Amazon launches web-based tool for developing VR and AR experiences

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On Monday, Amazon launched a browser-based tool called Sumerian that enables developers to put 3D models together in scenes for use in VR and AR applications.

Amazon launched the service during the AWS "Midnight Madness" pre-show event in Las Vegas. This is not a simple 3D content creation tool like Microsoft's Paint 3D or Google's Poly, it is a whole suite of tools and services with which one can build multi-platform experiences that run on hardware like the Oculus, HTC Vive, and iOS devices using WebVR compatible browsers and Android devices using ARCore.

Experiences built in Sumerian aren't confined to a single platform, the post said. Sumerian is now available in preview.

The move comes at a time when companies across a range of industries are showing huge interest in AR and VR technologies. That engine is widely used among AR and VR developers, and providing a bridge between Unity and Sumerian could help attract developers.

Amazon Sumerian will let any developer create "a realistic, interactive VR or AP application" in just a few hours, according to Marco Argenti, VP of technology at AWS.

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Sumerian includes a web-based editor, a scripting library, and an asset library to make it easier for developers to build experiences that could help with corporate training, field service, and more. It includes an object library full of models that people can put to use, as well as support for importing assets from FBX and OBJ files.

Object Library: a library of pre-built objects and templates. 3D objects (e.g. furniture, buildings, and natural objects) and characters can be place into into "scenes" (e.g. rooms, office environments, and landscapes).

It's created to eliminate the need for specialized tools for tasks like 3D modeling, environmental design, animation, lighting effects, and audio editing, as well as the additional step of adapting AR and VR applications for different hardware platforms.

"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", he continues. As more developers look to support AR and VR, and platform owners continue to expand what devices can do, Sumerian could help make AWS a key home for developing the applications of the future.

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