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Star Citizen Development Discussion (Is Derek Smart Right?)

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SLU Aequitas

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2007
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For convenience, here's the official announcement regarding Lumberyard:
http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=32d8ef31243db6075c45571bd&id=d92114e762&e=c25bc4810c
Greetings Citizen.
I am happy to announce we have just released Alpha 2.6 of Star Citizen to all backers!

With Alpha 2.6 you can now enjoy: Star Marine, featuring a host of new FPS features; big improvements to Arena Commander; further improvements to characters and their animations; new locations and missions to try; 47 flyable ships, including 8 new ships (Herald, Hoplite, Caterpillar, 85X, Wildfire, Renegade, Valiant and Comet)!


I hope you will spend many hours enjoying all the content we’ve put into this build and meeting new friends and enemies in our expanding universe! To find out more about what it took on the development side to get the patch ready for release make sure to check out the retrospective included in the final Alpha 2.6 schedule report.



There is one other big announcement we would like to make with the release of 2.6. We are now basing Star Citizen and our custom technology development on Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine. Since the beginning of the project, we’ve had to make a huge number of changes to the CryENGINE code and tech to enable us to deliver Star Citizen. While the original CryENGINE had great strengths in many areas like rendering and cinematics the needs of our game were well beyond what came ‘out of the box’. So we have, over time, changed significant parts of the engine for our technology, such that only a baseline of the original engine truly remains. In the future we will continue to make significant changes to AI, Animation and Network code and systems.

When Amazon announced Lumberyard back in February 2016, we were immediately interested. While based on the same baseline technology as Star Citizen, Lumberyard is specifically designed for online games, utilizing the power of Amazon’s AWS Cloud Services and their Twitch streaming platform. Amazon’s focus aligns perfectly to ours as we’ve been making significant engineering investments into next generation online networking and cloud based servers. Making the transition to Lumberyard and AWS has been very easy and has not delayed any of our work, as broadly, the technology switch was a ‘like-for-like’ change, which is now complete.

As an added benefit Amazon AWS data centers are spread around the world from North America to South America, Europe to China to Asia Pacific, which will allow us to better support the many backers across the globe as we scale up Star Citizen.

Finally, Amazon has made Lumberyard freely available for anyone building their own game. That means that technically-inclined members of the community can have a better view 'under the hood' of our game than ever before. It's also a great path for anyone interested in game development professionally; I fully anticipate that in the coming year we will be hiring programmers who have taught themselves using Amazon's Lumberyard resources!

As we move forwards, we are confident you will see great benefits from our partnership. Amazon will bring new features to Lumberyard to assist in creating online persistent games, adding great support for their products like Twitch (which we use extensively) and of course investing heavily in engine research and development for years to come. We could not find a more stable and reliable engine partner than Amazon, so with this partnership we are sure we have secured the future development and continuing technical innovation for Star Citizen.

With that I would like encourage everyone to download and play Alpha 2.6. It is a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing you in the ‘verse!

Happy Holidays!
For even further convenience for you J:
Making the transition to Lumberyard and AWS has been very easy and has not delayed any of our work, as broadly, the technology switch was a ‘like-for-like’ change, which is now complete.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,402
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sure. Everything has always been smooth. Thats why they are 2 years behind schedule. in fact, development didnt even start until december of 2016.
 

SLU Aequitas

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2007
1,252
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sure. Everything has always been smooth. Thats why they are 2 years behind schedule. in fact, development didnt even start until december of 2016.
So...what evidence do you have again? Oh, none? I mean, making things up is cool, let me know when you come up with actual evidence that the transition to Lumberyard set them back so much, thanks!

And furthermore.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,402
3,942
126
um they were supposed to release in 2014. Thats a fact you can hang your hat on.
 

SLU Aequitas

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2007
1,252
26
91
Star Citizen's kickstarter end date. Obvious troll is obvious.

But hey, still waiting on actual evidence. You don't have any, but we'll wait. :)




Enough with calling people trolls.


esquared
Anandtech Forum Director
 
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JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,402
3,942
126
evidence is the new blocker word when the reality distortion field is breaking up
 

Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
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evidence is the new blocker word when the reality distortion field is breaking up
Your soothsayer is off the rails at this point.

https://www.reddit.com/r/DerekSmart/comments/5k4m3o/derek_smart_on_twitterjust_wait_until_chris/dbl888f

Hey Derek, working as an escalation engineer in Seattle....* cough hmm who might I work for I wonder?* I'd appreciate you not start lying about us as well! Thanks!

from AWS "Lumberyard introduces a new robust and flexible networking subsystem, GridMate, designed for efficient bandwidth usage and low-latency communications. You can easily synchronize objects over the network with GridMate’s replica framework. GridMate’s session management integrates with major online console services and lets you handle peer to peer and client server topologies with host migration." now WHY in the world would this be useful hmm?

I know *exactly* what he read, and yes, you shouldn't run MMO's on Generic EC2 instances with ephemeral storage because if the instance drops, anything there is lost. But, now stick with me here Derek, read slowly if needed; They can use EC2 instances with EBS storage, so if an instance drops a new one spins up, automatically reads from the EBS the old one was using, and there isn't any real downtime. They can scale up and down based on number of players using autoscaling, AWS implemented or roll their own. Having full source code for Lumberyard lets them do whatever they want. I know most of that is beyond your understanding, but I tried to dumb it down for you as much as I could.

And I promise you, AWS would not have ink'd a deal at ALL with CIG if they thought their services wouldn't work for them. AWS does NOT like unhappy customers. At. All. Its a bigger headache than its worth, and they aren't hurting for money.
 

Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
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Lumberyard is an engine. It's just CryEngine with custom creation tools (which you don't have to use) and integration into AWS out of the box. CIG is already using CryEngine, so they will skip using Amazon's tools (they have developed their own anyway) and dropped the integrated AWS into their work. The majority of their code is the exact same as it was before the switch (or iterated on since they began the switch, but not because of the engine switch).

So, no, they haven't really switched engines. What they've really done is add AWS to their StarEngine and partnered with a more reliable company. As the CIG dev I quoted before said, they can handle the base CryEngine code perfectly well themselves. They now have access to Amazon's engineers to help with the cloud architecture code as well as networking.

Put another way, Lumberyard is just CryEngine with a couple new parts, Amazon's support, and a new sticker slapped on it.
 

SLU Aequitas

Golden Member
Jul 13, 2007
1,252
26
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So if i understand correctly cig uses the same engine like lumberjack? what am I missing? -.-

And here they say cig switched engines...
http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-switches-from-cryengine-to-amazons-lumberyard/?utm_content=buffer40e6a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=buffer_pcgamerfb
Sabre said it best, but to add on, Lumberyard is a full engine based off of Cryengine 3.7/3.8 that developers could choose to create their game, much the same as choosing the Unreal or Frostbite engines. Since CIG has already created Star Engine over a 3.7 base (with some 3.8 features as stated before), they've essentially brought in certain features from Lumberyard (again, highlights were AWS integration and Twitch integration) and incorporated them into their game engine.

Merry Christmas everyone :)
 
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Sabrewings

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https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/364217/lumberyard-for-those-interested/p1

Edit: Here's the text for those who don't want to open the RSI forums.

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.

Going forward we will utilize the features of Lumberyard that make sense for Star Citizen. We made this choice as Amazon's and our focus is aligned in building massively online games that utilize the power of cloud computing to deliver a richer online experience than would be possible with an old fashioned single server architecture (which is what CryNetwork is).

Looking at Crytek's roadmap and Amazon's we determined that Amazon was investing in the areas we were most interested in. They are a massive company that is making serious investments into Lumberyard and AWS to support next generation online gaming. Crytek doesn't have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are. Because of this combined with the fact we weren't taking new builds of CryEngine we decided that Amazon would be the best partner going forward for the future of Star Citizen.

Finally there was no ulterior motive in the timing of the announcement. 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, which would be the first release on Lumberyard and AWS. If you have been checking out our schedule updates you would know that we originally had hoped to release 2.6 at the beginning of December, not Friday the 23rd!

I hope this clears up some of the speculation I have seen. We are very excited to be partnered with Amazon and feel this move is a big win for Star Citizen and by extension everyone that has backed the project.

p.s. I wont be replying to this as it is Christmas and I am meant to be enjoying a bit of time off with my family (and playing some games - you may see me pop into a Star Marine or AC match or two!)

p.p.s Happy Holidays All!
 
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JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,402
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starengine had 50% new code created over 4 years and magically all that doesnt matter anymore. Just 3 days ago you all were talking about how starengine could be licensed because of how custom it was and all the ground breaking stuff it does (it didnt. It was a broken pos). And now its no big deal to fold it and its 50% custom code into lumberyard. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
 
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Sabrewings

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Jun 27, 2015
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starengine had 50% new code created over 4 years and magically all that doesnt matter anymore. Just 3 days ago you all were talking about how starengine could be licensed because of how custom it was and all the ground breaking stuff it does (it didnt. It was a broken pos). And now its no big deal to fold it and its 50% custom code into lumberyard. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
It's still running on CryEngine, just like Lumberyard. Copy over the custom code, compile it and check for errors.

It's like if I threw a custom engine in a Chevy Silverado. I decide to move it over to a GMC Sierra. It's pretty much the same truck, so everything carries over without having to re-engineer the modifications. Actually, it's more like I really prefer the GMC's steering wheel, so I take it out of the GMC and put it in the Chevy.

All they did was take the parts they like of Lumberyard (twitch integration, AWS) and pasted it into StarEngine. It's still the same engine it was before.

You're trying really hard to make this out to be a big issue. It's already running with the new components so clearly it wasn't hard.
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
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One thing I do find a bit odd about this engine talk is, for all the people working on this, combined with the massive amount of money they've spent on it (as well as the years spent) you'd think they would have already done this work. I can see them using Lumberyard if it's better than what they've developed in house (which I'm having a hard time believing this was on the to do list all these years and hadn't been touched) but that still means they've dropped stuff.. which means they've wasted money and cycles trying to get something to work. The flip on this is if it matters.. if it's minor stuff that was made but needed to be fixed up and LY does it better, I can see it. If it's major stuff, then they should admit they screwed it up. It really goes back to what they decided LY was better for. The dev really didn't answer what was changed for it... One thing that really disturbed me in the dev's comments was "Crytek doesn't have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are." at $140 million.. wtf kind of resources are we talking about here?
 

Sabrewings

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Jun 27, 2015
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One thing I do find a bit odd about this engine talk is, for all the people working on this, combined with the massive amount of money they've spent on it (as well as the years spent) you'd think they would have already done this work. I can see them using Lumberyard if it's better than what they've developed in house (which I'm having a hard time believing this was on the to do list all these years and hadn't been touched) but that still means they've dropped stuff..
This is why saying "they switched engines" inaccurately describes what has happened. I'll break it down. StarEngine was based off CryEngine 3.7 with some cherry picked 3.8 updates. Lumberyard is also based off CryEngine 3.7 with some custom tools, a few updates, and integration to things like Amazon Web Services. StarEngine has been using Google cloud services (competing with AWS) for a while now (to a pretty decent expense).

Aside from price Google's could services have a large disadvantage if you want to build your globally available online video game - servers that are only physically based in the US. AWS has global server clusters with high speed datalinks between them, bypassing some country's issues with internet connectivity (Australia for example). AWS will allow worldwide players to connect to a server semi-locally and use AWS's high speed dedicated links to interconnect with the rest of the servers that will be running CIG's gameplay server software. Currently non-US players (especially those across the Pacific) have not so great latencies due to having to connect with US based servers at Google.

So, it's nothing that their engine wasn't "doing" before that they are throwing out. By adding Lumberyard's AWS integration to StarEngine, they now have access to those resources. They also have engineers at Amazon that will be helping them migrate their gameplay servers (already done) and make future improvements as SC evolves. AWS is free for smaller projects and more competitively priced than Google on larger projects. It's also almost a certainty that CIG got a good deal on using AWS for slapping "Lumberyard" on their splash screen.

I feel I've had to say this next sentence a lot on this subject, but I'll say it again for clarity: They have not switched engines. All of the work they did before is still there. The only bits that have been "thrown out" would be how they were interfacing with Google's could services since the different companies utilize different APIs and architectures. They have taken the AWS integration code (which is a module within CryEngine's structure) and dropped it in place of what they had before for interfacing with Google. I'm sure there's an interfacing module between the two to do any API translation required, but it's unlikely since AWS already uses CryEngine for Lumberyard and would be used to its built in calls.

Instead of switching engines, they changed web services providers. Lumberyard has other components they're interested in as well, supposedly integrated Twitch support.

I hope that was clear. Nothing was thrown away except Google.

One thing that really disturbed me in the dev's comments was "Crytek doesn't have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are." at $140 million.. wtf kind of resources are we talking about here?
Engineers helping design scalable server software to work on a complex cloud infrastructure. Amazon has invested a lot in that arena (something Crytek never did, so CIG has been on their own thus far; also Amazon has spent more than CIG have taken in on developing AWS, around 2400 employees and billions spent). Their expertise will be invaluable to what CIG are trying to do. AWS has pretty good off-the-shelf cloud server software, but it's not intended to do what CIG are building. Amazon's engineers will be helping with that side of it (server side) while CIG continue to manage the core CryEngine code they've been working with and building for years.
 
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JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,402
3,942
126
It's still running on CryEngine, just like Lumberyard. Copy over the custom code, compile it and check for errors.

It's like if I threw a custom engine in a Chevy Silverado. I decide to move it over to a GMC Sierra. It's pretty much the same truck, so everything carries over without having to re-engineer the modifications. Actually, it's more like I really prefer the GMC's steering wheel, so I take it out of the GMC and put it in the Chevy.

All they did was take the parts they like of Lumberyard (twitch integration, AWS) and pasted it into StarEngine. It's still the same engine it was before.

You're trying really hard to make this out to be a big issue. It's already running with the new components so clearly it wasn't hard.
You really have no evidence that any of what you wrote is really what happened. Like you cant say that cut and pasting star engine into lumberyard is possible.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,402
3,942
126
This is why saying "they switched engines" inaccurately describes what has happened. I'll break it down. StarEngine was based off CryEngine 3.7 with some cherry picked 3.8 updates. Lumberyard is also based off CryEngine 3.7 with some custom tools, a few updates, and integration to things like Amazon Web Services. StarEngine has been using Google cloud services (competing with AWS) for a while now (to a pretty decent expense).

Aside from price Google's could services have a large disadvantage if you want to build your globally available online video game - servers that are only physically based in the US. AWS has global server clusters with high speed datalinks between them, bypassing some country's issues with internet connectivity (Australia for example). AWS will allow worldwide players to connect to a server semi-locally and use AWS's high speed dedicated links to interconnect with the rest of the servers that will be running CIG's gameplay server software. Currently non-US players (especially those across the Pacific) have not so great latencies due to having to connect with US based servers at Google.

So, it's nothing that their engine wasn't "doing" before that they are throwing out. By adding Lumberyard's AWS integration to StarEngine, they now have access to those resources. They also have engineers at Amazon that will be helping them migrate their gameplay servers (already done) and make future improvements as SC evolves. AWS is free for smaller projects and more competitively priced than Google on larger projects. It's also almost a certainty that CIG got a good deal on using AWS for slapping "Lumberyard" on their splash screen.

I feel I've had to say this next sentence a lot on this subject, but I'll say it again for clarity: They have not switched engines. All of the work they did before is still there. The only bits that have been "thrown out" would be how they were interfacing with Google's could services since the different companies utilize different APIs and architectures. They have taken the AWS integration code (which is a module within CryEngine's structure) and dropped it in place of what they had before for interfacing with Google. I'm sure there's an interfacing module between the two to do any API translation required, but it's unlikely since AWS already uses CryEngine for Lumberyard and would be used to its built in calls.

Instead of switching engines, they changed web services providers. Lumberyard has other components they're interested in as well, supposedly integrated Twitch support.

I hope that was clear. Nothing was thrown away except Google.



Engineers helping design scalable server software to work on a complex cloud infrastructure. Amazon has invested a lot in that arena (something Crytek never did, so CIG has been on their own thus far; also Amazon has spent more than CIG have taken in on developing AWS, around 2400 employees and billions spent). Their expertise will be invaluable to what CIG are trying to do. AWS has pretty good off-the-shelf cloud server software, but it's not intended to do what CIG are building. Amazon's engineers will be helping with that side of it (server side) while CIG continue to manage the core CryEngine code they've been working with and building for years.

Where is all this information coming from? It sounds like a bunch of reddit dreamers dreamed up game development and poof everything is great again.
 

Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
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You really have no evidence that any of what you wrote is really what happened. Like you cant say that cut and pasting star engine into lumberyard is possible.
Aside from what CR says on RSI and CIG devs say on Reddit as well as my experience with CryEngine and Lumberyard, no proof at all. What proof do you have otherwise?

Where is all this information coming from? It sounds like a bunch of reddit dreamers dreamed up game development and poof everything is great again.
See above.

Edit: Ok, want more specifics? From Ben Parry, a former Frontier dev now working for CIG in the UK.

 
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