Behind the bullets: An insight into weapon design in Crysis 3

February 15, 2013 by Crytek

Behind the bullets: An insight into weapon design in Crysis 3

Weapons are at the heart of the shooter genre, being the point of reference for both the character and the player. Especially within the Crysis franchise, original and functional weapons are key to the gameplay and the player’s immersive experience. With the upcoming release of Crysis 3, we offer an exclusive sneak peek at some central weapons to the game.

Gregor Kopka is a Principal Artist with a focus on hard-surface modeling and weaponry. He has been at Crytek for almost nine years, starting during the first Crysis development. “The first Crysis was really the toughest project to be in, because everybody had their own unique vision and there was a lot of competing passion in the team. After Crysis came out I really wanted to focus more on my work and particularly on all of the details; I’m a real perfectionist and my pencil was always the sharpest when I was drawing, nitpicking on the tiniest details nobody else would even notice. And in the end that eye for detail is what makes the weapons – especially in first person view – stand out.”


The Bow is the major new Hunter weapon in Crysis 3, and it was important early on in development that it needed to stand out. After doing some initial conceptualization, the team went to an archery club to try out different kinds of bows. “These things are so strong; they can literally shoot through anything,” Gregor mentions. “I made my first shot and I was just amazed by its power – I couldn’t even see the arrow fly or get it out of the wall again; that was impressive.”

Before starting to design, Gregor always thinks about functionality before anything else. “I often see [new or inexperienced] concept artists who start painting pictures and make everything look incredibly beautiful, but forgetting the fact that the asset still needs to be animated and function in-game. I prefer believable design but always with a focus on functionality. The Bow is no different: it stands out because of the automatic reloading and the magazines in the middle – obviously there were more things I wanted to add, but then it would no longer be functional and realistic.”


Another impressive new asset is the Mortar, one of the new alien weapons in Crysis 3. This was a challenge for both Gregor and his PC: “I did a lot of alien-related things in Crysis but never big assets like this one. The Mortar is the heaviest asset I ever made – well, now I’ve topped it already but it was definitely rough on my PC!”

During the design process for the Mortar, Gregor ran into some troubles due to the size of the weapon. “I had a reason for making it this size though, even though some people were worried about it being too big. I had this imagination that you’re shooting this huge weapon and it’s not just hanging around somewhere; it should literally give the player some disadvantage because of its size and power.”


Finally, there is the Typhoon – a completely new weapon that was needed to fuel the futuristic feel of Crysis 3. “Its technology is very advanced: there are no barrels in the guns. It literally has magazines that function as barrels, and all of the bullets can be electrically charged. It’s quite strong for penetrating heavy armor or material. So for example, I want to fire six bullets at once, which results in the fact that the first bullet may penetrate the armor and the next ones hit at the exact same point, with the last one giving the final blow.”

With Crysis 3 being quite futuristic, it was possible for Gregor to let his creativity flow. “I usually create a reality within my head in which these assets would work, and apply physics and chemistry to the designs to finish the job. I could have taken some realistic weapons and model those and focus on the quality of texture and so on, but this was never my goal; I am an artist and I want to be creatively challenged all the time.”

Gregor has finalized all details for the weapons in Crysis 3, and his current focus is more on hard-surface modeling in general rather than solely weapons. “For me, it’s no difference if I make a weapon or a vehicle, but I’m looking forward to expanding my horizon a bit. The tricky thing about weapon design in the FPS genre is that it’s the first thing the player sees when entering the game. The weapons are often so close to the camera, which means it requires a lot of precision in modeling. I always turn the asset around in the sunlight and look at how the light is traveling around the edges, to make sure the 3D aspect comes out the way I planned it to.”