Amazon released a brand new game engine yesterday. Unfortunate deforestational connotations aside, Lumberyard reads like a Good Thing: free, Twitch-integrated and by all appearances very capable. Naturally, there are limits to its use: developers are obliged to use Amazon’s Web Services if they’re in need of third-party servers, and a clause in the engine’s terms prevents its use in safety-critical systems like medical equipment, air traffic control, manned spacecraft or nuclear facilities.
However! Never one to consciously contribute to the downfall of civilisation, Amazon are prepared to waive that last clause in the event of an outbreak that finds the dead rising as carriers of a deadly viral infection.
Looking to simulate a similar eventuality? One of the best zombie games on PC should see you right.
That unlikely yet vivid scenario would clear Lumberyard developers to develop software for autonomous vehicles, aircraft and military systems connected to live combat, to name a smattering of examples. There are sensible precautions, of course: the pandemic would need to have been certified by the United States Centers for Diseases Control, or whoever the “successor body” is in this imagined broken society.
Here’s the precise wording of clause 57.10, buried at the bottom of the service terms for Amazon Web Services:
“This restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.”
You can’t fault them for clarity. Lumberyard’s other possibilities are less colourful but equally explicit: Amazon intend to make their money by lending Web Services like servers to the engine’s developers, and - in the final evolutionary step of Twitch Plays Pokémon - allow for in-game functions to be typed directly into Twitch chat.
Lumberyard’s first projects are in development at Amazon Game Studios right now. Whether they extend to emergency software designed for use against the undead, we can’t say.