Crytek has released the SDK for CryEngine 3 as a free download from the MyCryEngine site.
The SDK, first announced earlier this year, enables non-commercial developers and educational institutions to incorporate the leading game engine into their own projects for free.
For use in commercial releases, Crytek charges 20% of royalties, with no fees payable before launch. A range of “attractive” options (less than 20%, we imagine) are available for indie developers and free-to-play games.
By contrast, the Unreal Engine is free to use for games with revenues under $50,000, after which Epic Games takes 25% of the royalties.
According to the FAQs, the free version is almost identical to the engine used in Crytek’s own Crysis 2, although “some features, such as DirectX11 [supported in the Crysis 2 Ultra Upgrade patch] have not been implemented, but will be coming very soon”.
Better still, CryEngine’s legendarily demanding system requirements look positively lightweight when considered in the context of a graphics workstation rather than a games machine: a Core Duo 2GHz processor or better, 4GB of RAM and a GPU with 512MB of on-board memory will suffice.
Download the SDK from MyCryEngine.com (registration required)