Over the past few years, the producers of major game-development platforms such as Unity and Unreal made an effort to democratize their respective products, mostly by slashing prices. From a business perspective, such moves made sense: more developers using their platforms to build games would translate into more revenue (and market-share).
Now those producers have new competition: Amazon Lumberyard, a cross-platform 3D game engine that leverages the storage and computation features of the AWS cloud. There’s drag-and-drop visual scripting, a real-time gameplay editor, and a character tool with animation and physics simulations.
And it’s free.
Lumberyard also heavily leverages Twitch, the live-streaming platform that specializes in video games, which Amazon bought in late 2014. For example, Twitch JoinIn allows Twitch “broadcasters” (i.e., those live-streaming their video-game footage) to invite viewers into the game via a single click.
On the AWS side of things, Lumberyard features integration with AWS SDK for C++, opening access to Amazon S3, EC2 and other platforms.
Amazon has made no secret of its desire to become a force in the gaming world. Over the past several years, the e-commerce giant has launched a game-development hub (Amazon Game Studios, mostly devoted to mobile gaming), gaming support for its Fire TV console (along with a game controller), and has ramped up hiring of developers and gaming experts.
Now it clearly wants to build a following among game developers. If you’re interested in testing out Lumberyard for yourself, head over to the platform’s new website for the download.