Amazon Lumberyard Engine

Amazon Lumberyard

Amazon Lumberyard

Yesterday, Amazon announced it’s new, free to use game engine; Lumberyard. Based on CryEngine, Lumberyard also features direct integration with Amazon AWS Cloud for high-speed networking and storage, and Twitch integration to allow you to stream and invite viewers into your multiplayer game. Lumberyard even comes with full source code, so if a feature you want is not present, you can add it at the lowest level possible. Best of all is the pricetag; Lumberyard is completely free to use.

So how does Amazon make money on a free engine? That is where the AWS Cloud integration comes in. Lumberyard ties directly to Amazon GameLift, which deploys the games to the cloud, hosts multiplayer services, and scales automatically for player demands. However, these features incur the standard AWS fees for Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon EBS storage, and data transfer bandwidth, plus a fee per Daily Active User. The silver lining is that there is no requirement to connect your game to the cloud; creating a single-player offline game, or even local multiuser title, is completely free.

lumberyard_engine

Lumberyard isn’t just a branch of CryEngine, however. There have been a number of changes and additions to the latest CryEngine codebase. The engine can build releases for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 currently, with iOS, Android, Mac and Linux support coming soon. While the initial release does not include support, the next release will include Oculus VR support for Rift SDK 1.0, which was released back in December.

In addition to the Lumberyard Engine, Amazon has also released some assets and sample levels for developers to use, including the CryEngine GameSDK legacy samples and Crytek’s Woodland assets. Additional samples will be released with future releases.

Overall, this seems to be a strong engine for indie developers, with the caveats that online play will incur charges through Amazon’s web services, and the lack of affordable assets available for CryEngine compared to those for Unity. For a small team that includes a 3D artist, however, and doesn’t want to host their own game servers, this may be exactly what they need.

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Get It

Amazon Lumberyard can be downloaded for free. Additional information about Lumberyard, its components and features, can be found on the Documentation pages, including a quite extensive User’s Guide.

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