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Star Citizen Lumberyard Info

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Dec
26

Star Citizen as of 2.6 is now on the Lumberyard Engine… Wait, What? 

As of Star Citizen Alpha 2.6, Star Citizen & The Star Engine (which is a heavily changed CryEngine) is now integrated with Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine, here is a quick run down of the improvements and changes that accounts for as well as a selection of useful links & the Original Posts from Chris & Erin Roberts from CIG & F42.

  • Lumberyard is a 3d Game Engine built upon the CryEngine designed to make use & take advantage of the Amazon’s Webservices (AWS), Servers, Storage and Compute Power.
  • It’s an extremely developer and fan-centric cross platform engine with native integration of Twitch as well as being geared towards MMOs & Large numbers of players.
  • It is crossplatform so it’s possible to see games on PCs, Consoles, Mobile Devices and VR Headsets, Vive, PSVR, Oculus & OSVR.
  • So they have already moved over and integrated the Star Engine with Lumberyard. The Transition was almost invisible as the Engines are based on the same baseline.
  • We should see benefits to Servers, Pings, Deployment, Ergonomics for modding amongst other things as well as a huge amount of improvements to the current engine & possibly more accessible VR.
  • Lumberyard allows CIG to have an extremely scale-able network, server and deployment platform.
  • Expect faster more stable servers, better pings, more players in a given area from Star Citizen in the near future because of this change.
  • Lumberyard is a collection of tools, some of which Star Citizen will use, others it will not OR they will use their own bespoke ones, Lumberyard gives them more power and options.
  • It’s also possible the Star Citizen will receive some additional core updates to the engine that will improve things even tho the Star Engine was extremely modified.
  • For Modders and people that want to get into Game Development Lumberyard is FREE so it could act as a very accessible gateway into the industry.

Useful Links & Articles on Lumberyard & Star Citizen

Star Citizen Newsletter About Lumberyard by Chris Roberts, CIG

Star Citizen Switches Engines – by Adrian Ip, wccftech

Lumberyard for those interested… – by Chris Roberts, CIG

STAR CITIZEN, LUMBERYARD, AND YOU –  by WolfLarsenSC, INN

Amazon Lumberyard FAQ – Amazon Official FAQ

Lumberyard Blog – Amazon Lumberyard Blog

CIG Press Release On Lumberyard – by David Swofford, CIG

Additions & FAQ

What device platforms does Lumberyard support?
Lumberyard currently supports PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS (iPhone 5S+), and Android (Samsung Note 4 and equivalents). Support for broader mobile hardware is coming soon, along with additional support for Mac and Linux. Please note that Sony and Microsoft only permit developers who have passed their screening process to develop games for their console platforms.

AWS Networking – GridMate & GameLift

GridMate
Lumberyard introduces a new robust and flexible networking subsystem, GridMate, designed for efficient bandwidth usage and low-latency communications. You can easily synchronize objects over the network with GridMate’s replica framework. GridMate’s session management integrates with major online console services and lets you handle peer to peer and client server topologies with host migration.
GameLift
Amazon GameLift is a managed service for hosting dedicated game servers. With GameLift you can host servers, track game availability, automatically scale capacity, and deploy updates without taking your game offline.
GameLift out of the box isn’t suitable for MMOs and persistence BUT they have the Source Code & as with large amounts of the Lumberyard Engine and AWS use what they want, customize what they can & build what they need. Lumberyard just gives more options and a more powerful backend.

Will this hasten Game Development?
Maybe on the Network side of things having scaleable Servers & leveraging AWS might make things move quicker. The network code might not need to be as efficient if they have huge amounts of server power, that could drive the game to be completed quicker OR at least get more players in Areas. BUT we will have to wait and see.

Afterthought
Lumberyard give CIG, Star Citizen & Squadron 42 more options & doesn’t takeaway ANYTHING. The focus on Servers and scaleable multiplayer means Star Citizen will have more Server Power & Location to play with & hopefully less overheads with their cost.

I believe the Star’s aligned with Lumberyard BOTH that are the Star Engine were based on CryEngine 3.8 so the Engine was just a no-brainer as it has more features, updates & tools too, nothing has been lost from the Star Engine their tools and such are still there

Lumberyard – Star Citizen Announcement 

In The Star Citizen Newsletter Chris Roberts Announced the Release of Alpha 2.6 & The Change Over to Lumberyard had been Completed:

We are now basing Star Citizen and our custom technology development on Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine.  Since the beginning of the project, we’ve had to make a huge number of changes to the CryENGINE code and tech to enable us to deliver Star Citizen.  While the original CryENGINE had great strengths in many areas like rendering and cinematics the needs of our game were well beyond what came ‘out of the box’.  So we have, over time, changed significant parts of the engine for our technology, such that only a baseline of the original engine truly remains. In the future we will continue to make significant changes to AI, Animation and Network code and systems.

When Amazon announced Lumberyard back in February 2016, we were immediately interested. While based on the same baseline technology as Star Citizen, Lumberyard is specifically designed for online games, utilizing the power of Amazon’s AWS Cloud Services and their Twitch streaming platform.

**Amazon’s focus aligns perfectly to ours as we’ve been making significant engineering investments into next generation online networking and cloud based servers.  Making the transition to Lumberyard and AWS has been very easy and has not delayed any of our work, as broadly, the technology switch was a ‘like-for-like’ change, which is now complete.

As an added benefit Amazon AWS data centers are spread around the world from North America to South America, Europe to China to Asia Pacific, which will allow us to better support the many backers across the globe as we scale up Star Citizen.

Finally, Amazon has made Lumberyard freely available for anyone building their own game. That means that technically-inclined members of the community can have a better view ‘under the hood’ of our game than ever before. It’s also a great path for anyone interested in game development professionally; I fully anticipate that in the coming year we will be hiring programmers who have taught themselves using Amazon’s Lumberyard resources!

As we move forwards, we are confident you will see great benefits from our partnership.  Amazon will bring new features to Lumberyard to assist in creating online persistent games, adding great support for their products like Twitch (which we use extensively) and of course investing heavily in engine research and development for years to come.  We could not find a more stable and reliable engine partner than Amazon, so with this partnership we are sure we have secured the future development and continuing technical innovation for Star Citizen.

Star Citizen Switches Engines

Over at wccftech, Adrian Ip contacted Erin Roberts Head of Foundry 42 UK about the Lumberyard “Switch”:

As you’ve (correctly) surmised, any suggestions that the engine switch would have a major impact on our development couldn’t be further from reality. Lumberyard is completely based on Cryengine, yet with a lot of improvements. As a consequence, we do not have to change the fundamental core engine at all which is why this change has had absolutely no effect on our development of Star Citizen.

The advantage of Lumberyard is that we get great ongoing support on the cloud / networking side from Amazon as well as great tools support while continuing uninterrupted development on what we have built up over the last 4 years. As we’ve tried to explain many times before, we have pretty much rewritten 50% of what we licensed 4 years ago now, even in core systems from CryEngine. What is great is that everything we have reworked, also now seamlessly integrates into Lumberyard, and the engine switch has not required any extra engineering time. We are actually very lucky that this opportunity presented itself to work with a powerful and committed company like Amazon that is investing heavily in its tech. This collaboration will effectively allow us to do more for our community going forward without costing us really anything in terms of engineering time or otherwise, so it is a win-win situation and good news all around.

Lumberyard for those interested…

On The 25th December Chris Roberts Posted a Forum Thread on the RSI site:

Lumberyard and StarEngine are both forks from exactly the SAME build of CryEngine.

We stopped taking new builds from Crytek towards the end of 2015. So did Amazon. Because of this the core of the engine that we use is the same one that Amazon use and the switch was painless (I think it took us a day or so of two engineers on the engine team). What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine. None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. All of our bespoke work from 64 bit precision, new rendering and planet tech, Item / Entity 2.0, Local Physics Grids, Zone System, Object Containers and so on were unaffected and remain unique to Star Citizen.

Going forward we will utilize the features of Lumberyard that make sense for Star Citizen. We made this choice as Amazon’s and our focus is aligned in building massively online games that utilize the power of cloud computing to deliver a richer online experience than would be possible with an old fashioned single server architecture (which is what CryNetwork is).

Looking at Crytek’s roadmap and Amazon’s we determined that Amazon was investing in the areas we were most interested in. They are a massive company that is making serious investments into Lumberyard and AWS to support next generation online gaming. Crytek doesn’t have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are. Because of this combined with the fact we weren’t taking new builds of CryEngine we decided that Amazon would be the best partner going forward for the future of Star Citizen.

Finally there was no ulterior motive in the timing of the announcement. The deal wasn’t fully finalized until after the release of 2.5 and we agreed with Amazon to announce the switch and partnership upon the release of 2.6, which would be the first release on Lumberyard and AWS. If you have been checking out our schedule updates you would know that we originally had hoped to release 2.6 at the beginning of December, not Friday the 23rd!

I hope this clears up some of the speculation I have seen. We are very excited to be partnered with Amazon and feel this move is a big win for Star Citizen and by extension everyone that has backed the project.

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BoredGamerUK

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I am BoredGamer a full time Youtuber from the UK, specializing in Star Citizen News, Tutorials, Guides, Tips, Ticks, Videos & Content as well as VR & Technology.
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  • img
    F-R-A-C-T-A-L
    Dec 26, 2016 @ 19:47 pm

    Great article, thanks for putting all the info in one spot.When Amazon first released Lumberyard I decided it was an old fork of Cryengine without any core engine developers from Crytek with a bunch of clunky AWS features bolted on.I've taken another look over the past few days and can see now that Amazon is serious about developing a truly great gaming engine with scalable multiplayer at it's core. A perfect technology partner for CIG, Amazon has a fuck ton of resources they are throwing at Lumberyard.Crytek never fully documented the engine and never really supported developers from the wider community, but Amazon looks like it's heading in the right direction making it a lot easier (see the Gems system for providing extra functionality to Lumberyard)Interestingly, Lumberyard also has MacOS support: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/latest/userguide/osx-intro.html so we may have a much wider and platform-agnostic player Star Citizen player base in the future (if Apple release hardware that can run it!).

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