 64 GB of RAM, and dual 780 GTXs and the game looks fairly good. Its not blow-you-away awesome graphics like 2013 releases, but its really quite nice.

I have a buddy playing on an i3 machine with a GTX 660 and he says it looks great, with smooth frame rates.

As far as the gameplay itself, its awesome. Very responsive. I've been playing mostly sniper and headshots are easy enough to hit, but there's a lot of duck & cover and dodge mechanics, so snipers aren't end-all, be-all like in TeamFortress/TeamFortress 2.

Dunno what the other classes are like yet. This might replace League of Legends for my go-to mindless fun game.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By Motoman on 10/23/2013 11:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
Downloaded it, huh?

Clearly your machine needs no help rendering anything. I doubt there's any evidence of any "cloud-based rendering" in your case at all - or possibly even for your buddy.

I also question the need to download anything if it's a "cloud-based" game. It ought to just run in your browser.

At which point the specs of the local machine are utterly irrelevant - could be a Roku box. All you need is massively high-bandwidth and low-latency internet service. Which isn't even available to untold millions of Americans.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By Boze on 10/24/2013 4:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
Well I had to wait for a progress bar to go from 0 to 100% and it took about 27 minutes or longer. So yes, downloaded it. I've been playing again today and I didn't have to wait for any download at all, I just logged into my GFace account and started playing.


RE: Anyone tried ?
By Motoman on 10/24/2013 9:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
And therein lies my point. What evidence is there that *anything* is being cloud-rendered for you?


Cross-platform
By Flunk on 10/22/13, Rating: 0
RE: Cross-platform
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/22/2013 3:25:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If it won't run on Android or iOS I don't see why they developed this technology...
Not yet... but...

In theory it might be able to run on nicer Chromebooks/Chromeboxes, given the lean specs and Chrome browser compatibility. I'm guessing some sort of client-side app might prevent that, but Crytek could relatively trivially add support for Chrome OS -- the fastest growing PC ecosystem.


RE: Cross-platform
By Flunk on 10/22/2013 3:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
Certainly possible, but we haven't seen any applications of this in the wild yet and Epic has had a JavaScript version of the Unreal engine working for more than a year.


RE: Cross-platform
By kleinma on 10/22/2013 3:57:01 PM , Rating: 3
I am sure the idea is to make it platform agnostic and standards compliant. Android, iOS, and other mobile platforms are probably only a few interations away from parity with desktop browsers.


RE: Cross-platform
By Samus on 10/22/2013 4:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
with the exception of Shield, I don't know how you'd effectively play a FPS/rail shooter on Android/iOS, anyway.


RE: Cross-platform
By stm1185 on 10/22/2013 7:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
The same ineffective way everyone plays an FPS without a laser mouse, a gamepad.


1.5 GHz of RAM
By lagomorpha on 10/22/2013 7:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1.5 GHz of RAM


Glad I'm using DDR3 1600 now

:P




RE: 1.5 GHz of RAM
By Visual on 10/23/2013 4:59:31 AM , Rating: 2
That big box next to your monitor? Is it your hard driver?


RE: 1.5 GHz of RAM
By Sazabi19 on 10/23/2013 9:35:12 AM , Rating: 2
No, it's the CPU.


RE: 1.5 GHz of RAM
By lagomorpha on 10/23/2013 1:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
It's ok Jason, looks like someone over at ARS just made the same mistake.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/galaxy-s4-m...

quote:
Spec-wise, it's a much lower-end phone than the full-sized S 4, with a miniscule 960×540 resolution, 1.7GHz dual-core processor, and 1.5GHz of RAM. (The full-sized S 4 has a 1080p screen, 1.9GHz quad-core processor, and 2GB of RAM.)


RE: 1.5 GHz of RAM
By Motoman on 10/23/2013 1:47:17 PM , Rating: 3
I need the one with the bigger gee bees.


annoying article pix
By superstition on 10/22/2013 9:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
The articles are having annoying pictures lately, like the guy pointing his finger in your face.

Annoying...




Interesting
By Xstriker on 10/26/2013 10:06:52 AM , Rating: 2
I like the graphics and all the art touch. This FPS game be a hit if the rendering is right. I'm looking forward to play this game in the future.

Searching FPS game to play at http://mmo-play.com/mmofps/




Interesting
By Xstriker on 10/26/2013 10:06:53 AM , Rating: 2
I like the graphics and all the art touch. This FPS game be a hit if the rendering is right. I'm looking forward to play this game in the future.

Searching FPS game to play at http://mmo-play.com/mmofps/




Interesting
By Xstriker on 10/26/2013 10:06:53 AM , Rating: 2
I like the graphics and all the art touch. This FPS game be a hit if the rendering is right. I'm looking forward to play this game in the future.

Searching FPS game to play at http://mmo-play.com/mmofps/




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