Amazon releases free 3D game engine called ‘Lumberyard’

Amazon Web Services is rolling out two new free products for PC and console game developers: a 3D game engine called ‘Lumberyard’ and a service for scaling up back-end infrastructure called ‘GameLift’.

Amazon describes Lumberyard as a ‘free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch.’

Sunset Meadow – Created with Amazon Lumberyard
Sunset Meadow – Created with Amazon Lumberyard

The company hopes that by starting game projects with Lumberyard, developers will be able to spend more time creating quality gameplay and building communities of fans, and spend less time on “the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building a game engine and managing server infrastructure.”

Lumberyard also comes with a visual scripting tool which Amazon says will allow ‘even non-technical game developers’ to add cloud-connected features to a game in minutes (such as a community news feed, daily gifts, or server-side combat resolution) via a drag-and-drop GUI interface.

The game engine is made up of technology from CryEngine, AWS, Twitch, and Double Helix. Lumberyard currently only supports Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, support for VR is in the pipeline.

Eric Schenk, General Manager for Amazon Lumberyard, said on the Amazon GameDev Blog:

“At Amazon, we believe it should be possible to make great tools and technology that can simplify development for everyone. And beyond just making game development easier, our hope is to prepare developers for the future of games.”

He added:

“Amazon Lumberyard is our first step on this road. Starting with proven game and cloud technologies, we have created something new for customers, a game technology that is interwoven with AWS cloud infrastructure and Twitch.

“We are just getting started. We have more to come, and I for one am incredibly excited to see where this road takes us, as we strive to create the tools and technology that make it possible for customers (game developers, players, broadcasters, viewers, and more) to bring previously impossible experiences to life.”

According to Amazon, Lumberyard will also support virtual reality (VR).

The company said: “We have been actively working on VR within Lumberyard for some time now, and it looks great. We are currently upgrading our Oculus VR support to Rift SDK 1.0, which was released by Oculus in late December. We wanted to finish upgrading to Rift SDK 1.0 before releasing the first public version of VR support within Lumberyard, which will be included in a future release soon.”

Lumberyard is currently free and available in beta. Developers only pay standard AWS fees for the AWS services they choose to use.

The move by Amazon is set to give its live streaming video platform Twitch more of a competitive edge over similar platforms which have recently launched, such as YouTube Gaming.