Building your next Windows/Xbox game with Lumberyard
I might get in trouble for today's post, but I still thought it was pretty darn cool and given how often I blog about game engines and development, I really didn't think I could pass this up...
And it DOES help you quickly create Windows 7,8,10 and Xbox one games! So I should be good, right? Right? umm... yeah... :)
Building world-class games is a very difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process. The audience is incredibly demanding. They want engaging, social play that spans a wide variety of desktop, console, and mobile platforms. Due to the long lead time inherent in the game development and distribution process, the success or failure of the game can often be determined on launch day, when pent-up demand causes hundreds of thousands or even millions of players to sign in and take the game for a spin.
Behind the scenes, the development process must be up to this challenge. Game creators must be part of a team that includes developers with skills in story telling, game design, physics, logic design, sound creation, graphics, visual effects, and animation. If the game is network-based, the team must also include expertise in scaling, online storage, network communication & management, security.
With development and creative work that can take 18 to 36 months, today’s games represent a considerable financial and reputational risk for the studio. Each new game is a make-or-break affair.
New AWS Game Services
Today I would like to tell you about a pair of new AWS products that are designed for use by professional game developers building cloud-connected, cross-platform games. We started with several proven, industry leading engines and developer tools, added a considerable amount of our own code, and integrated the entire package with our Twitch video platform and community, while also mixing in access to relevant AWS messaging, identity, and storage services. Here’s what we are announcing today:
Lumberyard – A game engine and development environment designed for professional developers. A blend of new and proven technologies from CryEngine, Double Helix, and AWS, Lumberyard simplifies and streamlines game development. As a game engine, it supports development of cloud-connected and standalone 3D games, with support for asset management, character creation, AI, physics, audio, and more. On the development side, the Lumberyard IDE allows you to design indoor and outdoor environments, starting from a blank canvas. You (I just promoted you to professional game developer) can take advantage of built-in content workflows and an asset pipeline, editing game assets in Photoshop, Maya, or 3ds Max for editing and bringing them in to the IDE afterward. You can program your game in the traditional way using C++ and Visual Studio (including access to the AWS SDK for C++) or you can use our Flow Graph tool and the cool new Cloud Canvas to create cloud-connected gameplay features using visual scripting.
Support Services – As the icing on this cake, we are also launching a range of support options including a dedicated Lumberyard forum and a set of tutorials (both text and video). Multiple tiers of paid AWS support are also available.
Developing with Lumberyard
Lumberyard is at the heart of today’s announcement. As I mentioned earlier, it is designed for professional developers and supports development of high-quality, cross-platform games. We are launching with support for the following environments:
- Windows – Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10.
- Console – PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Support for mobile devices and VR headsets is in the works and should be available within a couple of months.
The Lumberyard development environment runs on your Windows PC or laptop. You’ll need a fast, quad-core processor, at least 8 GB of memory, 200 GB of free disk space, and a high-end video card with 2 GB or more of memory and Direct X 11 compatibility. You will also need Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 (or newer) and the Visual C++ Redistributables package for Visual Studio 2013.
The Lumberyard Zip file contains the binaries, templates, assets, and configuration files for the Lumberyard Editor. It also includes binaries and source code for the Lumberyard game engine. You can use the engine as-is, you can dig in to the source code for reference purposes, or you can customize it in order to further differentiate your game. The Zip file also contains the Lumberyard Launcher. This program makes sure that you have properly installed and configured Lumberyard and the third party runtimes, SDKs, tools, and plugins.
The Lumberyard Editor encapsulates the game under development and a suite of tools that you can use to edit the game’s assets.
Coding with Flow Graph and Cloud Canvas
Traditionally, logic for games was built by dedicated developers, often in C++ and with the usual turnaround time for an edit/compile/run cycle. While this option is still open to you if you use Lumberyard, you also have two other options: Lua and Flow Graph.
Flow Graph is a modern and approachable visual scripting system that allows you to implement complex game logic without writing or or modifying any code. You can use an extensive library of pre-built nodes to set up gameplay, control sounds, and manage effects.
Pricing and Availability
Lumberyard and Amazon GameLift are available now and you can start building your games today!
You can build and run connected and standalone games using Lumberyard at no charge. You are responsible for the AWS charges for any calls made to AWS services using the IAM user configured in to Cloud Canvas, or through calls made using the AWS SDK for C++, along with any charges for the use of GameLift.
Amazon GameLift is launching in the US East (Northern Virginia) and US West (Oregon) regions, and will be coming to other AWS regions as well. As part of AWS Free Usage tier, you can run a fleet comprised of one c3.large instance for up to 125 hours per month for a period of one year. After that, you pay the usual On-Demand rates for the EC2 instances that you use, plus the charge for 50 GB / month of EBS storage per instance, and $1.50 per month for every 1000 daily active users.
Amazon Lumberyard is a free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch.
By starting game projects with Lumberyard, you can spend more of your time creating great gameplay and building communities of fans, and less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building a game engine and managing server infrastructure.
Amazon Lumberyard is free, including full source code, so you can deeply customize Lumberyard for your team and your vision for your project today, and for future projects in years to come. There are no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue. You only pay for the AWS services you choose to use.
Amazon Lumberyard is available today in beta for developers building PC and console games. Mobile and VR platforms coming soon.