What’s Next for Lumberyard?
Our entire Lumberyard team has been enthusiastically reading your feedback since our Beta launch. One of the most frequent questions is “what’s coming up next for Lumberyard?”
Our philosophy on building a roadmap is simple – start by listening to customers, and work backwards from there. For example, when we heard from game teams (from indies to big studios) how complex, time consuming, and frustrating it is to deploy and scale multiplayer games in the cloud, we put Amazon GameLift into production. Late last year, one of our tech artists visited a studio participating in the closed beta program to hear firsthand what they wanted from the Lumberyard Maya exporter. Based on that visit we made changes to the exporter UI and functionality when we saw how the studio’s character artists worked. Amazon Game Studios, which has multiple games being built on Lumberyard, has also been working with the Lumberyard team in identifying new tools and features. For example, the visual effects artists at Double Helix had a vision for complex environmental particle effects in their game world, which led us to kick off the creation of the brand new Lumberyard particle effects tool that you see in our first Beta release.
But we’re just getting started with Lumberyard, and there’s much more on the way. We expect to adapt our roadmap quickly to the feedback we’re getting now that Lumberyard is in your hands. Every day, our teams are making updates and tweaks to their development priorities based on your feedback – so keep it coming.
While our long-term roadmap is mutable based on your feedback, I can give you a preview of some things we have coming the near future:
- Mobile Support – Mobile is an ongoing commitment of ours. You will initially see Lumberyard support for high-end iOS and Android devices, including Metal rendering support, GridMate support, and mobile input support (e.g. multitouch, gyroscope, etc.).
- VR Support – Lumberyard VR support is coming soon, and will initially support Rift SDK 1.0, and OpenVR for developers building games for the HTC Vive.
- Component Entity System – The goal of the new Lumberyard Component Entity System is to provide building blocks for designers and artists to easily populate and define the behaviors of the game world, while also improving the modularity of the engine runtime. In the upcoming version of the Component Entity System, you will be able to create entities and assign components using drag-and drop-workflows in the Lumberyard Editor. The Component Entity update also includes support for C++ and scripting workflows (for both Lua and Flow Graph), a component library, a cascading prefab system (i.e. prefabs within prefabs), and support for reflection and serialization.
- FBX Importer – We are soon releasing a new FBX importer, built entirely from scratch, to make it easier for artists to bring content into Lumberyard (including customers who are fans of tools like Blender). Our next release will support single meshes and materials, and we’ll follow up with support for multi-mesh, skins, skeletons, and animations. Additionally, since we know that many game teams rely on their own proprietary formats, we’ve also built an abstraction layer alongside the FBX importer that enables you to extend the input format to suit your own team’s needs.
- Particle Editor – Some of the new additions you’ll see to the particle editor include support for GPU particles, LODs, and the ability for artists to load and work with multiple particle effects libraries.
- Twitch ChatPlay – Thanks to some recent clever requests from game designers, we are adding new Twitch ChatPlay options to support polls, surveys, and voting for your spectators.
- Amazon GameLift – Amazon GameLift will soon arrive in EU (Ireland) and AP (Tokyo) regions, so you can reduce latency for your players around the world.
This list is only a subset of work under way. In addition to the things above, we continue to make improvements to Lumberyard workflows, Cloud Canvas, the asset processor, the UI editor, and more. We’ve also heard your suggestions on improving the Lumberyard installation experience, and will be working towards reducing the download size and making Lumberyard simpler and faster to set up. And of course, we have saved some room on our schedules for surprises.
My twenty years of experience in the game industry has taught me to respect that every game developer has strong views about the technology that is the most critical to create their vision. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on an incredible diversity of genres and franchises during that time. When I worked on Total Annihilation, the engineers on our team aspired to optimize the engine to get hundreds of units on screen (beware my Flash rush…). Data-driven and realistic animation systems that didn’t drop frames was the focus of one of the Assassin’s Creed games I worked on. Procedural weapons and equipment made The Lord of the Rings games I worked on incredibly replayable, and it was dynamic in-game stores that helped make Deer Hunter on iOS and Android successful. We’ve assembled a team of industry veterans on Lumberyard that all have their own experiences building and using great technology to make great games. We’re excited to put that expertise to use on Lumberyard, building technology that can help you spend more time creating differentiated gameplay and building communities of fans, and less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building game engine components.
If you’re making plans for GDC, be sure to find some time to visit our booth and our developer day, where you’ll get a chance to meet some of our team, see new features in development, and learn more about our roadmap. We’ll talk more about GDC here on our blog in the near future. If you’re not planning on attending GDC this year, I look forward to seeing you on our forums.