Beginning with Alpha 2.6, Star Citizen is running on Amazon Lumberyard. Amazon Lumberyard is a game engine developed by Amazon and integrated with Amazon Web Services and Twitch. For a title beleaguered with criticism about content delays, the decision to switch engines may seem like a terrible move, and it probably would be. However, Star Citizen hasn’t technically switched engines, they’ve just switched to a different branch of CryEngine 3.8.
Before Alpha 2.6 Star Citizen ran on an in-house modified version of CryEngine 3.8 dubbed “Star Engine.” Amazon Lumberyard also happens to run on a branch of CryEngine 3.8 but offers a whole host of benefits for a developer trying to run a persistent, huge online world like Cloud Imperium Games is. According to Erin Roberts, Head of Foundry 42, the transition to Amazon Lumberyard took very little work in this communication with wccftech:
Thanks for getting in touch. As you’ve (correctly) surmised, any suggestions that the engine switch would have a major impact on our development couldn’t be further from reality. Lumberyard is completely based on Cryengine, yet with a lot of improvements. As a consequence, we do not have to change the fundamental core engine at all which is why this change has had absolutely no effect on our development of Star Citizen.
The advantage of Lumberyard is that we get great ongoing support on the cloud / networking side from Amazon as well as great tools support while continuing uninterrupted development on what we have built up over the last 4 years. As we’ve tried to explain many times before, we have pretty much rewritten 50% of what we licensed 4 years ago now, even in core systems from Cryengine. What is great is that everything we have reworked, also now seamlessly integrates into Lumberyard, and the engine switch has not required any extra engineering time. We are actually very lucky that this opportunity presented itself to work with a powerful and committed company like Amazon that is investing heavily in its tech. This collaboration will effectively allow us to do more for our community going forward without costing us really anything in terms of engineering time or otherwise, so it is a win-win situation and good news all around.
I’m all for criticism where criticism is due, but the facts seem to spell out that Cloud Imperium Games more than likely accelerated the development of Star Citizen by porting it to Amazon Lumberyard instead of hampering it. With AWS scalable cloud servers, and the partnership with a huge name in networking, Star Citizen’s network infrastructure just got a lot better.