Lumberyard, Amazon's free-to-use triple-A game engine, just entered beta 1.5, adding over 200 improvements, features and fixes.
It'll be interesting to see if we start getting Lumberyard titles in our list of upcoming PC games.
First up, a bunch of in-preview systems have been updated. The particle editor, for example, now includes custom attribute panels that will let you drag and drop the attributes you most use from a UI panel, setting it up for easy re-use.
Developers also now have finite control over optimising the particle editor's visual effects based on camera distance, using a bit of smoke and mirrors to increase performance.
Elsewhere, the component entity system now provides a modular and more intuitive method for constructing game and engine elements, so developers can build faster and create more complex behaviours. According to the update, "the component entity system employs reflection, serialisation, and messaging using the Lumberyard event bus (EBus) to automatically expose features of components to designers - no additional engineering required."
As for completely new features, the Lumberyard asset builder SDK makes its debut in beta 1.5. "Many of our customers build custom tools that require specialised assets types," say Amazon. "Often times, these tools help developers differentiate their games, or enable their team of experts to work faster. For example, one developer we talked to uses .EPS from Adobe Illustrator to quickly generate sidescroller levels.
"This SDK enables you to use the asset processor to track, reload, automatically rebuild, and process any assets your game or in-house tools require."
There's a bunch of other stuff, along with much more detail, in the official post.
Next week sees the first Lumberyard title, Breakaway, unveiled from Amazon Game Studios.