Amazon wants to put an impressive 3D game engine into the hands of developers. Lumberyard is a free tool that lets creators build games that typically require big budgets, a large staff and years of work. In an attempt to be a one-stop gaming shop, Amazon includes Twitch integration with its new 3D game engine to build large communities around games developed with Lumberyard.
"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," Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games, said in a statement.
Much like how buying Amazon Prime was a way to get free shipping that also led to watching "Transparent" on Amazon Prime Video, Lumberyard could be the first step for developers to become further hooked on Amazon's services. Lumberyard boasts the ability to create real-time graphics rendering, character editors and physics simulation, but developers are limited to using Amazon's cloud services.
Amazon Web Services features — such as cloud-based storage, analytics or networking — requires an additional fee. "We built Lumberyard to make it faster and easier to build fantastic live, multiplayer, community-driven games – which naturally connect to the cloud to provide these features to players," Amazon explained in the Lumberyard FAQ.
Developers can create mobile and console games with Lumberyard with virtual reality support coming in the near future.
Lumberyard also has full Twitch integration. Amazon is including Twitch ChatPlay, which lets players control characters within the game using voice commands. This feature is based on the popularity of the community-based Twitch Plays that started with "Pokemon" in 2014 followed by more complex games like "Dark Souls."
For multiplayer game developers, Amazon launched GameLift to support session-based games. Multiplayer games require dedicated servers and infrastructure that can be more complicated than developing a game. GameLift is not free, but gives developers the ability to scale up or down based on their needs.