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Cryengine 3 Cookbook [Paperback]

Dan Tracy , Sean Tracy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 56.18
Price: CDN$ 54.89 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

June 25 2011
Over 90 recipes written by Crytek developers for creating third-generation real-time games
  • Begin developing your AAA game or simulation by harnessing the power of the award winning CryENGINE3
  • Create entire game worlds using the powerful CryENGINE 3 Sandbox.
  • Create your very own customized content for use within the CryENGINE3 with the multiple creation recipes in this book
  • Translate your design into CryENGINE by following the easy step by step recipes exploring flow graph, track view, and many of the other tools within CryENGINE

In Detail

With every successive console generation, the cost, time, and complexity of developing games has grown. Meet CryENGINE3, a middleware engine that is the perfect fit for most developers allowing users to exceed current generation quality standards while using less people and time than ever thought possible.

The CryENGINE3 CookBook is packed full of recipes for junior and senior developers alike. It covers everything from creating photo realistic architectural visualizations to implementing advanced physics such as ragdoll and tornado effects. Topics covered include the sandbox, level layout, environment creation, AI, character creation, creating vehicles, and game logic. Every recipe is designed to add AAA quality to your games.

The CryENGINE3 SDK has many tools immediately available to developers of all disciplines. For designers the book has recipes for building up your own levels and populating your levels with intelligent AI and photo realistic assets. For artists we have recipes for practical workflow tools and techniques used when working with the advanced CryENGINE shaders and materials. For animators we have recipes that will bring your creations to life using skinned characters and advanced animation systems like locomotion groups. Finally for programmers we have recipes that show how to employ the core mechanics behind entities such as vehicles and weapons while also utilizing the strengths of the physics engine to create a unique and exciting game.

Get to grips with CryENGINE 3 and use the CryENGINE Sandbox editor a production-proven real-time game compositing tool suite designed and built by AAA developers.

What you will learn from this book

  • Navigate and interface within the CryENGINE Sandbox, the tool used to create AAA games like Crysis 2.
  • Create your own levels and even entire worlds using recipes for sculpting and molding terrain.
  • Model with the integrated tools available to designers and artists in the CryENGINE3 Sandbox.
  • Use the cutting edge real time lighting technology of the CryENGINE to bring light to your worlds and explore the use of atmospherics and effects used for today's newest games.
  • Create and animate AAA characters and other objects for use with the CryENGINE Sandbox.
  • Manipulate the advanced AI available to game designers in the CryENGINE3.
  • Create your own cut scenes and videos using the power of the CryENGINE3 engine to maximize the output.
  • Optimize your creations for optimal performance with maximum visual impact.
  • Have fun following interesting game changing physical simulation recipes that can add unique game play opportunities to your levels.
  • Use visual scripting to create amazingly complex events as seen in Crysis2.

Approach

Written in a cookbook style, this book offers solutions using a recipe based approach. Each recipe contains step-by-step instructions followed by an analysis of what was done in each task and other useful information. The cookbook approach means you can dive into whatever recipes you want in no particular order. The CryENGINE3 Cookbook is written to be accessible to all developers currently using the CryENGINE3. It also explores the depth and power of the CryENGINE3 and is a useful guide to follow when becoming familiar with this award winning middle-ware game engine.

Who this book is written for

This book is written with the casual and professional developer in mind. Fundamental knowledge of some Digital Content Creation Tools, like Photoshop and 3d Studio Max is required. The Software Development Kit version of the CryENGINE is used for all examples, so the reader should have a version of the development kit to follow the recipes contained in this book.


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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars adjustable physics March 14 2012
By W Boudville TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The disadvantage about the book is that the only colour illustration is on the cover. The figures inside are all in black and white, and do not convey the efficacy and realism of the shadings possible under CryEngine.

Having said this, the authors do provide a lengthy explanation of the many features of the Sandbox, an IDE specialised to CryEngine.

Attention is paid to how to create and import graphical assets. Photoshop is used for the former. The CryEngine developers have wisely stayed away from the low level operations of drawing graphics; for this Photoshop is the de facto standard for many coders. Instead, we can see how the importing into CryEngine is straightforward, along with the subsequent integration of these graphics into to overall context of your game.

There is underlying the interactions within a game a physics engine. This deals with issues like the realistic behaviour of moving objects under a gravitational field, and how to model collisions. Along with this are occlusion issues. Purely graphical issues where one object partially or entirely blocks another. The reader is warned that collision calculations need to be kept as simple as possible, since they are computationally expensive and can crucially slow down the real time nature of a game.

At a low level, the physics engine comes with many adjustable parameters that you can easily set at values to uniquely characterise the game. While the graphics are obviously what the player immediately sees, the physics engine is where you can subtlely distinguish your game from others at a subliminal level.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
I picked up this book because I wanted to get some hands on experience using the CryEngine with a reference book, but had not used the CryEngine before.

I feel this book is more aimed towards beginners, and allows someone new to the CryEngine to be able to easily jump in, and have a reference for doing a ton of stuff that might not be very straight forward, as well as a lot of detail on using the interface.

Overall, just reading through the first chapters, I was able to get comfortable with the interface, and able to create and setup my own basic level. Further on, the book goes into a more general 'cookbook' style, with recipes for doing a variety of different things you might need in your level.

The book is well written, easy to read and a beginner can pick it up without a problem. There are lots of recipes for most things you would want to do, such as: creating terrain, changing level layout, placing items, changing lighting, putting down enemies, creating assets to import into the CryEngine, creating vehicles, some game logic, creating cut scenes, and much more.

The one problem I did have with using the book with the CryEngine are that the assets have changed since the book was published, so some of the items, or textures it tells you to look for at the beginning aren't there. You can use alternatives instead, but it would be nice if the downloadable files included them, or you could know which version of the CryEngine Sandbox was used in the book.

Overall a great book for learning how to use the CryEngine Sandbox, with lots of helpful recipes that will have you creating cool levels.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Up and Running With CryEngine 3 Fast Oct. 3 2011
By Matthew Doyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a veteran game developer, I've had the chance to work with a number of game engines, with varying qualities and quantities of tools, but few have impressed me as much as Crytek's CryEngine 3. Speaking as a developer, as far as I'm concerned, an engine is only as good as its development tools and workflow.

While development timelines haven't changed much, the complexity of game art and gameplay mechanics have made enormous leaps. We're expected to create larger and more beautiful worlds with more interaction than ever before, and given no extra time to do so. In this scenario, a game engine with lackluster tools has the potential to create all sorts of development headaches. At a minimum, spending excessive time fighting with or learning development tools can have a negative impact on meeting milestones.

CryEngine 3 has a respectable tool suite and editor (called Sandbox) which are easily comparable to the other AAA engines on the market. Of course, without a good introduction to those tools, you might find yourself with a giant question mark over your head as you stare at the editor, especially if you've never worked with 3D game development tools before. This is where PACKT Publishing's new CryEngine 3 Cookbook comes in. Written by Dan and Sean Tracy, both developers from Crytek, the CryEngine 3 Cookbook is a well-structured, step-by-step guide to the basics of using the CryEngine 3 tool set, broken up into twelve easy to follow chapters.

Dan and Sean take you by the hand, covering everything from how to launch, modify, and use the editor to creating levels, terrain, characters, and even vehicles. The book is 313 pages in length, but is a surprisingly quick read, with few pages presenting walls of text. Most pages provide bullet points and illustrations, and the book contains very little fluff, as I'd call it. Getting straight into the "how tos", CryEngine 3 Cookbook is written as a collection of hands-on tutorials. Its content is geared toward teaching newcomers to both CryEngine's editor and 3D game development in general, and, for the most part, it does an effective job remembering who its audience is.

If CryEngine 3 is known for anything, it's the incredible real-time lighting simulation its renderer can do. Great care and detail are given on how to create terrain and enhance your levels with real time lighting conditions and weather effects, including dynamic time of day lighting simulation, HDR (High Dynamic Range) lighting and global illumination (which simulates bounced light).

The Asset Creation chapter explains how to setup the 3D Studio Max environment to work with CryEngine, as well as how to setup CryEngine plug-ins for Photoshop and Max. Chapter 9 is devoted to explaining how to create some basic gameplay logic using the Flow Graph. The basics are covered, but there's a lot more to be learned here. The chapter on AI doesn't really cover details on how to build AI, but instead focuses primarily on how to add AI control objects, such as nav meshes, to the level.

If I had any complaints about the book, the first would be that it lacks any coverage of CryEngine scripting, which uses Lua. I don't consider this that serious of a fault however, as truthfully this topic could easily fill an entire book of its own, and this book was written primarily to teach the content creation pipeline, as opposed to the programming side of things. Some basics would have been nice though. And second, the book sometimes contains very brief explanations for things I'd like to know more about, or forgets to explain where a particular interface element is located in the editor. For a seasoned game developer, these types of omissions are very minor, but for someone just learning how to use these tools, it could cause some confusion. Finally, if I could add a section to this book, I'd add one covering the basics of user interface creation. But that would just be icing on an otherwise well-made cake.

Despite these few issues however, I think the CryEngine 3 Cookbook is well worth the cost and contains a thorough "getting to know you" experience for Sandbox and the CryEngine 3 content creation pipeline. As a former level editor and 3D artist, familiar with 3D content creation tools already, but a complete newbie to Crytek's Sandbox editor, I found the book a perfectly great and relatively painless way to get started using the tech.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars adjustable physics March 14 2012
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The disadvantage about the book is that the only colour illustration is on the cover. The figures inside are all in black and white, and do not convey the efficacy and realism of the shadings possible under CryEngine.

Having said this, the authors do provide a lengthy explanation of the many features of the Sandbox, an IDE specialised to CryEngine.

Attention is paid to how to create and import graphical assets. Photoshop is used for the former. The CryEngine developers have wisely stayed away from the low level operations of drawing graphics; for this Photoshop is the de facto standard for many coders. Instead, we can see how the importing into CryEngine is straightforward, along with the subsequent integration of these graphics into to overall context of your game.

There is underlying the interactions within a game a physics engine. This deals with issues like the realistic behaviour of moving objects under a gravitational field, and how to model collisions. Along with this are occlusion issues. Purely graphical issues where one object partially or entirely blocks another. The reader is warned that collision calculations need to be kept as simple as possible, since they are computationally expensive and can crucially slow down the real time nature of a game.

At a low level, the physics engine comes with many adjustable parameters that you can easily set at values to uniquely characterise the game. While the graphics are obviously what the player immediately sees, the physics engine is where you can subtlely distinguish your game from others at a subliminal level.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to get you started using the CryEngine Sandbox Sept. 24 2011
By C. Moeller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked up this book because I wanted to get some hands on experience using the CryEngine with a reference book, but had not used the CryEngine before.

I feel this book is more aimed towards beginners, and allows someone new to the CryEngine to be able to easily jump in, and have a reference for doing a ton of stuff that might not be very straight forward, as well as a lot of detail on using the interface.

Overall, just reading through the first chapters, I was able to get comfortable with the interface, and able to create and setup my own basic level. Further on, the book goes into a more general "cookbook" style, with recipes for doing a variety of different things you might need in your level.

The book is well written, easy to read and a beginner can pick it up without a problem. There are lots of recipes for most things you would want to do, such as: creating terrain, changing level layout, placing items, changing lighting, putting down enemies, creating assets to import into the CryEngine, creating vehicles, some game logic, creating cut scenes, and much more.

The one problem I did have with using the book with the CryEngine are that the assets have changed since the book was published, so some of the items, or textures it tells you to look for at the beginning aren't there. You can use alternatives instead, but it would be nice if the downloadable files included them, or you could know which version of the CryEngine Sandbox was used in the book.

Overall a great book for learning how to use the CryEngine Sandbox, with lots of helpful recipes that will have you creating cool levels.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for learning CE3 Dec 1 2011
By YamahaAlex37 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am part of a game development community where one guy has this book and everyone is constantly going to him for answers. Thanks to the nice price on this e-book, I don't have to do that anymore. I tried to hold off buying this book, but the CryEngine 3 documentation is some of the most confusing and abstract stuff I have ever tried to follow. This book breaks everything down to be understandable by a beginner, and if it were not for the step by step instructions, I would have probably moved on from CryEngine 3 by now due to frustration. Check out PacktPub's website, I picked this up in the October sale, and they have a few articles from this book so you can see how nice it is.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a Cookbook Sept. 15 2011
By Will Long - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After recently acquiring the CryEngine SDK and hoping to get to learn its ins-and-outs for an upcoming game project, I opted to purchase this book to give me a little insight and show me some things I wouldn't have learned otherwise. There was a little problem with that, namely that this wasn't a cookbook at all. This book is 100% for beginners completely unfamiliar with any Crytek or similar game engines/editors. It is a "point you to this button" walkthrough and nothing more, much to my chagrin and disappointment as I'd come to have high expectations from Packt publishing (edit: previously mentioned Mat Buckland's AI book was WordWare, but other Packt books have been excellent additions to my library). Everything contained in the book I'd already learned on my own in the first hour of tinkering with the SDK. If that is what you need, then this book is an excellent resource, otherwise I suggest anyone besides absolute beginners should wait for another book to make its appearance.
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