AWS for Games Blog

What’s up with the Lumberyard Docs?

Authored by Doug Erickson

You may have noticed some changes in the Lumberyard documentation recently – a refactored table of contents, overhauled guides for Script Canvas and the Editor, a new release notes format and style, and an ongoing update of key pages to support recent versions along with all the new Lumberyard feature coverage. Or maybe you didn’t? Regardless, better documentation (usually followed by “and now, please!”) is reliably among the top 3 customer requests we see for Lumberyard.

We heard you! For 1.24, we rolled out the Welcome Guide, which is designed to be the web equivalent of the often-hefty manual you received with new boxed software back in the day, and which introduced you to the product and helped you understand what you’d gotten yourself into. Over time, this guide will be expanded to include tutorials – both general and role-specific – that focus on your first week of game development with Lumberyard, and with an angle for doing, not reading.

Likewise, with 1.25, we took the first steps in refactoring the structure and table of contents for the docs. We also focused on improving the Google search experience around major topics, scoped to common industry and development search terms rather than the really-clever-but-hard-to-remember-terms that occasionally sneak into product development. Hey, we’re all game developers here, too. We’re creatives, right?

To refactor the doc site structure and table-of-contents, we looked across the last year of doc searches and feedback (if you clicked the “Did this page help you?” link on a doc page at any time, thank you!) and crawled the forums, plus applied a little of our own team game dev experience to organize the content around key components of game development, mindful of your role such as technical artist, game engineer, level designer or scripter, and so on. Since this is merely the first iteration, there’ll be more to come as we read your feedback, chat with you in the forums or on our Discord server, and consistently ask ourselves: “as game devs, what kind of docs do we want to read?” It’s important for us to keep that headspace when writing docs and developing samples, as our goal is to get you using Lumberyard quickly and painlessly, with a clear style that reflects the type of work you do. Sometimes, it’s not always easy to thread the needle between the needs of a game engineer and those of a technical artist, but we’ll always try – and we rely on you to tell us when we’ve “oopsed” our way into a bad experience. Customer Obsession, like any obsession, means we always keep trying until we get it right – and the only judge of what’s right is you!

We’re a small team of three writers with a large product surface and a doc set numbering over 1,600 pages (and growing!) to cover, so it’ll take some time. We’d love to have you with us along the way, so drop us a line in the Lumberyard Forums, on Discord, or just use the feedback link on any doc page to give us your take. We read every mail and comment, and if there’s a good insight or an action we can take, into the backlog it goes. It might take some time to get an update published as we manage our priorities and efforts, but it’s there, I promise you that.

Going forward, we’re focusing on more “Day One” onboarding tutorials and examples, and then expanding into role- and task-specific guidance for your first week with Lumberyard, always mindful of the work you do.

About the Author

Doug Erickson is the manager for AWS Game Tech Documentation, which includes Lumberyard, GameLift, and other products and services. He’s new to Lumberyard, but worked on game developer tools and documentation for much of his 20-plus year career, particularly DirectX 11/12 and the Xbox Development Kit (XDK). Doug likes cats and motorcycles, although the one he favors most is based on how crotchety it is on any given day.