I will never believed this, this was happening in my life! Crytek paid for my ticket to Frankfurt, paid for my hotel, for my breakfast, lunch (dinner i got to pay on my own), and transport during my 10 days intensive-interview at Crytek, Gmbh's main office in Frankfurt!
It was the best thing ever happened in my whole life! Not because i could come to Frankfurt, but because i could visit one of the best game developer's studio in the world! Imagine that!
I flew in on 19th of November. The plane was delayed for 2 hours. It felt like forever. When i arrived, it was almost midnight, i felt so tired, and i was full jet lagged. I tried to sleep, but i couldn't. I felt tired, but my eyes nor my body could cooperate with me to just lie down and sleep. So i kept on waking up every 2 or 3 hours. And ended up wide awake at 6am in the morning, for the past 6-7 days.
Then i undressed from my sleeping pajamas, changed, brushed my teeth, and went downstairs for breakfast. Luckily the Germans are very morning people. The Breakfast cafe already openned at 6.30am, and i wasn't the only one being there, hungry. A lot of other guests was there looking neat and ready for their next day in Frankfurt or for their next journey.
After i was eyeing them for awhile, i picked the table at the front row on the corner just nicely seated beside the window. Then i eat silently just like every other day. Its not that i am trying to project lonely environment or feeling, don't get me wrong. As a matter of fact, I like my meal to be peaceful and quiet, with a book ready for me to flip through it's pages while my right hand shovel through my breakfast and eventually put some food into my mouth which start chewing automatically---like a chop chop machine-- while my eyes reading the lines in the book, and my brain start imagining the story from the book. A fresh day, a perfect day. Reading keeps my mind keep on working. That's good. Keeping your intelligent high.
After breakfast, i went back up, took my shower, and got ready to go to Crytek for the first time ever. I was so excited!And nervous as well. Especially because i was having a jet lag and not feeling well but i had to look well!
Luckily on my way there, on the S-Bahn (Tram) stop, i met a guy, who apparently also on his way to Crytek. When we talked, he introduced himself as Charles, he was also the new applicant, (Now he is the level designer-still under 6 months probation-afterwards then he will be offered a contract as a full timer-just count from the date of this entry) but for a different position and different team than me (Phew!), that's good news! Or else it will be very awkward, knowing that you just helped your competitor. Or knowing that you accidentally bump into your competitor, another person who wanted the job as bad as you do!
So me and Charles talked on our way there. He is this...very nice guy, talkative, and funny, and enthusiastic,good looking, seemed knowledgeable and outgoing. He is just....fun! I wonder what the heck is he doing in level design? He should have been in the production side of the industry! He would have done GREAT considering how easy going and friendly he is--he can talk to the press, and talk to everybody else in the company, making sure everyone had their eyes and focus to the project and deadline, communication, yeah~ he will do well if it has anything to do with socializing and communicating. It just got Charles written all over it. Anyway, i wish you the best, Charles!
Anyway, once we reach the front gate, i stopped to smoke, and Charles was still with me. I told him to go on, but he decided to wait for me and then we went in together.
Our first impression was nothing, nothing but WOW! At least that was my first impression of the company. We were directed by the receptionist to the meeting room, i mean to one of the many meeting rooms. Even the meeting room is fully equipped with hi-tech stuff, and your own espresso coffee machine! We were like kids just got new toys, bombarding the receptionist who accompany us to the room, with questions about the hi-tech stuff and Charles kept on cracking jokes.
And then 5 minutes later, a guy from the company showed up. I was dumbfounded. I never met this guy!Well, i mean, obviously i didn't meet ALL the employee during IGDA session, but i was like hoping at least he knows me! But he wasn't sure who am i.
He took me and Charles on a tour around the office. I was like: WOW here and WOW there. I mean, seriously, the company is SUPER amazing! They have 2 big kitchen of their own, and they have gaming room, and all tables have 2 monitors. But the most appealing and funny to me is the way they named the rooms, they have something like: 'Jail', 'Paradise', 'Hell', and other funny names.
We were almost finish with our tour when we just passed the licensing team and then i clicked. I asked him again, "Where? Where is the licensing team again?"
Then he showed me, we just passed it. Mr Karl Jones, the engine licensing director was there in his office when i passed over, and he recognize me. So we introduce ourselves and he told me to continue with the tour. I was about to do that when suddenly Mr Sascha Gundlach, the technical designer from the engine team showed up in front of us and said,"Merlyn?" "Yes.."I replied
"Ah, so i can see that the other team is trying to steal our people.." Sascha cracked. We were laughing, then Sascha told me to follow him. He gave me another tour, but very fast. Unlike the first guy just now, who is more slow and relax, Sascha, talks so fast and walk fast and I never really get a chance to stop and really look around or ask anything. He kept on shooting words, like a machine gun if you know what i mean. But from the way he looks and the way he talks, he seriously reminded me of Woody Wood Pecker..
He looked like a Big Bird, Big Woody Wood Pecker. Then he showed me my seat, where i should be seating for the rest of the week, doing my task. So there was i. Sitting there, making documentation and learning the newest version of Sandbox2tm for 7 days in Crytek. The CryEngine, i must admit, is the best Game Engine i have ever encountered.
They have amazing people there!Amazing people that make amazing game! The company treated their employee really nice and full with care.
The Employees there are also super friendly and nice. I love the working environment there in Crytek. It is the best working environment I have ever encountered in my whole life!
There are about 200 people there, how they managed to do that, i am not sure.
But what i know for sure is, YES, CRYTEK is an IMPRESSIVE company!
Their CryEngine is a super game engine. especially from the physics and graphic side, they have almost everything breakable. So it won't just stand there as beautification purposes of the game world, but i can actually shoot it or throw it altogether. And it will break, or damaged, with bullet holes and mark.
if you go to You Tube, there you can see tons of Sandbox physics video. It is amazing! Totally amazing. Especially the barrel ones. In this video, they put thousands and thousands of barrel on top of each other, and push one, then it will all fall down and toppled on top of one another and fly across one another in the game world. It is just amazing when you think the physics and programming behind it, not to say the view!
The flying balloons on Crytek's official Cry Engine demo is also amazing, thinking that they were all generated 100% by the Engine, by computer!
I also love the facial and character animation of CryEngine. It looked so realistic! The way the character is moving, the facial muscles, it's great, although to me, it seemed one thing is missing. The eye.
Almost all animator's seemed to forget the twitching of muscles around the eye is the most important part. It made the eye of the character gleam, or dimmed, or giving out certain expression that only the eye can do this.
Have you ever talk with your eyes only? I have. Do you ever think that eyes are the window of the soul? I do.
I think eyes are the most important part in making facial animation. And the way a person move it eyes, not only by moving it in certain directions because of looking at something, but the way they close their eyelids, the way they open their eyes wider, the small detailed movement of the muscles around the eyes, for example on the eye bag, the corner of the eyes, the eyebrow, the eyelids, eyelashes, etc. And the shine of the eye. Eyes can shine? Yes, it can. Look carefully at someone who is scared or sad or in love, look in the eyes. Can't you tell? Maybe this is just me, but i have a habit of looking someone through the eyes, and sometimes, you can find a lot of scary things in there. For example, the man's lips is smiling, but i can see from his eyes it is burning with anger, burning with irritation and impatience. I can get a lot of answers by looking at someone's eyes, and voice.
Voice, it is unique, very unique, like i said before in one of my entries, sound make a much greater impact to humans receptor rather than graphical things. If i see a huge dinosaurs in the movie trying to eat one of the character, but i turned off the music, screaming, and sound effect, it does not look as scary as it was. But when i turned the sound back on, i was glued to my seat terrified.
Then i made some experiment, this time, i turned the sound on but the graphic off. All kind of fantasies were flying wildly in my imagination just by listening at the screams and growls and scary music. It actually terrifies me and made me anxious to know what is happening!
Imagine this also, if you overheard somebody inside the room, making some noises, while you cannot see what they are doing, what will happen to your feelings and thoughts? Will you think first, or will you imagine things first, then will you feel some emotions first, such as angry, sad, or will you feel anxious first? Wanting to know what is happening? Brain or feeling first?
In my case of experiment, the imagination fly first, unable to control it. Then feeling of emotions come second, then thinking (brain start to work) does not want to assume anything, then anxiousness come last, to prove whether the imagination came out to be true!
So voices, in my opinion, stir a lot of emotions and imaginations. While graphical seemed more factual. By seeing the scary dinosaur, there is no imagination role here. Then it went to feelings straight away. Scared, etc. But does the feeling of anxiousness exist? Yes, naturally it will exist if the viewer was not given extra information. The viewer will want to know what's happening next! Imagine if the dinosaur movie was cut just right when it was opening its mouth to eat the main character in the movie. There was not enough information given to the viewer. Does the main character die? or does she/he manage to escape? This will stir anxiousness. And it's good. Why? Because it will make people to keep on watching. In the gaming industry, it will make people to keep on playing!
CRYSIS itself, is the best first person shooting i have ever played. Although, having a war and shooting people is not my genre or my thing, but i can't help not to raise two thumbs for CRYSIS. It is really the best first person shooting ever. Starting from the story, to the amazing beautiful graphic, to the amazing job from the audio guys, to the beautiful world by the level designers and artists, CRYSIS is definitely WORTH IT! I do play Splinter Cell, and Hitman, i also played Counter Strike, but this is nothing close to them. CRYSIS is a very advanced game because of their CRYEngine Sandbox that is able to create such a beautiful world.
Sandbox also have time of day editor in it, where you can set the color of the sun, sky, horizon, the numbers of stars, the brightness, and everything that has anything to do with skies and time. The sun set and rise, etc.
Sandbox is a really amazing tool. Imagine you are God, then you are able to get the idea what Sandbox is. Remember in the bible it is written, the 7 days of world creation by God?
All the tools to create the game world IS inside Sandbox. All the 3D items are included in it, made by the 3D artists from Crytek, but if you aren't satisfied and you want to make your own, you can. All you need to do is just import it in. You can even make your own texture. It's just that a texture is fixed. Naturally, all textures are fixed. You cannot change the look but you can change the color, and to make it look more natural, and not repeatedly pasted on the world, you can paint on it, by painting repeatedly and slowly on top of each other, the texture will look random.
However, i suggest, if you are buying CRYSIS, you should get your fingers on Sandbox. You can learn a lot of level designing by playing around with it. But do not expect to be able to get such a beautiful effect like the ones Crytek did. They needed a lot of people to do it, to tweak it and a hell lot of time. Unless you got yourself a team of talented artists and 1 year, do not expect to get similar results immediately. I tell you this so you won't feel stressed when comparing your world with Crytek's. No. It's not that you are stupid or not as talented. It's just that you need more time.
CRYTEK official website: