How does UE4 stack up against CryEngine 5's rendering capabilities

How is UE4 currently stacking up against CryEngine 5? Initially I was drawn to UE4 because of the ease of use and the BluePrint system. However, CryEngine is boasting a platform that seems to be aimed more at producing high end graphic quality games. With SVOGI, Per-Object Shadow Maps, Screen Space Directional Occlusion and there Volumetric Fog Shadows. Does UE4 do any of this? I think UE4 is more user friendly, especially for the indie developer who could probably prototype gameplay ideas faster than they could in CryEngine (just my opinion), but it seems that CryEngine is pushing the limits as far as what you can do with the visuals. I am seriously considering switching to CryEngine only because it just might be better suited to my projects and end goals.

I am aiming to create a jungle environment and it seems like I would have greater control on the lighting, shadows, water reflections and volumetric fog. All of which would play a big part in a Jungle environment.

What are your opinions?

Better ask yourself if you are suited to create assets at the quality required for CE V to shine.

With UE4 you can pull off any look. CE V looks good mostly when using high quality assets that are on the semi-/realistic side.

Honestly, I think its how much effort you put into them. UE4 can look amazing when you have quality assets and aesthetics… but the same could be said for CE. Personally I think Epic has a lot more going for it with UE4 then Crytek does with CE considering industry support and engine usage. But thats only my two cents, at the end of the day its what you prefer.

Take them both for a test drive and see what you think.

Personally, and just my opinion, I would go with UE4. I have a lot of industry buds that work with CE at their studios and they complain non stop about the lack of support and over complexity compared to UE4.

Using UE4 in-studio I can tell you that even pro devs are blown away when I show them what you can do in just 15 mins with UE4; you get these ridiculous smiles from ear to ear, that’s a fact.

There’s no Sky, Ocean or realtime GI in EU4

Just because I own Renderman does not mean all of my rendered videos look like Pixar.

Is very difficult to build a realistic game with indie budget; but for some styles of ‘indie vision’ CryEngine fits perfectly, also for my taste UE4 has the best productivity tools.

UE4 is doing just fine vs. <insert engine here>.

Just like <insert engine here>, the quality of the final product is based on effort and quality of work put in, not just some magic underlying feature the <insert engine here> has vs. <insert engine here>.

We’re all seen things in <insert engine here> that looks … while on the flip side seen a complete abomination using the same engine.

The quality is actually NOT based on the effort. The effort does not compensate for the missing features.

CE V has:

Real Time GI
Large scale AO
Proper sky
Time of day editor
Proper water
Volumetric fog
Volumetric lighting
Spatial clouds
Physically based Sun light
More shading models
Proper Anti-Aliasing
Proper POM
Proper foliage shader
Proper sun rays
Very valuable starter content (And this one alone is a reason for you to switch to CE since you want to make a forest).

The list goes on and on. All those features in use still happen in +60 FPS.
I am not being a UE4 hater here, but a jungle I’d create in CE in 2 hours takes me days to weeks in UE4 and still doesn’t look as good at all because of all the missing features.

The eula of CE is so restrictive it’s not even funny.

2.4. Restrictions on Use: Crytek reserves all rights not expressively granted in this Agreement. Without limitation, Licensee shall not:

distribute, sublicense or exploit in any other form:

the CryEngine (except for the Redistributables), e.g. as a stand-alone development engine;
the CryEngine Documentation;
the CryEngine Tools;

use the CryEngine for the development of any product other than Games, including without limitation:

military projects
simulation (technical, scientific, other);
Serious Games.

Are they crazy? And what the hell is a ‘‘serious game’’ lol.

Good luck getting anything productive done outside of following their first-person shooter template. Good look importing your custom models using their plugin driven asset system. Good luck getting any answers on their dead message board or getting any relevant docs on their cryptic website filled with dead links.

Yes their real time GI is to play with but when you spend more time playing and marvelling at their beautiful demos over actually getting things to work right, that’s when you know you’re in Crytek hell.

I’ve been spending the better part of 4 months now working on a forest scene in the UE4, and I can confirm that it is an absolute nightmare to get a scene like that with the fidelity I want with dynamic lighting running at 60 fps. There are however some things you can do to make the UE4 more comperable to the CryENGINE V in that regard.

Realtime GI in a 100% outdoors scene is somewhat alright with just leaving to LPVs. With grass, bushes, and trees, you usually won’t notice light leaking issues. Large scale AO is pretty much covered with DFAO thankfully as well.

A proper sky and TOD editor is the toughest part to work out, but I actually made a custom TOD editor similar to the CryENGINE one through blueprint and a lot of color curves. I have a master blueprint that contains the sky dome, skylight, directional light, and exponential height fog. It runs the TOD cycle and changes the sun rotation/intensity, moon rotation/intensity, baked skylight tint, exponential height fog color, etc in a very manageable way. The only major feature it lacks is assigning the curves on a per-map basis, so there’s a lot of various folders with curves just for that one particular map. It is a pretty decent system though, and I’m sure if a proper programmer had a crack at it, it would be possible to take it even further.

Water is a challenge of course, what I find works best is the forward lighting translucency shading model. You can find out more about it over at Forward lighting in 4.8 [Material Specific] - Rendering - Epic Developer Community Forums
It’s just a start though, and getting water looking right beyond that is difficult.

Volumetric fog/lighting will hopefully be taken care of in whatever version Epic adds that in, since it is confirmed they’re working on it currently.

Anti-aliasing is always a struggle, not much you can do about that as an artist right now. There’s very little control over any of that currently.

POM right now I find is too expensive for a forest scene. There just aren’t enough opaque objects that would occlude the mesh entirely a lot of the time, so the performance hit isn’t reasonable on that.

With some effort on the foliage shader, it’s possible to get it looking pretty good at the moment, I would even say as good as the CryENGINE foliage shader. Whether or not it runs at a decent speed is another matter entirely, dynamic lighting like foliage needs to look properly tanks the framerate very quickly.

For distance terrain, just use giant static meshes, not landscape. I know Epic did landscape for the entire Kite demo, but you’re going to need to save every last frame and static meshes just run faster (unless the player needs to be able to go there).

All things considered, the biggest challenge to the UE4 when it comes to a forest scene is honestly just lighting performance. That’s going to be what hits you the most. No matter how optimized your materials and meshes get, if you need full scene dynamic lighting then hitting that magic 60 fps on mid range hardware is going to be a nightmare. The Crysis games may get a lot of flack, and deservedly so, for how slowly they run at the max settings, but at least when you scale back the settings anyone can play them. With the UE4, you’ll find that short of disabling features like shadows entirely in the whole scene so it’s only ambient light, it’s not going to be a simple task to make it run well.

You can use Amazon’s Lumberyard which is essentially CE5.

and these restrictions don’t apply at all?'s+Lumberyard

This is a really bizarre statement. Effort can always compensate for missing features?

They are completly doing the right thing.
Those restricted fields are outside their brand goals and they don’t want to risk being associated with anything but games (real games).
Serious games are training simulations or employee interactive exams some companies use on their staff.

They license the engine for military use under a different license.

Nope, it’s CE3 based.

Tell me, how does your effort compensate missing SVOGI ?
Or how does your effort compensate the missing physically based unit for directional light?
And everything else in the list.