Last year online retail giant Amazon launched its first foray into videogame development with its Lumberyard game engine, adding and improving support for virtual reality (VR) content creation in the following months. Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced a new piece of online software that creators can use for their VR and augmented reality (AR) projects called Amazon Sumerian.
Amazon Sumerian is a purely online web-based development engine that features no software to install or upfront costs – customers pay only for the storage used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access the virtual scenes they create.
Users simply log into the AWS Management Console to begin building VR and AR apps using a drag and drop system. 3D objects (e.g. furniture, buildings, and natural objects) and characters can be place into into “scenes” (e.g. rooms, office environments, and landscapes). Developers can choose from Amazon Sumerian’s library of pre-built objects, download and import objects from third-party asset stores such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid, or create and import their own objects. Amazon Sumerian also includes templates with pre-populated scenes.
The software can also handle animation as well, so that developers are able to create 3D characters that can guide users through a scene by narrating scripts or answering questions. Amazon Sumerian is integrated with Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly, which provide automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU), and text-to-speech capabilities.
“Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses—from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences. But, customers are daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialized skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application,” said Marco Argenti, Vice President, Technology, AWS in a statement. “With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”
Additionally, if an app needs a map embedded, Amazon Sumerian supports location platform Mapbox. “We now bring Mapbox location services to Amazon Sumerian, enabling users to integrate 3D maps and surfaces into their AR and VR applications and bring location-based experiences to life,” said Alex Barth, VP of Business Development, Mapbox. “For instance, we integrated Mapbox’s points of interest and global terrain maps with Amazon Sumerian so data is delivered and rendered in real-time.”
VRFocus will continue its coverage of AWS and the new Amazon Sumerian software, reporting back with further updates.