There is an obvious irony to a company named after the Amazon rainforest calling its new, free game engine Lumberyard. Putting that to one side though, Amazon has stirred up excitement in game-making circles by revealing a brand-spanking, cross-platform game engine.
Lumberyard’s full source code is available to download, which opens it to high levels of customisation for teams working on projects. It can be used to make both PC and console games, and Amazon has signed deals with Microsoft and Sony to make it possible for developers to immediately build games for Xbox One and PS4 with the engine. Mobile compatibility is apparently on the horizon, and Amazon is testing support for Oculus SDK.
Another boon for Lumberyard is its integration with the Amazon-owned firm Twitch. This comes through two features the company is calling ChatPlay and JoinIn. The former basically lets Twitch users stream at the engine level, while the latter enables viewers to jump into online games being made with the engine.
The game engine doesn’t have anything in the way of subscription fees or royalty charges. So how does it make money, you howl. Well, that comes in the form of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing, which are the only third-party cloud services supported by Lumberyard. That shouldn’t be an issue if you’re making a single-player game without cloud connectivity, but is something to consider if you plan to make a multiplayer game.
On Twitter, the reaction to the announcement seems to be generally positive. Developer Rami Ismail said the new engine looked “pretty magificent”.
Whoa, @Amazon’s new Lumberyard engine looks pretty magnificent, has full source & clever @twitch integration. https://t.co/s8d5fnn1gR
— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) February 9, 2016
Lumberyard is currently in beta, but you can use and download it free from today.