Amazon today announced a new developer tool at its annual AWS re:Invent that aims to make creating web-based applications for VR/AR and traditional monitors even easier. Called Sumerian, the tool is capable of publishing 3D content to any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics rendering, including Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and iOS mobile devices.

Update (11/27/17): The list of WebVR-supported browsers has been updated to include stable versions of both Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

Amazon says Sumerian editor lets developers build “realistic virtual environments, populate them with 3D objects and animated characters, and script how they interact with each other and the application’s users.”

The tool is entirely web-based which, just like the VR/AR applications it can generate, means there’s no extra software to install. WebVR is integrated into major browsers including Chrome for Android, Oculus Carmel, Samsung Internet, Opera developer version, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

sample scene using Sumerian, image courtesy Amazon

Sumerian doesn’t require any coding skills to speak of, and includes a drag-and-drop interfaces along with a visual scripting tool to build the logic that controls how the objects and characters in the scenes behave and respond to actions.

Amazon is providing a library of pre-built scenes and objects, along with the ability to create your own objects, or download and import objects from 3D repositories such as Sketchfab or Turbosquid. Sumerian scenes are (of course) hosted on the company’s AWS cloud.

To help attract developers, Amazon is eliminating any upfront costs, although devs will still need to pay for the storage used for 3D assets and the volume of traffic generated to access the virtual scenes they create.

Interestingly, the company is also chumming the waters by integrating Sumerian with some its AI infrastructures—Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly—both of which will provide automatic speech recognition, natural language understanding, and text-to-speech capabilities to applications, meaning VR characters could respond to queries and interact naturally to some degree.

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“Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses—from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences. But, customers are 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 Marco Argenti, Vice President, Technology, AWS. “With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”

Amazon Sumerian is now available for preview. You can also check out a sample scene here.

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  • As a 3D developer who worked in ActiveX (Turntool etc) way back in the day to produce 3D training and simulation on the web, this news is great. Browser Plugins were the achilles heel in adoption so hopefully this solution will bring all that back to life again. I assume Safari will be supported too.

  • Note that Firefox already supported WebVR, no need to use Firefox Nightly.

    PS: http://aws.amazon.com/sumerian rather than http://aws.amazon.com/sumerian.

    • I give, this spot the difference game is a tough one. Or I am a complete pleb and missing the obvious :)

      • Lucid Dreams VR

        Ah. There is a trailing period in the second one (which is what the link in the article has), that is not just an end-of-sentence period. Definitely wasn’t obvious.

        • I looked at that but the period in the reply was not part of the url, it was an end of sentence. I should have looked at the article url too, shame on me for being lazy. :D

  • I’m rather impressed with the detailing of the sample. After inspecting it for a few minutes, I had to smile at the Amazon Echo placed prominently in front of the room’s presentation screen.

    • Shirley

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    • Elizabeth

      Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
      On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      fs302d:
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  • Michael

    I really like this, also ReactVR by Facebook looks nice.

  • It’s awesome, but the problem is that this means that everyone has to pay to use it. With Unity, I can experimenti with AR and VR completely for free. With Sumerian, I have to pay for AWS anyway.