In case of a real zombie attack, game developers could be our last hope. And if that happens, Amazon wants them to know that they have permission to use the company's new free gaming engine to save civilization.
Amazon just introduced the beta version of Lumberyard, a cross-platform, 3-D engine for developing high-quality games. Hobbyists, students, and indie developers are invited to create realistic characters and real-time effects using tools that tend to be the domain of large studios with massive budgts.
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The engine is notably free although standard Web-hosting service fees still apply. Deploying and operating the games through Amazon GameLift also costs $1.50 per 1,000 users.
The long, detailed service terms for Amazon's Web-hosting service include one for the Lumberyard Engine under number 57.10 that tells developers they can't use the game engine for life-critical or safety-critical systems. Standard stuff about not using it for air traffic control or live military combat. However, all bets are off if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a successor body certifies a zombie outbreak.
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While the section doesn't actually use the word zombie, Amazon calls it "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."
At that point, game developers are welcome to use Lumberyard - and anything else they've got - to save the world.
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As funny and unlikely as this all sounds, the CDC memorably used the possibility of a zombie apocalypse as an interesting way to get Americans thinking about emergency preparedness. They even shared teachable moments in their Walking Dead Season One recap.
Walking dead or no, I'd like to think game developers would deploy their skills for good should things really devolve. Just use your brains.