Amazon US on July 6, the company’s game engine ”woodIt was announced as open source software. The engine has undergone a functional revamp and will continue to be renamed “Open 3D Engine”. The future management of the new organization “Open 3D Foundation” launched in cooperation with the Linux Foundation will be entrusted.
Lumberyard is a game engine developed by Amazon as part of its gaming partnership. Based on the CryEngine developed by Crytek, it is designed to have functionality for interfacing with Amazon-based services such as Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Twitch. In addition, Amazon has been offering large-scale game development business such as launching its own brand, Amazon Game Studios. However, there are many limited and unpublished titles such as “Crucible” and “New World” that have been adopted by the Lumberyard Engine. Amazon Game Studios layoffs have also been reported, indicating a slight struggle in game development (related article). Commercial decisions regarding these businesses may have led to a drastic decision to open source Lumberyard.
This time around, Lumberyard has announced that it will be open sourced as an open source 3D engine. To tell the truth, the source code itself has been open to developers for quite some time. However, there is a difference in meaning between “to be open source” and “to be open source”. It becomes clear to understand this difference in the position that Lumberyard has become as an open 3D engine.
In software development, open source software (OSS) refers to a licensing model that is provided freely and permits its use, modification, and redistribution. Such software is usually developed by community contributors, such as improvements and feature implementation. In order to do this, the idea of ”let’s manage and maintain software that everyone can use freely” is central.
On the other hand, “proprietary” is a synonym for open source. This is the software in which companies and individuals own the intellectual property rights. Windows is a typical example, modification and redistribution are not allowed in many cases, and there are only a few cases where the source code is released. For example, Unreal Engine is a proprietary program whose rights belong to Epic Games, while the source code is published. Lumberyard was also a form of software, and although the source code was provided, the rights themselves were owned by Amazon.
In other words, the Open 3D Engine falls into the hands of the open source community as a “game engine for everyone” that is not owned by Amazon, even though it is based on Lumberyard. The engine is offered under the Apache 2.0 license, which is commonly used as an OSS license. This means a wide range of permits, from software and commercial use to modification and redistribution.
Additionally, although Lumberyard was originally released as free software that does not incur a license fee, the use of web services that replace AWS has been restricted in games that use the engine. With open source, these limitations have been removed and it is now possible to use it more freely. Developer Apocalypse Studios has announced the transition from Lumberyard to the Open 3D Engine for her work, Deadhaus Sonata.
Examples of open source game engines include Godot. However, it is rare for an engine like Open 3D Engine to be offered as an OSS with the aim of having a rich and extensive experience. Behind this policy there may be an intention to enter the exposed base of competing engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine.
A post on the AWS Game Tech blog states that Lumberyard has had a steadfast intent since development time “to provide a world-class 3D rendering tool that anyone can use for free.” The day may come when the Open 3D engine, which inherits this intention, will be developed by the hands of the open source community, and will play a role in the “standard” of game engines.
A preview version of the Open 3D Engine is available on GitHub. The transition from Lumberyard has undergone a wide range of updates, including improved modularity and improved performance. Since it is technical content, please see the official website document and the announcement article of the AWS Game Tech blog for details.