AWS Lumberyard – a developer’s journey part 2

Installation and first impressions

Lumberyard – first impressions

It’s a big download at 7GB. On the website are a good set of examples, including videos and source code, lots of documentation and an active community for support.

This is beta software and is constanting developing – a new major release (1.11) has been released since I first installed it (last month). The reason I know this is that the tutorial on the web doesn’t match the assets I have installed!

After installation, “First time asset processing – may take a minute” and the asset processor runs. This take closer to 10 minutes before Lumberyard opens and it is still processing 2500+ objects in the background.

It comes with a startergame demo project. Each level relates to an on-line tutorial. So in at the deep end. Let’s see what the final game looks like.

The asset processor is still working!
The asset processor is still working!

And whoa, pretty! I’m guessing that the asset processor needs to finish its job and convert all the textures and meshes into things you can edit!

Lumberyard has finished processing.
Lumberyard has finished processing.

I’ve given it a break for an hour and let the asset processor do its stuff. Re-rerunning the game shows a pretty looking spaceship world. You can move about using the mouse and keyboard, walk into things, jump around, the audio and lighting effects change as you move and you can fire a laser at things.

This shows a number of things I need:
1) A mouse! You can’t edit in 3D with a trackpad!

2) Planning – you really need to work out what the objectives are, how the terrain will help or hinder those objectives, a visual style, a map of where things are, how the user will interact with the world (keyboard, mouse, headup display, user interface) amongst other things. I tend to dive in at the detail level first – so this might be a challenge!

3) Some reasonable graphical creation ability and 3D modelling skills. All the demos are done by top quality graphics artists and modellers – so I need to set my expectation of the outputs a lot lower! The demo comes with hundreds of pre-built assets which can be rapidly used to build new levels. That said I do have some skills in these fields, and there are a lot of 3D libraries where you can get assets.

4) The program is big and very powerful, with many different things that can be created, grass, terrain, people, animations, smoke, collisions, physics, water, lighting, scripting and many more. You probably need a team of specialists to create anything reasonable.

5) Time. To create anything will require time.
6) Probably a better computer! Apparently I’m getting about 7FPS (frames per second). 10 is normally the minimum for animation and 25+ for smooth. Although to be fair this is a highly detailed, animated world. My outputs will be considerably less complex to render.

Back to the tutorials. Clicking on help / tutorials takes me to a different set? In fact these ones appear to be the ones for the previous version! The current tutorial files are here:

I’ve gone through the first one on orientation – nothing surprising for me in there. Entities are the objects in the level, asset browser to find new shapes, properties panel and gizmos to move and scale.

Building my first level.

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