Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) recently announced Lumberyard, a cross-platform 3D AAA game engine that is completely free to anyone looking to make PC or console games. Mobile and virtual reality platforms are said to be up next.
Internet distribution giant Amazon has big ideas when it comes to Lumberyard, promising developers the ability to “spend more of their time creating differentiated gameplay and building communities of fans, and less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building game engine components and managing server infrastructure.”
“When we’ve talked to game developers, they’ve asked for a game engine with the power and capability of leading commercial engines, but that’s significantly less expensive, and deeply integrated with AWS for the back-end and Twitch for the gamer community.” stated Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games.
Developers will be able to integrate their games to the AWS Cloud and will have access to a “drag-and-drop graphical user interface” that should make adding cloud-connected features, such as community feeds and in-game gifts, to games easy as pie. Furthermore, developers will have direct Twitch integration at their disposal, perfect for direct fan engagement and tapping into the potential of a platform with more than 100 million monthly viewers.
Lumberyard boasts technology from CryEngine and Double Helix. And on top of full access to the full C++ source code, Lumberyard grants developers ton of tools for game-making and world-building, including performant networking, character and animation studios, audio tools and a plethora of other devices.
Additionally, developers will have two new Twitch integration tools to play with, both of which put audience interaction and participation at the forefront: ChatPlay, which allows users in the Twitch chat stream to directly affect gameplay by using keywords, and JoinIn, which lets broadcasters pick a volunteer from the audience to get into the game with a single click.
It looks like Amazon is keeping a close eye on the gaming market, and for good reason. Just a short while ago they unveiled a new benefit exclusively for Prime subscribers that gives members a 20% discount on game pre-orders. Couple that with the fact that two years before, they acquired live-streaming behemoth Twitch for about $1 billion, and now it appears that they’re setting their sights on a more in-depth, behind-the-scenes capacity.
Curious? Check out the system requirements for Lumberyard below:
- Windows 7 64-bit
- 8+ GB RAM
- 3GHz+ quad-core processor
- 2+ GB DX11+ compatible video card
As for device platform support, Lumberyard can be used to develop games for the Microsoft PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Support for iOS and Android mobile devices, and Mac and Linux, are coming in the near future.
The engine is currently available for download in beta. The platform itself is free, but users will still have to pay for other AWS services they choose to use.