Amazon Sumerian Is A Web-Based VR Programming Tool For AWS

Amazon Sumerian Is A Web-Based VR Programming Tool For AWS

Amazon Sumerian Is A Web-Based VR Programming Tool For AWS

Amazon's highly anticipated mixed-reality building service has officially been announced: Amazon Sumerian will allow enterprising entrepreneurs everywhere the ability to quickly build and host VR, AR or 3D apps online.

Amazon Sumerian can be used by developers to drag and drop 3D objects into scenes, such as offices or landscapes, to create VR, AR, and 3D environments.

This news comes as one of the first announcements out of AWS re:Invent, the cloud provider's major conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

AWS has launched a platform for developers to build AR, VR and 3D apps at speed. The Sumerian tools let customers create 3D characters, called "Hosts" (which, by the way, also is what the AI robots in HBO's "Westworld" are called), to narrate and guide users through immersive scenes.

However, Unity Labs EVP Sylvio Drouin told Ars a year ago that the Unity Labs team has focused heavily on making its own way for creatives to build VR worlds without advanced technical knowledge.

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Through Amazon Sumerian, developers will be able to build virtual environments for mobile devices, head-mounted displays, digital signage, and web browsers. According to Amazon, the main problem with AR- and VR-powered apps is that creating them requires expertise in using a wide range of tools, including things such as 3D modeling, environmental design, animation and audio editing.

Once users have built an experience in Sumerian, it can run on hardware such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and iPhone. Users can import their own 3D images of objects or "choose from Amazon Sumerian's library of pre-built objects, (or) download and import objects from third-party asset repositories". That's thanks to Amazon's existing speech recognition and natural language-processing tech-Lex and Polly, respectively. "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 of technology for AWS.

The browser-based tool is available in limited preview today. "For instance, we integrated Mapbox's points of interest and global terrain maps with Amazon Sumerian so data is delivered and rendered in real-time".

Sumerian, which is now in limited preview, is meant to be free to AWS users, with users paying only for storage for 3D assets and traffic to access applications.

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