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28 November 2017, 01:22 | Gina Pena
Amazon Sumerian Makes Developing Web-Based VR/AR Apps Easier
Amazon has announced a browser-based toolkit called Sumerian that the company hopes will make VR and AR development accessible to people without advanced coding or 3D rendering skills.
This news comes as one of the first announcements out of AWS re:Invent, the cloud provider's major conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Amazon, the VR and AR apps created in Amazon Sumerian will run in any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering.
Sumerian is designed to be straightforward enough for developers who are new to building 3D experiences, while retaining the power needed to create engaging content.
The new tool looks like it could be aiming to lure away developers from software like Unreal Engine and Unity which are used to make the majority of VR and AR apps now available. Hardware including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and iOS devices support the content created with Sumerian. That engine is widely used among AR and VR developers, and providing a bridge between Unity and Sumerian could help attract developers. Sumerian includes an object library of pre-built assets and templates, but users can also upload their own 3D assets to use as well. Developers can also use the platform to create their own objects and scenes.
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Amazon writes, "With Amazon Sumerian's editor, developers can build realistic virtual environments, populate them with 3D objects and animated characters, and script how they interact with each other and the application's users". From there, they can drag and drop a pre-built asset, such as a room or a piece of furniture. If you find what you're looking for, you can view it in 3D and download it to use in your app.
A web-based editor for constructing 3D scenes, importing assets, scripting interactions and special effects, with cross-platform publishing. "But, customers are daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialised skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application", said Marco Argenti, VP of technology at Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Sumerian is free to use, but it's built on AWS; that means you need an existing AWS account and you'll be charged for services related to that platform if you use more than is allotted to a free account.
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