Amazon wants game developers to use its new free 3D engine

Amazon wants game developers to use its new free 3D engine
Credit: Amazon Lumberyard

Amazon has a surprise: it’s built a free, open-source 3D engine for game developers called Lumberyard. Built for “AAA” games, the engine integrates the company’s AWS cloud platform deeply to provide server-side processing.

Lumberyard is a full game studio; you can build and design levels, create your visuals, animate characters, generate particles, engineer audio, handle weather and AI and basically everything else you can imagine. It provides both the infrastructure for the multiplayer component of the game as well as the tools to build the game itself.

The game engine uses Cryengine for graphics, which can generate ‘photo-realistic’ worlds — it’s best known for being the engine behind the PC-crippling Crysis games.

A new AWS service called GameLift is integrated into the app to provide scalable multiplayer architecture without requiring deep infrastructure skills. The company touts that using GameLift means developers don’t need to spend “thousands of hours” building out this infrastructure, instead promising it takes just a matter of minutes.

The new platform also offers deep Twitch integration, so developers can build in impressive new features to games. Twitch ChatPlay developers can build features that allow observers to join in with game streams by voting on levels or the game’s direction and Twitch JoinIn lets broadcasters instantly invite viewers to join them in-game.

It’s obvious why the company is making Lumberyard available for free — as Microsoft has leveraged Azure for Xbox Live, Amazon wants game developers to use its cloud as well.

By building a tool like Lumberyard and making it freely available, the company is actively encouraging both developers and designers to deeply integrate Amazon’s cloud stack into their titles; ultimately, it’s locking them in long-term.

The most impressive part of Lumberyard is that it’s both entirely free and the code is available for developers to modify. Other game engines can cost developers in the thousands and often charge for per-seat pricing, so Amazon’s proposition is likely interesting for both large and small game developers.

Amazon Lumberyard [AWS]

 

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