If you haven’t heard, Jeff Bezos has recently surpassed a net worth of over $100 billion which makes him the richest man on Earth. He is a mogul of commerce and also the founder of Amazon which is currently one of the highest valued companies in the world. And if that wasn’t enough, he is looking to dominate the world of virtual reality as well by launching their first VR dev platform called Amazon Sumerian.
Announced at midnight tonight during the AWS re:Invent Midnight Madness kick-off event, Amazon announced this new platform for developers to easily build VR, AR, and 3D applications and run them on mobile devices, HMDs, digital signage, or web browsers.
With Amazon Sumerian’s editor, developers will be able to build realistic virtual environments, populate them with 3D objects and animated characters, and script how they interact with each other and the application user according to the company.
“Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses—from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences. But, customers are daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialized skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application,” said Marco Argenti, Vice President, Technology, AWS. “With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”
How it works
The VR and AR apps that are created in Amazon Sumerian will run in any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering which includes the Google Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and iOS mobile devices.
For people interested in the Amazon Sumerian can simply sign up on their page to access the AWS Management Console. There is no additional software that you have to install or upfront charges. Customers will only have to pay storage fees used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access the virtual scenes they create.
The Benefits of Amazon Sumerian
Amazon states that their Sumerian platform eliminates many of the pain-points that developers face today through traditional platforms.
Until now, creating realistic virtual environments, or “scenes,” required specialized skills and the use of multiple different tools for disciplines such as 3D modeling, environmental design, animation, lighting effects, audio editing, and more.
And then, once a VR or AR application is ready, developers must learn and implement unique specifications and deployment processes for each of the major hardware providers.
Amazon Sumerian solves these challenges by providing a web-based editor that developers can use to easily and quickly create professional-quality scenes, and a visual scripting tool to build the logic that controls how the objects and characters in the scenes behave and respond to actions.
Amazon Sumerian will also be able to use other AWS services such as Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, AWS Lambda, AWS IoT, and Amazon DynamoDB.
Amazon Sumerian features:
- Design immersive VR, AR, and 3D environments—Amazon Sumerian’s easy to use editor allows developers to drag and drop 3D objects (e.g. furniture, buildings, and natural objects) and characters into “scenes” (e.g. rooms, office environments, and landscapes). Developers can choose from Amazon Sumerian’s library of pre-built objects, download and import objects from third-party asset repositories such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid, or create and import their own objects. Amazon Sumerian also includes templates with pre-populated scenes.
- Easily create animated characters powered by AWS AI services—Developers can also use Amazon Sumerian to create animated 3D characters that can guide users through a scene by narrating scripts or answering questions. Amazon Sumerian is integrated with Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly, which provide automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU), and text-to-speech capabilities, so that Amazon Sumerian characters can understand and respond to users in lifelike conversations.
- Deploy applications to popular VR and AR hardware—Amazon Sumerian scenes run in any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering. Amazon Sumerian scenes are hosted in the AWS cloud and served from a publicly accessible endpoint, so that users can access them from anywhere.
Developers will be able to upload 3D assets from FBX and OBJ format 3D asset files. they will also support Unity projects in the near future.