Amazon’s Sumerian Is A Web-Based Development Service For VR/AR Apps

by Ian Hamilton • November 27th, 2017

Amazon revealed its new Web-based AR and VR editor called Sumerian.

The new tool looks like it could be aiming to lure away developers from software like Unreal Engine and Unity which are used to make the majority of VR and AR apps currently available.  Sumerian requires no downloading of software — it is entirely Web-based — and “customers pay only for the storage used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access the virtual scenes they create.”

Apps created in Sumerian are said to work in “any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering, including Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and iOS mobile devices.” Sumerian also takes a note from Unreal’s Blueprints interface, allowing creators with no coding experience to use a visual scripting tool to put together all the logic needed to make the world interactive.

The service includes a library of pre-built objects to use but according to Amazon you can also use assets from Sketchfab or Turbosquid. Google also recently launched Poly, its 3D object library. Poly combined with VR creation tools Tilt Brush and Blocks could let creators build objects and environments intuitively in VR and then use those creations in Sumerian.

Sumerian is also said to be integrated with Lex and Polly, two Amazon services “which provide automatic speech recognition (ASR), natural language understanding (NLU), and text-to-speech capabilities, so that Amazon Sumerian characters can understand and respond to users in lifelike conversations.”

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