Amazon’s ‘Sumerian’ Tool Simplifies Web-Based VR Development

A fully-functional VR website is just a click-and-drag away!

We’ve talked about the importance of WebVR before, highlighting the massive impact it could potentially have in terms of merging VR with the web. We’ve seen multiple high profile browsers already jump aboard the bandwagon such as Firefox and Chrome, clear indicators of the exciting future soon to come.

However unlike conventional VR & AR development, some companies don’t necessarily believe the creation of these immersive sites should be reserved to just industry professionals or proficient coders. As this exciting new medium begins to expand, everyone should have the opportunity to contribute to its growth. And thanks to Amazon’s new web-based VR app development tool, everyone will.

Announced at Amazon’s annual AWS re:invent, Sumerian editor utilizes simplified drag-and-drop mechanics, which allows you to easily create 3D worlds. Fill them with various characters and objects, then direct how they interact with the user as well as one another using a visual scripting tool. Sumerian also includes a built-in library of pre-existing objects and scenes hosted via Amazon’s AWS cloud. Of course if you’d like to include various other 3rd party models you can import objects from popular 3D model sites such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid. You can even use the tool to create your own!

Not simple enough for you? Ok, how about this: Amazon’s Sumerian editor is 100% web-based, which mean there’s no download required. You’ll simply boot up any WebVR or WebGL-supported browser such as Mozilla Firefox, Chrome for Android, Samsung Internet, Opera developer version, Oculus Carmel or Microsoft Edge and get to work. Amazon is even including some of its AI infrastructure, Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly, giving digital objects or characters automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech capabilities and natural language understanding.

“Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses—from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences. 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,” stated Marco Argenti, Vice President of Technology at AWS. “With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”

Amazon is dishing out Sumerian to developers now for free, although you will still be responsible for the cost of  extended 3D asset storage (should you choose to import more to AWS) as well as the volume of traffic created by your web-based VR world.

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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