Amazon announces new integrated services for game developers
Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it will be releasing several services that have been set up for the game development community. Many of these services are now online in their beta stage, meaning that there are still some potential bugs and room for future expansion. That said, they are fully functional, and they include the following:
The first of the features, Amazon Lumberyard, is a 3D game development engine. The program is completely free, and it comes with no subscription costs or revenue sharing. The service also comes with the AWS Cloud service, as well as the ability to engage fans on Twitch through in-application integration. Lumberyard promises to be a simpler platform to design games on, claiming that:
... You [developers] 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.
- Quote via Lumberyard info page
What is most interesting to note is that, according to the details page, Lumberyard uses visual technology based on the CryEngine. As such, Lumberyard will be capable of rendering much higher quality graphics than most development kits, and since the visual engine is native to the program, there won't be much hassle on the developer's side to add in complex lighting. It looks to be a promising service, so far.
Lumberyard has all the features a game developer could ask for, including (but not limited to): full-featured editing, native code performance, high-quality visuals, and in-house physics engines.
GameLift, on the other hand, is a service that offers to help developers set up, operate, and scale session-based multiplayer games. It promises to reduce the time required to build the backend portions of a multiplayer platform from "thousands of hours to just minutes." According to the info page, GameLift requires no backend experience to work with.
Unfortunately, this service isn't free. The service costs $1.50 per 1,000 daily active users, plus any fees for other AWS services the developer uses such as servers and database access. While this doesn't sound too bad, it will make Amazon quite a bit of money if a game gains a serious online presence.
Other game development services do exist, and Amazon isn't the first to offer the bulk of its services for free. However, GameLift does sound like a promising feature for developers who don't want to work with the difficult process of programming a backend multiplayer code. Whether or not AWS' new services will result in a new wave of indie developers is a question that can only be answered in time. But, on the surface, it does seem like a good bundle for aspiring game developers to work with.