Sunday, December 24th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

See the top five new features in Lumberyard in 2017

Amazon has posted a list of the five most significant new features in Lumberyard, its free AAA game engine, in 2017, including new visual programming and character animation systems, plus vegetation tool SpeedTree.

Steady progress replacing legacy CryEngine systems with newer toolsets
Although they haven’t received the same media coverage – from us as well as other community news sites – as those to Unreal Engine or Unity, Amazon has been putting out regular updates to Lumberyard since since the engine launched in February 2016.

In 2017, the company averaged an update every two months, beginning with January’s Lumberyard 1.7.

In total, Amazon claims to have overhauled 10 of 12 legacy systems inherited from Crytek’s CryEngine, on which Lumberyard is based – and itself since made available for free – and added seven brand new ones.

New in 2018: SpeedTree 8, new character animation and visual scripting systems
Amazon’s blog post serves as a pretty good overview of that recent activity, spanning a range of graphics and programming tools.

On the graphics side, the biggest is SpeedTree 8, the latest version of IDV’s popular vegetation system, which has been available free to Lumberyard users since June.

That’s four months before the standalone edition, SpeedTree 8 Cinema; and way ahead of the paid-for versions for Unreal Engine and Unity, both of which currently use version 7 of SpeedTree Modeler.

Other recent additions include EMotion FX, Mystic Game Development’s character animation system, used on a range of EA and Ubisoft titles, and since acquired and integrated into Lumberyard.

Programmers and technical artists get Script Canvas, a new node-based visual scripting system; and the Cloud Gem Framework, for adding online functionality like leaderboards to games.

The latter makes use of Amazon’s other AWS cloud computing services: the firm’s commercial motivation for developing a game engine, and a major part of its promotional pitch for Lumberyard from day one.

Other significant graphics changes between Lumberyard 1.7 and 1.12
Other features added to Lumberyard in 2017 that don’t make the top five include a video playback system capable of 4K, 60fps output; a set of physically based referenced materials; and toon shading.

The latest update, Lumberyard 1.12, adds a new fur shader – to judge by the demo images, it’s mainly suited to very short fur, not anything longer – plus fog, rain and ocean systems.

Availability and system requirements
Lumberyard 1.12 is available now. The editor runs on Windows 7 and above.

The engine is completely free to use for developing offline and local multiplayer games, including source code access; online games must use Amazon Web Services, charged at Amazon’s standard AWS rates.

Read Amazon’s list of the top five features added to Lumberyard in 2017

Visit the Lumberyard product website