Just before the holiday weekend, Cloud Imperium announced that both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are using Lumberyard, Amazon’s robust game engine, and in fact have done so for “more than a year.” Lumberyard’s only been public knowledge for about 10 months and change, and Star Citizen’s devs haven’t mentioned it at all, which got players buzzing about transparency along the way, to say nothing of the folks puzzling over the CryEngine base Star Citizen was originally said to be using.
Yesterday, Chris Roberts addressed both issues. First, he says, “Lumberyard and StarEngine are both forks from exactly the SAME build of CryEngine.”
“We stopped taking new builds from Crytek towards the end of 2015. So did Amazon. Because of this the core of the engine that we use is the same one that Amazon use and the switch was painless (I think it took us a day or so of two engineers on the engine team). What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine. None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. All of our bespoke work from 64 bit precision, new rendering and planet tech, Item / Entity 2.0, Local Physics Grids, Zone System, Object Containers and so on were unaffected and remain unique to Star Citizen.”
Amazon, he said, is a “massive company that is making serious investments into Lumberyard and AWS to support next generation online gaming” — unlike Crytek.
Why wait so long to tell the backers? Roberts says there was “no ulterior motive in the timing,” just the issue that “the deal wasn’t fully finalized until after the release of 2.5 and we agreed with Amazon to announce the switch and partnership upon the release of 2.6.”