Amazon’s Lumberyard steps up. What’s the plan?
Amazon has added over 200 new features and enhancements to its games engine’s latest beta, with plans pending to overhaul its codebase even more.
What is Lumberyard?
Lumberyard, Amazon’s games engine, is a free, cross-platform engine that is integrated with AWS and game play streaming site Twitch – with full source code provided for developers. Amazon’s aim has been to make tools available to create high quality games for everyone from major studios to indie developers, students, or a hobbyists.
Major Changes to Codebase
Lumberyard has experienced major changes since its inception in 2016.
The eCommerce giant has continued to improve the software, claiming to have overhauled the codebase by over 50 percent since its launch, continuing the trend with its recent 1.14 Beta release.
“Since the initial launch, we’ve overhauled over 50% of the original code base, and we’re still just getting started,” the company said in a note this month.
Amazon appears to be committed to aggrandizing the engine and engaging with users to provide meaningful feedback through its forums. With such frequent updates, they have also been able to interactively improve the engine as well.
New Component Entity System
Lumberyard’s Component Entity System allows games developers to construct new components and entities (a reference to a container of components). An example of such components are game objects such as water, or walls, which can be created through instantiating a new instance of their corresponding components.
The latest beta release contains various new components, including “wind volume”, “sky cloud”, “force volume” and “tube shape that provide immediate utility to games developers who can easily add features such as predefined wind physics straightforwardly into their games.
Support for Visual Studio 2017
As the second most popular development environment, according to the latest Stack overflow developer survey, support for Visual Studio 2017 brings Microsoft’s fully featured IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to Lumberyard users.
This is great news for users and demonstrates Amazon’s effort to provide a valuable developer experience for their growing product. Additionally, Lumberyard is now compatible with AWS SDK for C++ version 1.1.13 and Amazon GameLift Server SDK version 3.1.5, improving integration support for GameLift services.
Improved Script Canvas
Lumberyard’s improved Script Canvas also comes shipped with major updates, such as: variable manager – allowing exposition of component properties which can be used throughout the application; bookmarks – enabling prompt navigation through graphs, pragmatically improving collaboration and morph targets, which provide out-of-the-box anthropomorphosism such as character expressions.
Amazon has evidently been able to make some major upgrades for its 1.14 Beta version which seems promising for upcoming versions and continues the companies foray into the gaming world, initiated with the strategic acquisition of Twitch in 2014. The streaming site has over 100 million users and counting. For Amazon, getting that community engaged with a Lumberyard-created game could be a ticket to real gaming success. With the new features, it inches closer to that aim.