Amazon Sumerian Aims to Make VR, AR App Creation a Breeze

Have an awesome idea for a virtual or augmented reality app? Amazon wants to help you bring it to life.

Amazon Sumerian is designed to help anyone become an AR and VR app developer. It lets you create, edit, and publish multi-platform 3D experiences for hardware like the Oculus Rift , HTC Vive , and iOS devices right from your browser. Support for Android devices is "coming soon," Amazon Web Services Technical Evangelist Tara Walker wrote in a blog post.

The service is currently in preview. It includes a web-based editor for constructing 3D scenes, a library of pre-built objects and templates, a selection of customizable 3D characters that can serve as narrators for your scene, an asset import tool that lets you upload your own 3D components, and more. Amazon said Sumerian is perfect for creating things like on-boarding or training courses for remote employees, scenes that help market or sell a product, or scenes with a virtual concierge that can greet users and answer common questions.

Once you're done creating a scene, it will be stored in the cloud and have a unique URL, which you can use to access it. You can run your scene on an AR/VR headset or a compatible mobile device using any browser that supports WebVR. (Check out a sample scene built using Sumerian.)

Best of all, "Amazon Sumerian doesn't require you to have 3D graphics or programming experience to build rich, interactive VR and AR scenes," Walker wrote. Sign up for the preview here. Note that you will need an AWS Account Number to apply.

The move comes after Google launched Poly, a platform that lets you find, view, and download free AR and VR objects and scenes—everything from a rocket ship to a sandcastle, piano, and pirate. If you find what you're looking for, you can view it in 3D and download it to use in your app. The library is fully integrated with Google's Tilt Brush and Blocks apps, letting you modify many of the objects to better fit your project.

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