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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 now available.

Sumerian lets developers build applications without requiring any specialised programming or 3D graphics expertise, and can be accessed from a web browser.

Once a developer has created a 3D scene, they can publish and run it on a number of platforms - including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and iOS.

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.

In their scene, the post said, developers can add-in a 3D character and customize them for gender, voice, and language.

The move taps into growing interest in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which involve the use of 3D environments or elements overlaid upon the user's surroundings for applications such as training simulations, virtual concierge services, online shopping or virtual property tours.

The software can also handle animation as well, so that developers are able to create 3D characters that can guide users through a scene by narrating scripts or answering questions.

Amazon launched the service during the AWS "Midnight Madness" pre-show event in Las Vegas.

Past year online retail giant Amazon launched its first foray into videogame development with its Lumberyard game engine, adding and improving support for virtual reality (VR) content creation in the following months. The Sumerian service includes an object library with 3D models along with assistance for importing assets from FBX and OBJ files. You can run your scene on an AR/VR headset or a compatible mobile device using any browser that supports WebVR. Developers can also use the platform to create their own objects and scenes. You'll just need to pay for the storage space your creations take up. The library is fully integrated with Google's Tilt Brush and Blocks apps, letting you modify numerous objects to better fit your project.

Given previous requirements to launch AR or VR apps, businesses have been "daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialized skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application", said Argenti.


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