Game Development

Amazon Lumberyard: Harnessing AWS and Twitch for Game Development

Amazon Lumberyard: Harnessing AWS and Twitch for Game Development

The world of game development is constantly evolving, with various game engines vying for attention. Amazon Lumberyard, an AAA game engine, has been making waves since its launch. In this article, we'll explore what makes Lumberyard unique and whether it's the right choice for your game development needs.

Background of Amazon Lumberyard

Amazon Lumberyard was introduced in 2016 as a free 3D game engine. It's based on Crytek's CryEngine, which Amazon licensed in April 2015 for a rumored sum of $50 to $70 million. However, Lumberyard has since diverged significantly from CryEngine, with 70% of the original code base being overhauled​​.

Unique Selling Points

Lumberyard is deeply integrated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Twitch, offering unique advantages for developers. This integration allows for the creation of cloud-based games and titles with strong social components. It's also free, including the source code, although developers must pay for AWS services if used​​​​.

Platform Support and Programming Languages

Lumberyard supports various platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Windows and Linux), iOS, and Android, with MacOS support planned. It uses C++ and Lua for programming, catering to a wide range of developers​​.

Popularity and Community

Despite its potential, Lumberyard hasn't reached the same popularity level as engines like Unreal or Unity. However, it has a dedicated community, and games like Cloud Imperium Games' Star Citizen are being developed on it​​.

Advantages of Using Lumberyard

  1. Adaptability: Originally used mainly for first-person shooter games, Lumberyard has evolved into a highly adaptable engine, suitable for various game types.
  2. Services Integration: Seamless integration with AWS and Twitch makes it ideal for online, services-heavy games.
  3. Beginner-Friendly Tools: Its Script Canvas visual scripting system is user-friendly, aiding in fast prototyping and game mechanics development without extensive coding knowledge​​.
  4. Pricing: Being free, with no royalties or subscription fees, Lumberyard is financially accessible to a broad range of developers​​.
  5. Excellent Support: Amazon provides strong support for Lumberyard users, often adjusting priorities and setting up teams to meet specific development needs​​.
  6. Easy Upgrades: Integrating newer versions of Lumberyard is straightforward, ensuring developers can continuously update their projects with new features​​.

Disadvantages of Using Lumberyard

  1. Complexity for Simple Projects: Lumberyard's advanced features make it less suitable for small-scale or 2D projects.
  2. Limited Online Resources: Being newer and less popular than its counterparts, there's a scarcity of community support and up-to-date documentation.
  3. Recruitment Challenges: Due to its limited adoption, finding experienced Lumberyard developers can be difficult.
  4. Maturity: Still in beta, Lumberyard may pose risks for some projects, and parts of the engine are still in early development phases​​.

User Reviews and Experiences

Users have generally rated Lumberyard positively, appreciating its integration with AWS and Twitch, as well as its capabilities for multiplayer games. However, some express concerns about the engine's steep learning curve for newcomers and its heavy reliance on AWS. The overall ratings range from 3 to 5, with high scores in ease of use, customer support, value for money, and functionality​​​​.


Amazon Lumberyard is a robust, versatile game engine with strong support for large-scale, online, and social gaming projects. Its tight integration with AWS and Twitch offers unique advantages, but it also comes with limitations, particularly for smaller projects or those outside the AWS ecosystem. While still in beta, Lumberyard shows significant promise and could be a game-changer in the industry.

As game development continues to evolve, Lumberyard represents an interesting option for developers looking to leverage the power of cloud computing and social media integration in their games.