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Amazon launches update that overhauls its Lumberyard game-dev toolkit

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Amazon is updating its Lumberyard tools for game developers. The engine is adding dozens of new features to improve animations, nonphotorealistic visuals, and more.

Lumberyard is Amazon’s biggest gaming project. The company has some internal development studios, but it is putting a lot of investment in building making a tool for others to use. The company is, of course, leveraging its gigantic Amazon Web Services cloud platform for Lumberyard, and its visual backbone is the CryEngine SDK that developer Crytek built for games like Crysis. The idea is to provide a powerful and scalable tool for indie and blockbuster developers that is familiar but also is built for teams to work together in a connected, online environment.

But Amazon has that cloud-based development infrastructure up and running, and now it’s time for incremental improvements. That’s what today’s update is all about.

“Lumberyard Beta 1.11 adds over 400 new features, improvements, and fixes,” reads Amazon’s blog post about the changes. “Since launch, we’ve overhauled over 50% of the original code base, and we’re still just getting started.”

Here’s an overview of everything that has changed in Lumberyard 1.1, according to Amazon:

The big highlight is probably the new animation editor. Developers were still using CryAnimation, and the new EMotion FX animator should make it easier for studios to create more realistic looking character movements.

But I’m also interested in the toon-shader options. CryEngine was always known for its realistic visuals, so it’s interesting to see Amazon add on its own work to make the option viable for creators who want a more stylized look in their games.

Lumberyard is still in its early days compared to competitors like Unity and Unreal, which are among the most-used engines in the industry. But continual updates is the only way to attract more users, and Amazon wants everyone to see how much work it is putting into offering a viable alternative.

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®‘s Game Dev program.



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