Entrepreneurial powerhouse Amazon is throwing more than its hat into the games development business, unveiling a free-to-download 3D engine called Lumberyard.
Lumberyard is based on Crytek’s famous- if not marginally finickity- CryEngine, and can be used to develop games for both PC and consoles. Along with the engine, Amazon is also launching a multiplayer service called GameLift; which will work in tandem with the engine.
The Lumberyard engine itself is completely free, according to Amazon, including “no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue.”. The company will monetize the endeavor via the Amazon Web Services that developers can use to build or support their games. The aforementioned multiplayer service GameLift has a $1.50 per 1,000 daily active user fee, in addition to standard fees for any other Amazon Web Services used.
Currently there are Gamelift servers in two regions of the continental U.S, Oregon and North Virginia, with more locations said to be coming soon.
Amazon is drumming up the convenience that Gamelift will provide new developers, citing that the cost of multiplayer and support is not normally within the financial wheelhouse of most start up developers.
With Amazon GameLift and Amazon Lumberyard, developers can create multiplayer back-ends with less effort, technical risk, and time delays that often cause developers to cut multiplayer features from their games.
Lumberyard also touts inbuilt Twitch features:
With Amazon Lumberyard’s Twitch ChatPlay, you can use a drag-and-drop visual scripting interface to create gameplay features in as little as minutes that let Twitch viewers use chat to directly impact the game they are watching in real-time. And, the Twitch JoinIn feature within Amazon Lumberyard helps you build games that let Twitch broadcasters to instantly invite their live audiences to join them side-by-side in the game, with a single click, while others continue to watch.
Though Lumberyard is based on CryEngine, Amazon’s general manager Eric Schenk said that it will “go in [its] own direction.” Schenk went on to add that the engine already has components that are not based on existing CryEngine tech, including low-latency networking code and “an entirely new asset pipeline and processor.”
Gamasutra has an in-depth interview with Schnek about the engine and the origins of this venture.