Amazon Sumerian Aims to Make VR, AR App Creation a Breeze

Keith Wymbs AWS Elemental CMO

Keith Wymbs AWS Elemental CMO

For those pivoting to video, or others who are just getting started, Amazon Web Services released five new video tools built by AWS Elemental that make it easier to use cloud computing as the engine for video distribution.

Best of all, "Amazon Sumerian doesn't require you to have 3D graphics or programming experience to build rich, interactive VR and AR scenes", Walker wrote.

Amazon launched the project at midnight on Sunday at the launch of the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, which continues through this week.

"We now bring Mapbox location services to Amazon Sumerian, enabling users to integrate 3D maps and surfaces into their AR and VR applications and bring location-based experiences to life", said Alex Barth, vice president of business development at Mapbox. In any case, users of the toolkit can create animated characters that interact with the player or customer verbally.

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

In its description of the "immersive VR, AR and 3D environments", Amazon says the Sumerian editing tool will enable developers to "drag and drop 3D objects (e.g. furniture ...) into "scenes" (e.g. rooms, office environments and landscapes)".

Once users have built an experience in Sumerian, it can run on hardware such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and iPhone. Storage pricing for Sumerian 3D assets is 6 cents per gigabyte monthly, and the fees for the total volume of traffic generated by each scene is 38 cents per GB per month. It also allows anyone to import objects from third-party asset repositories such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid, or create and import their own objects.

The announcement blog post highlights the biggest benefit of this service: The fact that it's so readily available: You can check out the preview version of the service now on any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering. 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.

The Amazon Sumerian also assists with mapping services from Mapbox.

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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