Skip to content

Is CryEngine for free?

CryEngine, the powerful 3D game engine behind visually stunning games like Far Cry and Crysis, is now available for free. With the free version of CryEngine, you can start using this professional-grade technology for learning, prototyping, and non-commercial projects at no cost.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain everything you need to know about getting and using CryEngine for free as an indie developer, hobbyist, or student.

Downloading the Free Version of CryEngine

Getting started with the free version of CryEngine is straightforward:

  1. Go to cryengine.com and create an account. This involves setting a username, password, and email.
  2. Download the CryEngine Launcher for your operating system – they have installers for Windows, Linux, and MacOS. The total download is around 3GB.
  3. Run the Launcher, log into your new account, and you‘ll now have access to the latest version of CryEngine for free!

The whole process only takes a few minutes. You can now start using this powerful game engine without paying a cent.

CryEngine Free License Terms

The free license of CryEngine is intended for non-commercial use. This means you can use it for:

  • Learning and education
  • Prototyping game concepts
  • Modding existing games
  • Making non-monetized indie games
  • Student projects and research
  • Showreels and concept demos

Essentially, you can use the free CryEngine license for anything as long as you don‘t earn revenue from it.

Some specific examples of non-commercial use cases:

  • An aspiring game developer learning C++ and CryEngine
  • An indie team prototyping gameplay before deciding on an engine
  • A college student creating a game prototype for their portfolio
  • A 3D modeling enthusiast creating environments for fun
  • A YouTube creator making CryEngine tech demos for their channel

As long as you don‘t sell your projects commercially, or put them behind a paywall, the free license covers your usage.

5% Royalty Fee if You Release Commercially

If you do eventually release a commercial project with the free version of CryEngine, you‘ll have to pay a 5% royalty fee on gross revenue.

However, your first $5,000 in revenue per game is exempt from this royalty. For example, if your game makes $10,000 in its first year, you would only pay 5% on $5,000 of that, so $250.

This royalty exemption resets each calendar year. It‘s designed so you can release small commercial projects without incurring major costs.

Key Capabilities of the Free CryEngine License

Even though it‘s free, the CryEngine you get access to has all the core features and capabilities of the paid versions. Here are some of the key things you can do:

State-of-the-Art Graphics

CryEngine is known for its incredible graphics. The photorealistic rendering, dynamic lighting, and immersive physics come together to create jaw-dropping visuals. Even the free version gives you access to all of these features.

Powerful Editing Tools

The CryEngine Editor has all the tools you need to create detailed game worlds. Sculpt terrain, paint textures, place vegetation, build structures – the editor is designed for intricate world building.

C++ and Lua Scripting

You can program gameplay logic, AI behaviors, UI systems, and more using C++ and Lua scripting in CryEngine. These are full-featured programming languages.

Visual Scripting with Flow Graph

Flow Graph is a visual scripting system included with CryEngine. You can use it to script complex gameplay elements by visually connecting nodes instead of coding.

Animation and Physics Systems

CryEngine has sophisticated animation blending, physics simulation, cloth dynamics, and particle effects built-in. Bring your worlds to life with these key features.

Artificial Intelligence

The AI system in CryEngine lets you create intelligent enemies and companions that react dynamically to players. Architect complex agent behaviors without coding.

Multiplatform Deployment

You can build CryEngine games for Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Xbox, PlayStation, and more. Support for major VR headsets is also included.

Limitations of the Non-Commercial License

Since it‘s the free version, there are some restrictions to be aware of:

  • No monetization or commercial use allowed
  • Limited technical support from Crytek
  • Upgraded licensing required for revenue over $5K
  • Less access to CryEngine Marketplace assets
  • Cannot publicly distribute the CryEngine SDK

However, these limits still allow plenty of scope for personal or early-stage projects.

Upgrading to Paid CryEngine Licenses

Once your project reaches the stage where you need to release it commercially, you‘ll have to upgrade from the free license. Here are some of the paid licensing options:

Indie License – $9 Per Month

This allows commercial use and lifts the $5K revenue restriction. You pay a monthly subscription fee.

Commercial License – Negotiated Fees

For professional studios expected to make over $500K with CryEngine. License fees are negotiated per project.

Console Licenses – $500K to $1M

For developing Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch titles. Large upfront licenses fees.

For most indie developers, the Indie license is the typical commercial upgrade path once you‘re done prototyping with the free version.

Showcase of Free CryEngine Games and Projects

To see what can be accomplished with the free version, here are some impressive projects made with it:

Eco Fragments

A lush jungle environment rendered in stunning detail. Includes animals, weather effects, and a day-night cycle.

Ascension Demo

A vertical slice teasing an atmospheric, mysterious adventure game set on an icy island.

Mech9

An anime-inspired mech game with fast-paced combat across sprawling levels.

Under a Desert Sun

CryEngine‘s capabilities pushed to the limits with photorealistic desert vistas.

The Human Race

A striking cinematic film merging live action footage with digitally rendered scenes.

These projects demonstrate how flexible and powerful CryEngine is even when used for free. The visual quality achievable rivals premium commercial games.

Is CryEngine Right For You?

CryEngine is a top-tier game engine, but it also has a steep learning curve. Here are some things to consider:

  • It favors C++ and low-level coding instead of visual scripting
  • The documentation and tutorials aren‘t as comprehensive as Unity or Unreal
  • Rendering gorgeous graphics requires beefy hardware
  • Game logic relies heavily on flow graphs instead of traditional scripting

So CryEngine suits developers who like C++ coding and want cutting-edge, photorealistic graphics above all else. Beginners may find Unity or Unreal easier to pick up.

But since you can get CryEngine for free, it‘s definitely worth trying out to see if it matches your style as a developer. Download it today and start experimenting!

Frequently Asked Free CryEngine Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the free version of CryEngine:

Does the free version have full features?

Yes, you get access to all the main engine features. Some marketplace assets require paid licenses.

Can I publish my game commercially?

Yes, but you‘ll owe a 5% royalty on revenue above $5K per year.

Is technical support included?

No, only limited community-based support is provided.

Can I upgrade to Indie/Commercial later?

Yes, it‘s easy to upgrade when you‘re ready to go commercial.

Are there limits on game size or length?

No, you can make games of any scope or ambition.

Get Started with Free CryEngine

In summary, the free version of CryEngine is an incredible opportunity to start using a triple-A game engine at no cost. While it has a steep learning curve, the potential graphics and gameplay are unmatched.

Download CryEngine today if you want to:

  • Learn state-of-the-art game development
  • Prototype an ambitious game concept
  • Make visually stunning cinematic content
  • Showcase your technical 3D abilities

With the simple and accessible free license option, anyone can now tap into the power of CryEngine. Just remember to upgrade once you‘re ready to release commercially.

I hope this guide gives you all the information you need to decide if CryEngine is right for your game or project. The tools to make your dreams a virtual reality are now free for the taking!