Amazon Lumberyard is being replaced with a faster and more powerful game development engine created in partnership with The Linux Foundation and other companies, aptly titled the "Open 3D Engine."
The Open 3D Engine is an open-source game development engine that aims to serve as a successor to the Lumberyard game engine that was first introduced in 2016. A big part of this project is tied into the Open 3D Foundation, a new initiative created by the Linux Foundation to make it easier for game developers to create new projects without having to worry about cumbersome licenses or royalty fees.
"The new Open 3D Foundation finally gives gaming and engine developers an opportunity to influence the direction of a major AAA class 3D engine that is sustained for the long term by a worldwide open source community," Linux Foundation CTO Chris Aniszczyk said in a press release. "Furthermore, other industries such as automotive and healthcare can take advantage of embedding the engine and supporting the advancement of the engine to benefit all."
How the Open 3D Engine Empowers Game Developers
Amazon Lumberyard was a pretty good engine right out of the gate — how does the Open 3D Engine improve things for game developers? There are a number of new improvements for game devs to look forward to with this new engine.
Let's start with the license: using most major game engines requires you to agree to some sort of license and pay fees and/or agree to royalty sharing and other restrictions. There are no such restrictions with this engine. It's open-source, too, so devs can tinker with it as they please.
As for new features, Amazon has "kept the parts that customers loved most about Lumberyard" and revamped the remaining features, along with a few new ones. The Open 3D Engine has a heavy focus on modularity with its features (both old and new). Here are some of the new goodies available in the engine according to today's blog post:
- a new prefab system
- a new build system
- an extensible UI
- many new cloud capabilities
- numerous math library optimizations
- new networking capabilities
- a whole new PBR renderer capable of forward+ and deferred rendering with ray tracing and GI support
- a number of performance improvements
This is all pretty cool, but it does raise a question — why would Amazon continue to commit to a free game development engine? Amazon does like to give back to the world with technology, but there's a secondary benefit: the Open 3D Engine has pretty great support for Amazon Web Services (AWS) out of the box, and those services are decidedly not free. AWS is pretty profitable, too — Amazon's web services division brought in $13.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021, ultimately making up 12% of the company's total revenue.
That said, you don't have to use Amazon Web Services (or any web services) if you're making a game with this engine. Whether you're a professional game developer or a hobbyist, you can download the developer preview of the Open 3D Engine right now via its official website.
What do you think of the Open 3D Engine? Do you think it will pick up steam as a competitor to Unreal Engine and Unity? Let us know in the comments below!