Amazon Releases Free "AAA" Game Engine Based on CryEngine

StewShearerOld

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Amazon Releases Free "AAA" Game Engine Based on CryEngine

Amazon has released Lumberyard, a "AAA" game engine that developers can download and use completely free of charge.

Amazon wants to be a bigger player in the game industry. It's not hard to understand why, of course. With video games routinely raking in billions, it only makes sense that the company would want a larger slice of that pie. Toward that end, the online retailer has taken several steps over the past few years to claim its place in that market. It sells <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/142234-Amazon-Nintendo-Digital-Storefromt>a variety of digital games in its online marketplace, is <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/141056-Amazon-Game-Studio-Hiring-For-Ambitious-First-PC-Game>hiring developers to create in-house games and even released its <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/133439-Amazon-FireTV-Set-Top-Box-Goes-On-Sale-for-99-Controller-is-Extra>own controllers to transform its FireTV boxes into game consoles. Adding to that list, the company has announced today that it's releasing its own game engine.

Amazon's new engine is called Lumberyard and is <a href=http://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/downloads/?tag=kotakuamzn-20&ascsubtag=69f8bd092ef78a927799569ed9bc4fc536414f44&rawdata=%5Br%7Chttp%3A%2F%2Fkotaku.com%2F%5Bt%7Clink%5Bp%7C1757995787%5Ba%7Clumberyard%5Bau%7C5786474687605213265>being described by the company as a "AAA game engine" designed to give developers tools to create "the highest-quality games." Lumberyard is based on CryEngine and can create games for PCs, PS4, Xbox One and mobile platforms. In addition to tech from CryEngine, it also uses code created by Double Helix and has built-in Amazon Web Service and Twitch integration. Alongside Lumberyard, Amazon has also announced GameLift, a new service based on AWS and geared toward helping developers add session-based multiplayer experiences to their gaming projects.

Perhaps the most important detail about Lumberyard however, is that the engine is completely free. While the retailer will charge "standard AWS fees" if developers choose to use them, the engine, along with its source code, can be downloaded and used completely free of charge. If developers want, they can even choose to forego Amazon completely and sell their Lumberyard produced products in other marketplaces.

The download file for Lumberyard requires recommends that developers have "a PC with Windows 7 64-bit, 8+ GB RAM, a 3GHz+ quad-core processor, and a 2+ GB DX11+ compatible video card" or better.

Source: Amazon


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sXeth

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Its a not-so-subtle attempt to increase their gaming profile in aid of competing with Steam, but still pretty cool. The idea being that developers will just use the included Amazon stuff for sales, and presumably the engine has a splash screen saying "Amazon" somewhere.
 

Diablo1099_v1legacy

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So how long before we see Lumberyard game assets being abused like Unity ones in the Steam mire pit?

And if Double Helix did some of the coding, then I swear to god they better have the KI Netcode in there.
It's basically the best netcode fighting games ever had and it allowed Killer Instinct to be able to host online tournaments far more easily then even Street Fighter could.
I'm not sure if it works for non-fighting games, but it would give Lumberyard a big edge if it came with that kind of network stability out of the box.

Just outside of good press, what is Amazon getting out of this if they are making it free to download?
 

Remus

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StewShearer said:
Amazon Releases Free "AAA" Game Engine Based on CryEngine

Amazon has released Lumberyard, a "AAA" game engine that developers can download and use completely free of charge.

The download file for Lumberyard requires recommends that developers have "a PC with Windows 7 64-bit, 8+ GB RAM, a 3GHz+ quad-core processor, and a 2+ GB DX11+ compatible video card" or better.

Source: Amazon


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So, mid range. Gotcha. Too bad I'm not creative, like at all. My prediction is that the first major game to come out of Lumberyard will see actual wood as a primary focus. Just a thought.
 

EndlessSporadic

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It's sad to see they decided to branch from CryEngine. That engine is very specialized for outdoor environments. It does that job extremely well (beyond extremely well, actually), but it struggles quite hard when it comes to generalizing gameplay and indoor environments. The engine can't bake lighting and doesn't have the optimizations required for good performance on lower-end hardware. Unless Amazon went in and added baked lighting the engine won't do well at all, especially on consoles.
 

Black Fire Dragon13

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EndlessSporadic said:
It's sad to see they decided to branch from CryEngine. That engine is very specialized for outdoor environments. It does that job extremely well (beyond extremely well, actually), but it struggles quite hard when it comes to generalizing gameplay and indoor environments. The engine can't bake lighting and doesn't have the optimizations required for good performance on lower-end hardware. Unless Amazon went in and added baked lighting the engine won't do well at all, especially on consoles.
If you're correct about the baked lighting thing, the potential developers will Hopefully keep that in mind. If they want to make a game about being out in the wilderness(ex:ark:survival evolved) they'll remember to use LumberYard. If they're planning on making some cover based 3rd person shooter set mainly indoors, maybe go use Unity or Unreal 4 engine.

Then again, seeing the awful crap that's the majority of what's been put on steam, or at least tried to get onto Steam through Greenlight and failed, I wouldn't expect the "developers" of those games to have enough brain cells to figure out what game engine to use.
 

StewShearerOld

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I recently picked up RPG Maker MV on Steam while it was on sale, and have been messing around with it on and off. I like that it's easy to use, but I prefer western style to JRPGs, so it kinda sucks to be boxed into that "anime/manga" art style.

Lumberyard sounds like it would allow me to create a wider range of games, but I suck at technology so I probably wouldn't be able to use it. I'll probably try it after it's been out for a while, and people who know what they're doing make some Youtube tutorials.

I agree with previous posters, I've never been a fan on the way the CryEngine looks, and I personally detest Amazon as a company, and refuse to do business with them. Still, the price is right, and until there's a better alternative, I'd say I'm interested enough to download and try Lumberjack.
 

Slippery John

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Senneca said:
Lumberyard sounds like it would allow me to create a wider range of games, but I suck at technology so I probably wouldn't be able to use it. I'll probably try it after it's been out for a while, and people who know what they're doing make some Youtube tutorials.
If you're not very technologically inclined, this probably isn't going to be for you. C++ is the language of choice here, and that is a much more difficult language to work with than Ruby (RPG Maker) or C# (Unity).
 

StewShearerOld

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Slippery John said:
If you're not very technologically inclined, this probably isn't going to be for you. C++ is the language of choice here, and that is a much more difficult language to work with than Ruby (RPG Maker) or C# (Unity).
That's about what I figured, but hey, it's a free program right? All I have to lose by taking it for a spin is time.
Actually RPG Maker MV uses Javascript, instead of Ruby (RPG Maker VX Ace). Makes it a much more versatile program.
 

Strazdas

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Hows the documentation for Lumberyard. It is based on CryEngine and CryEngine is sort of famous for lacking documentation and being extremely hard to work with (though the results are BEAUTIFUL). if its going to have no real documentation then it may be dead on arrival.
 

Smooth Operator

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Senneca said:
Still, the price is right, and until there's a better alternative, I'd say I'm interested enough to download and try Lumberjack.
You can also get Unreal Engine, Unity and CryEngine completely free, old and new versions. Not to mention an endless sea of 2D specific engines which make life for 2D games much easier.
Also Unreal, Cryengine/Lumberjack are really high end stuff, stuff that makes seasoned developers cry while trying to make shit work, so they are the farthest thing from entry level development.

OT: Considering this is a 3rd party purchase, "improved" by some unknown entity and tied to a megacorp that will be looking to make all that money back, I would approach it with lots of reservation. Game engines of this complexity have lots of pitfalls you can't see coming until you are standing right on top of them, which might be several months of work into a project.
 

StewShearerOld

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Smooth Operator said:
You can also get Unreal Engine, Unity and CryEngine completely free, old and new versions. Not to mention an endless sea of 2D specific engines which make life for 2D games much easier.
Also Unreal, Cryengine/Lumberjack are really high end stuff, stuff that makes seasoned developers cry while trying to make shit work, so they are the farthest thing from entry level development.

OT: Considering this is a 3rd party purchase, "improved" by some unknown entity and tied to a megacorp that will be looking to make all that money back, I would approach it with lots of reservation. Game engines of this complexity have lots of pitfalls you can't see coming until you are standing right on top of them, which might be several months of work into a project.
Wow, shows how much I know. I always assumed engines like Unreal and the original CryEngine were proprietary, and you had to pay to license them. In that case, if I wanted to try one out, I'd just get one of the originals (Unreal), and sidestep Amazon entirely.

In fact, knowing that kinda changes my whole view on this product/article. Where I had seen it as a cool gesture by Amazon that they would make a tool this powerful available for free. Now that I know that's pretty much industry standard, it just feels like one more way this company is trying to assert itself into every market out there. Amazon is scary big, and them getting into gaming is creeping me out. Considering how much damage and sterilization "big money" has done to the industry so far, this can only be bad news for us. : (
 

Kahani

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StewShearer said:
Perhaps the most important detail about Lumberyard however, is that the engine is completely free.
Not really. The most important point is probably that you are tied exclusively to Amazon's services and cannot even read data from anywhere else:
Operating Restrictions. Without our prior written consent, (a) the Lumberyard Materials (including any permitted modifications and derivatives) may only be run on computer equipment owned and operated by you or your End Users, or on AWS Services, and may not be run on any Alternate Web Service and (b) your Lumberyard Project may not read data from or write data to any Alternate Web Service. ?Alternate Web Service? means any non-AWS web service that is similar to or can act as a replacement for the services listed.
Note that this doesn't just mean during development, it also means that you have to use Amazon's GameLift for all multiplayer services.

Given that other engines such as Unity and Unreal are already free, there's nothing special about Lumberyard also being free. Hell, even CryEngine 3 was available free for non-commercial use. That's pretty much just how things are done these days - the engine is free, and the payment comes in the form of royalties or similar. The only difference here is that Amazon will get their money from forcing you to use their other services rather than tying payment directly to the game itself.
 

EndlessSporadic

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The download file for Lumberyard requires 10GB of free space.
Note that it is 10GB compressed, 38.5GB uncompressed. Make sure you have at least 50GB of free space before attempting to download and decompress the engine.

If you're correct about the baked lighting thing, the potential developers will Hopefully keep that in mind.
I am correct. I have released a product on Steam that uses CryEngine 3, and one of our biggest impacts on overall performance was the lack of baked lighting. CryEngine 3 is a specialized engine for outdoor environments, and baked lighting outside is useless because of the motion of the sun. The lack of baked lighting is one of the many primary reasons why CryEngine 3 has failed to penetrate the market in any meaningful way. "The potential developers will hopefully keep that in mind"? Yeah, they will, and they will use an engine that supports baked lighting. Trying to optimize around lighting is extraordinarily expensive, and it is cheaper to use another engine that supports it over trying to implement or work around it.
 

Lightknight

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There is no downside to another game engine being released. The future will hopefully have amazing game engines at everyone's disposal to create wonders easily and cheaply.

So good on Amazon for stepping up to the plate. I hope it's good and they make money from it.
 

Lightknight

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Kahani said:
The only difference here is that Amazon will get their money from forcing you to use their other services rather than tying payment directly to the game itself.
Is Amazon's AWS a bad deal to use if you aren't going to host your own servers? From my use of them in non-gaming server solutions they are well priced and have fantastic up time and scalability. Is that not the case from a gaming server perspective?

This engine does apparently have some nice features like baked lighting as discussed above so if the engine is compelling, really user friendly, and the AWS service isn't a bad deal then I'm unsure what the problem is.
 

Kahani

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Lightknight said:
Kahani said:
The only difference here is that Amazon will get their money from forcing you to use their other services rather than tying payment directly to the game itself.
Is Amazon's AWS a bad deal to use if you aren't going to host your own servers? From my use of them in non-gaming server solutions they are well priced and have fantastic up time and scalability. Is that not the case from a gaming server perspective?

This engine does apparently have some nice features like baked lighting as discussed above so if the engine is compelling, really user friendly, and the AWS service isn't a bad deal then I'm unsure what the problem is.
As far as I'm aware AWS is a pretty good deal for cloudy stuff, which is why they're one of the biggest providers around. The problem isn't whether they happen to be a good deal right now, but rather that being tied exclusively to a single service whether you like it or not is generally not a particularly good thing. What if it stops being such a good deal in the future? What if people want to use the features of established gaming services like Steamworks? As far as I can tell these terms even forbid the use of things like cloud saves and achievements on Steam.

Note that I'm not saying any of this is necessarily bad, they are simply things that have to be taken into account when deciding what engine you might use, and that the article simply calling it a free engine without mentioning any of the very important caveats is rather misleading. This engine is not any more free than many of the competing ones, it simply makes its money in a different way. If those terms of use are an acceptable compromise for someone wanting to make a game, great, but it's important to know that it is a compromise and not simply Amazon handing out free stuff.