By Kevin Dackow and Zach Dixon
"Lumberyard is a free game engine deeply integrated with AWS and Twitch... [that] provides a growing set of tools to help you create the highest quality games, engage massive communities of fans, and connect games to the vast compute and storage of the cloud." - Amazon.com
Overall, I would describe Lumberyard as one of the easiest engines to get running on VR quickly. If you want to produce a VR game using pre-made assets that looks good and is visually appealing, this engine allows that with nearly no prerequisite knowledge. Its 'Gems' system allows for users to very easily add what are essentially plugins (i.e. Gems = plugins) to any game they create, to minimize unnecessary burden on the designer while still affording maximum flexibility. By using this 'Gems' system, the user can pick and choose specifically what functionality they want for any given game, without being drowned in unneeded and often-confusing additional features. By allowing users to pick just a handful, it makes getting a simple VR game running on your headset easy.
Tutorial for Hello World:
Minimum/Recommended System Requirements:
Specs below are for running the engine, not for running it in VR. Minimum specs for VR are determined by headset.
3GHz quad-core processor
Nvidia driver version 368.81 or AMD driver version 16.15.2211 graphics car
8 GB RAM
60 GB minimum free disk space
Windows 7 64-bit
Visual Studio 2013
Visual Studio C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studios
I felt that I fell at the Intermediate level on the metrics scale, given my experience with C++ and C#, and thus I have scaled it accordingly. I have also scaled it to make up for the fact that I have done a lot of the debugging myself and put that into the tutorial. Additionally, download time is not included.
Accessibility: The estimated time for someone to create Hello World in VR
Beginner: No coding or graphics experience | 5 hours
Intermediate: Some coding or graphics experience | 3 hours
Advanced: Both coding and graphics experience | 2 hours
Expert: A lot of experience with computer graphics, specifically with this software | <1 hour
Power: The engine's power - i.e. how much one can do with this
High: It allows for stunning creations and competes with the best game engines on the market.
Usage: Evaluation of software's use for the following purposes
Game design - it is entirely built for game design and affords a wealth of opportunities to game designers
Other - not really intended for other uses
Lumberyard is easily accessible to users of all skill types with all of the power of Cryengine minus the difficulty of navigating the source code. Though debugging minor problems in the source code is a pain, it is overall easy to get setup and running.
However, VR support is still in beta, so unexpected problems are not unusual. I (Zach) wasn't able to get VR working completely (only partially), while Kevin was.
Tutorial for Setting Up VR Game
To get a VR Ready Application up and running follow these steps:
Download Amazon Lumberyard. This will create three executables on your desktop:
Project Configurator - the project configuration tool for adding "Gems" (essentially plug-ins)
Editor - the actual GUI for making games
Lumberyard Setup Assistant - a GUI for managing installation paths and SDKs
Open the Setup Assistant and download all required SDKs from the required SDK page.
Download Amazon's VR Sample Project
Open the Project Configurator and select the VR Sample Project - click the Set as Default button
Note: enabled Gems should include Oculus, Vive, OpenVR, HMD Framework, and Video Playback
Open the Setup Assistant and download any newly required SDKs
Navigate to optional SDKs and download FFmpeg
To do this follow these steps, for whatever version of ffmpeg the software wants:
Download 'dev' and 'shared' versions from the FFmpeg site
Create a folder inside called FFmpeg
In the FFmpeg folder create a new folder with the version of FFmpeg that Amazon is looking for in the Setup Assistant
Go into the folder for the downloaded FFmpeg 'dev' version and copy the 'include' and 'lib' folders into the newly created 3rdParty/FFmpeg/3.2 folder.
Go into the folder for the downloaded FFmpeg 'shared' version and copy the 'bin' folder into the 3rdParty/FFmpeg/3.2 folder.
Refresh your Lumberyard Setup Assistant and check it.
Rebuild your project following these steps
Setup your VR headset locally (in case of Vive, open SteamVR)
Open the editor
First, open the TV room demo and select the VR Preview box on the bottom right of the GUI if it has not been selected. Press the play button
Should render into SteamVR directly!
Next, create a new level within this project
You now have a blank project that you can render directly into VR!
For tutorials on how to build your first level, follow the Introduction to Lumberyard Editor