Amazon announced today the company’s very own game engine, called Lumberyard. The free, cross-platform, 3D game engine is based on CryEngine. Amazon wants to enable developers to “create the highest-quality games, connect their games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch.” It’s available right now in beta for anyone building PC or console games. Support for mobile and virtual reality games is also on its way.
Amazon GameLift, announced simultaneously with Lumberyard, is another service meant for “deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer games. With Amazon GameLift, Amazon Lumberyard developers can quickly scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand, without any additional engineering effort or upfront costs.” The online retail behemoth seems very interested in touting the engine’s cloud connectivity features, highlighting its ability to take advantage of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. With this business model, it seems the company is more interested in helping developers get off the ground with tools to make games, and then charge them for the AWS needed to maintain any online services games may offer.
The company decided to create and release a game engine that leans on AWS because, it seems, developers have been using those services for a while. “Many of the world’s most popular games are powered by AWS’s technology infrastructure platform,” said Mike Frazzini, Vice President of Amazon Games. “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.”
Another free and relatively easy-to-use game engine is a great thing for developers and gamers alike. We’ve already seen what free engines can do, from the official Final Fantasy VII remake to fan remakes of Metal Gear Solid. Hopefully this will be another tool to expand the number and types of people making games.