Crytek’s Beautiful ‘Back to Dinosaur Island’ VR Tech Demo Now Available on Oculus Rift


Crytek has today released the Back to Dinosaur Island tech demo for download. The five minute demo showing a perturbed T-Rex is compatible with Oculus Rift DK2 headset and built on CryEngine.

First seen at GDC 2015, Back to Dinosaur Island was revealed as Crytek’s first foray into the world of VR. There we learned that the tech demo was the result of a 50-person VR team and that the company was developing VR compatibility with its in-house CryEngine 3 game engine.

We first tried out the demo on the Oculus Crescent Bay prototype headset, one of the first exemplars to find itself outside the hands of Oculus employees.

crytek virtual reality oculus rift gdc 2015 cryengine back to dinosaur island (1)
Road to VR’s Ben Lang at GDC 2015 trying out ‘Back to Dinosaur Island’

Little did we know at the time that the company would run with the dino-theme to develop their new upcoming PlayStation VR (PSVR) exclusive title Robinson: The Journey, which puts you in the boots of a marooned astronaut on a world rife with prehistoric life. The company was last seen demoing Dinosaur Island 2, the second Robinson tech demo, on Oculus hardware as late as Gamescom 2015. There’s still no word as to how long the PSVR exclusivity deal will last.

See Also: Hands-on – Crytek’s ‘Robinson The Journey’ Prototype is a Visual Feast, Built for Motion Controls

Download Back to Dinosaur Island CryEngine Virtual Reality Tech Demo


Back to Dinosaur Island is now available for download directly from Steam, but beware: this high detail tech demo has some pretty hefty minimum system requirements. There are no in-game settings to lower, so you either have the right system to run it, or you end up with a juddery mess. If you’re lucky enough to have the former, you’ll be treated to an impressively detailed scene, one of the most polished we’ve seen of any VR tech demo.

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Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows 7, 8 or 10 (64bit)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU 3.40GHz
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 980 or AMD Radeon R9 290
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Oculus Rift DK2 required, SDK Version 0.6 or 0.7 (0.8 coming in the future)
  • Author’s note: I tested with 0.8 runtime and it ran without a problem

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  • Blender1

    Cool. Tried it. I it was a little stuttery, maybe because of mirror mode? I don’t know how to disable that. I’m running on a TitanZ so I mean seriously, this should be like butter.

    • laser632

      Interesting you found it stuttery on TitanZ. I have an GTX 680 and it was stuttery with runtime 0.8.

      Koka1n has said it’s very smooth on his 970… the difference being the 970 has performance features specifically for Oculus rift to ensure image warping is done in a single pass. So I guess your TitanZ is pre-oculus along with my 680.

      • Blender1

        It’s too bad I can’t dial back any settings. I feel like stutter really takes away from the experience. I’d rather have slightly weaker effects than stutter. And what’s with the mirror mode? Doesn’t that hinder the experience as well?

        • laser632

          Me same. I’d rather reduce graphic detail until it runs smooth. Problem is you can’t change the demo graphics from within the demo. I guess a text file has to be edited. Mirror mode doesn’t affect Elite Dangerous so I guess it varies.

      • Mindweaver

        I found it stuttery as well on my 970 with a i7 2600k @4.2Ghz and 16gb of ram. It’s weird my desktop screen just strobes, but in my HMD it just stuttery with out the strobe.. I have a dual boot system one with Windows 8.1 and Oculus runtime and the other drive has Windows 10 and Oculus runtime 0.8. I was using a switcher to go back to runtime 5. I uninstalled the runtime and deleted all traces of runtime 0.5, but it’s the same result on both OS’s.. I’m going to clean install windows 10 tonight I hope. This has to be a driver issue.

        If that doesn’t work then I’m going to move my 970 to my i7 5820 @4.0ghz, X99S GAMING 7, G.Skill DDR4 2800 16GB 4x4GB, Samsung 850 Pro 256 SSD.. work pc to see if does any better…

        • laser632

          I use the switcher too because of Elite Dangerous. Main runtime is .8. I have found the Nvidia drivers can affect outcome greatly.

          I was using one Nvidia driver (not latest) that caused background to render at wrong depth on Elite. Going back to 350.12 fixed it but the latest 358.91 drivers are the smoothest ever with Elite.

          This Crytek demo judders mainly because of my system I guess. i5 2500k is old even running at 4.8ghz. My PCIe bandwidth is lower than more recent 3.0 specs.

          • Mindweaver

            I refreshed my Windows 10 OS and reinstalled everything and it was still stuttery.. I overclocked the crap out of my card to see if it would help and IT DID! Not as smooth as I wanted it, but it was way better than before… I still think it’s a driver issue, but time will tell. I’m going to fine tune my OC tonight. My CPU is at 4.0Ghz.. I’d like to push it more but I’m on stock cooling.. My watercooler broke a couple months ago.. I still haven’t fixed it..

  • koka1n

    I just tried this, on my gtx 970, i5 and 8gb ram, and its working fine, I cant see actual fps, but it felt really smooth. Too bad its so short, but its nice experience.

  • David Mulder

    Quite a bit of stutter on a R9 290 as well, but if memory matters then I had a was using 90% of my 8GB memory, so I will retry at some later point after a restart :) .

    • laser632

      OK, can you explain how the 970 user here also has 8gb and perfectly smooth?

      It’s not the ram… it’s the level of detail in this demo combined with the demands of image warping needed for Oculus. The 900 series can do it in 1 pass instead of 2 which makes a big difference.

      • kendoka15

        My 780 Ti had no framedrops at all with this demo so it doesn’t have anything to do with 900s

  • PacoMaroto

    Gtx 980, 32gb and i7 here. Awesome demo, smooth like butter for me, one of the best ways to show what VR is in my opinion.

  • dashmaul

    Imagine this with some motion controls…

    -pick up an egg
    -punch t-trex in the teeth

  • bji

    Nice demo, a tiny bit juddery on a GTX 980, but not very noticeably so. However, this demo more than any other that I’ve ever seen really highlights the lack of resolution on the DK2. Except for very close-up stuff, everything is very blurry/pixellated with lots of aliasing effects. Tons of shimmering around the edges of water pools, for example, especially when viewed at more oblique angles.

    Higher resolution and greater FOV cannot come soon enough to the world of VR. I’d gladly accept less eye candy and lower complexity scenes for greater field of view and resolution.

    • laser632

      Whilst I know DK2 isn’t there in terms or resolution the image quality is very good compared to pre-oculus VR. I use Vorpx virtual cinema and play movies with VLC and MPC-HC and the image quality is very good.

      This demo looks very clear on my DK2 at 1080 with high or ultra settings. At medium settings it is slightly blurred in the background so I wonder if your demo is set to a lower graphic setting? Certainly at the default settings it looks very clear on my system.

      Other thing to consider is the Oculus calibration.

      • kendoka15

        This demo doesn’t have any quality settings so where are you getting your “ultra” and “high” settings?

      • kendoka15

        Nevermind, saw your other post

  • laser632

    “To change resolution settings press ‘ESC’ button once you see small window appear but before the game goes to full screen & wait…now settings will appear. Do not press ‘ESC’ while in full screen though as it will cause game to shut down.”

  • Reg Feener

    3rd gen I7 with ocz solid state, 32 gigs ram , windforce r9 290x.. Runs pretty smooth but still lots of pixels..I also get these weird little movement effects around the water a lot and not so much anywhere else.. . Higher res displays are needed badly and then the power to run them. Showdown VR is still my fav demo by far..

    • Dominic Lacroix

      The demo by default doesn’t run at full res so it can be less pixelated

  • Reg Feener

    I should have read all the posts.. I never knew there was any way to change the settings.. Nice if they had the demo boot into settings with a start for after you finish but it’s not a big deal..