Amazon Sumerian Helps Devs Create AI, VR And 3D Apps

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Amazon Sumerian is a purely online web-based development engine that features no software to install or upfront costs - customers pay only for the storage used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access the virtual scenes they create.

With virtual reality, people wear headsets like Facebook's Oculus Rift to immerse themselves in digital worlds. Support for Android devices is "coming soon", Amazon Web Services Technical Evangelist Tara Walker wrote in a blog post.

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The main interface for Sumerian is a dashboard available through AWS. Subscribers can embed their own objects, choose from a pre-loaded library, or use third-party offerings from repositories including Sketchfab and Turbosquid.

Amazon has launched a suite of tools that makes it quick and affordable for any business to create slick-looking 3D virtual reality and augmented reality apps.

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.

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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. That said, it is built on the WebGL JavaScript and WebVR JavaScript APIs, and it offers a JavaScript editor and scripting library.

But AR and VR experiences are still few and far between, not least because most developers lack the special skills needed to incorporate it into their applications.

Amazon's press release states specifically that "specialized skills and the use of multiple different tools for disciplines such as 3D modeling, environmental design animation, lighting effects, audio editing and more" will not be required to use Sumerian.

Amazon Sumerian uses a web-based editor that developers can use to create "professional-quality scenes", and a visual scripting tool to build the logic that controls how the objects and characters in the scenes interact and respond to actions.

AWS Sumerian is a new service that allows developers to build AR, VR, and 3D apps for a variety of platform such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. 3D objects (e.g. furniture, buildings, and natural objects) and characters can be place into into "scenes" (e.g. rooms, office environments, and landscapes).