News of Amazon paddling in gaming's choppy waters has been circulating for years, without much to show for it beyond big-name hires and its Twitch takeover. Its ambitions suddenly have much more substance. Today it launched Amazon Lumberyard, a free, 'triple-A' game engine named so as to upset eco-warriors everywhere.
Lumberyard is intended to make developers' lives easier, particularly connectivity work, which tends to require specialised engineers. That work now comes courtesy of Amazon Web Services and Twitch. Amazon has hard-wired Twitch functionality into the engine itself (including Twitch Plays commands), which I'm sure will make many devs happy in addition to ensuring no shortage of publicity for Lumberyard itself.
And yes, my fellow PC gamers, the engine is mod-friendly.
Lumberyard has CryEngine DNA. Amazon licensed the software from Crytek and went to town on it, stitching in new networking code and asset pipelines. This might explain how Crytek avoided financial implosion, although I do wonder if it'll come to regret the decision. How do you compete with free?
Make no mistake, this is the free sort of free: no download fee, no royalties liable. Depending on how developers take to it, Lumberyard could cause cataclysmic upset in the engine business, topping the deals offered by both Unity and Unreal Engine. Even its source code is free to tinker with. The caveat is that developers must choose Amazon as their server infrastructure provider.
Lumberyard is in beta and free to download now if you have the skills to experiment.