Bookseller turned everything-seller, cloud computing giant, and now physical bookstore operator Amazon has announced yet another string to its diversity bow: game engine maker.
Dubbed Lumberyard, Amazon's new game engine is based on Crytek's CryEngine but comes with a number of extras: as well as the CryEngine visuals engine, the platform includes Amazon's own Gepetto character and Mannequin animation tools, a real-time gameplay editor and asynchronous asset producer, a built-in network subsystem dubbed GridMate, a library of 16 pre-built feature modules using the Modular Gems system, and a free version of Audiokinetic's Wwise LTX sound engine and authoring tool.
So far, Lumberyard sounds impressive - but it's also free, including the full source code. The secret to Amazon's largesse? It's heavily tied into the company's cloud computing and video streaming platforms. Those developing multiplayer games are encouraged to use Amazon's GameLift platform thanks to integrated support; the Cloud Canvas tool offers a simple way to link to Amazon Web Services instances, as does the provision of dozens of C++ application programming interfaces (APIs) for the company's S3 storage, EC2 computing, and DynamoDB database platforms. The revenue stream, of course, comes from paying for capacity on said platforms.
Amazon is also targeting end-users: the company's game-streaming Twitch subsidiary, acquired at great expense ahead of a rumoured buy-out by Google, is heavily integrated into Lumberyard, including both the ability to build stream-aware games and to support Twitch JoinIn to allow broadcasters to invite viewers directly into the game.
More information on Lumberyard is available from the official website