The May 2018 beta release of Amazon Lumberyard has been pushed to their website. This version brings a long-standing feature request to fruition: Visual Studio 2017.

This is particularly important for someone looking to try out Lumberyard. Previously, if the user installed Visual Studio 2017, they would need to uninstall it, run a post-install clean-up script from a Microsoft GitHub account, install Visual Studio 2015, then install Visual Studio 2017 to get it to run. Yup, Visual Studio 2017 needed to be installed after Visual Studio 2015, and the standard Visual Studio uninstaller wouldn’t correct the broken state (at least on my machine when I attempted it a few times). This is a large, annoying burden for someone who just happened to accidentally install Visual Studio 2017 for some other project.

Now you should be able to just use Visual Studio 2017.

In terms of actual rendering features, the two main ones are Wind Volume and Sky Cloud components. These are additions to Amazon’s Entity Component System that give the ability to blow objects around, including vegetation, as well as create several types of clouds, including volumetric ones.

As always, Amazon Lumberyard is free. Completely free. The catch is that you’ll need to use Amazon Web Services for your servers (unless you roll you own servers) if you have any online element, such as multiplayer, online leaderboards, and so forth.