The CryENGINE 1 was developed between 2001 and 2004, parallel to Crytek's first game, Far Cry. It was the first "per pixel shading" (lights, shadows, and materials) and "high dynamic range" engine on the market. The most important achievements made with Crytek's ground-breaking CryENGINE are the Sandbox editor, real-time lighting, long view distances and detailed vistas, high quality close-ups, realistic vegetations, and high fidelity physics and AI.t.
The Sandbox editor is a real-time game editor offering "what you see is what you play" functionality.
The CryENGINE 1 uses a script system for the shaders to combine textures in different ways while producing visual effects. It supports real-time per pixel lighting, bumpy reflections, refractions, volumetric glow effects, animated textures, transparent computer displays, and shiny surfaces.
To visualize terrain, CryENGINE 1 uses an advanced heightmap system and polygon reduction to create massive, realistic environments with view distances of up to 2 km!
The engine's physics system supports character inverse kinematics, vehicles, rigid bodies, liquid, cloth, and soft body effects. A combination of precalculated real-time shadows, stencil shadows, and lightmaps is used to produce a dynamic environment. It includes high resolution, correct perspective, and volumetric smooth shadow implementations for dramatic and realistic indoor shadowing. It also supports advanced particles technology and any kind of volumetric lighting effects on particles.
The CryENGINE's AI system enables team-based AI and script-defined AI behavior. It offers the ability to create custom enemies and behaviors without touching the C++ code.