3D Graphics as a Service: A Look at AWS Lumberyard

By | October 2, 2016

As AWS continues to evolve, it moves from being an infrastructure as a service provider to a platform for application development and runtime infrastructure. While many AWS back-end services are tailored to the enterprise, other services such as Mobile Hub and Device Farm have commercial uses. And Amazon Lumberyard is the newest among those. On the surface, Lumberyard is a 3D gaming platform. But when you dig into its different levels, the service could hold an Easter egg or two for enterprise IT. This article takes a deeper dive into its features.

AWS-Lumberyard.jpgAmazon Lumberyard is a development platform and back-end engine for standalone connected, multiplayer 3D games with features that simplify scene and character creation, 3D modeling, image rendering, object motion, light physics, and audio and game play scripting. Similar to other game engines — Unity, Unreal, Double Helix and CryEngine — Lumberyard reduces the overhead and complexity of writing low-level rendering and physics code using DirectX, OpenGL and XNA. The service can also simplify the creation of interactive, multiplayer games using features that integrate them with Twitch, the live game-streaming platform and social network that Amazon acquired in 2014.

As I detail, Lumberyard has an integrated development environment (IDE) with editors for source code, characters, animations, particle effects and the game interface. The IDE simplifies development of indoor and outdoor game environments using a Photoshop-like canvas. Developers can use Lumberyard features, like the graphical editor to design the entire game environment, including creating levels, objects, terrain, lighting, animations and layers with 3D navigation controls familiar to gamers. From these GUIs, Lumberyard generates C++ code that can be modified in its native editor or external IDE.

Although Lumberyard is still in beta, expect to see enhancements and case studies showing how it can be used for enterprise applications at AWS reInvent starting November 28th.