Creating An MMORPG is a very long and difficult process. It is arguably one of the most expensive types of games to create, as it requires developing a client, a back end server, and writing the proper network code to allow both to communicate, while still maintaining proper security. On top of development costs, MMORPGs are also expensive to maintain, as they require maintaining infrastructure & servers, as well as customer support for players.
Amazon seeks to reduce the barrier of creating online games by providing an engine for creating multiplayer games with ease, as well as utilizing their AWS service for hosting servers. This allows developers to focus on designing & building their game, rather than worrying about the challenges of creating an MMORPG engine, and maintaining the infrastructure for hosting a game that will be played by millions of players.
Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine is built off of technology from Cryengine, Double Helix, and Twitch. Lumberyard is cross platform, meaning developers can simultaneously develop for both PC and consoles. PC, Xbox One, and PS4 are currently supported, with Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android coming soon. Lumberyard is currently in its beta stage.
Amazon has released the source code for Lumberyard, which allows you to tweak the code if necessary, if their code lacks any functionality you deem necessary, in order to build your game.
According to Amazon, the only fees involved would be if you choose to host servers through them, where standard AWS(Amazon’s Cloud Computing Service) fees apply. Lumberyard is integrated with Amazon Gamelift, a pay as you go service for hosting game servers, and dynamically scaling their capacity as needed. This can prove very useful for MMORPGs, as you’ll likely need increased capacity during launch or after major updates, but may not want to invest in such capacity when the game doesn’t demand it. Lumberyard can also be used to create single player games. For information, visit the official source at http://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/
Using Lumberyard to Create Sandbox MMORPGs as an Indie Developer
Sandbox MMORPGs require less development time than theme park MMORPGs to create, because players are effectively the content. In a sandbox MMORPG, less time needs to be spent creating quests, large game worlds with detailed cities, and other time-consuming projects, because in a sandbox game, the players create them.
Historically, this does not mean creating a sandbox MMORPG is easy. Existing MMORPG engines tend to be very geared towards themepark MMOs, and lack the functionality needed to create a dynamic, changing game world. For this reason, those hoping to create sandbox MMORPGs still have to create a game client and server from the ground up, which is very expensive and time consuming.
Amazon’s Lumberyard, on the other hand, is free, highly customize-able(due to released source code), AAA quality, and is integrated with their hosting service, making it easy to handle infrastructure. This means that talented developers with limited budgets may be able to create a quality sandbox MMORPG, due to the reduced barrier of entry.