A couple of days back Amazon unleashed Lumberyard – a free game engine and development tool locked into Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to the AWS Service Terms, Lumberyard’s “engine, integrated development environment, and related assets and tools”, known collectively as “Lumberyard Materials”, “may not be run on any Alternate Web Service and your Lumberyard Project may not read data from or write data to any Alternate Web Service”.
Fair enough, although Amazon is prepared to be a little more flexible over use of Lumberyard Materials when it comes to major threats to humanity. Here’s section 57.10 of the service terms: With Amazon launching its AAA game engine, Lumberyard, there’s the usual dose of legal documentation, ostensibly to ensure both developers and Jeff Bezos’ company have every possibility taken care of.
And while most service terms are dull, dry, and for a lack of a better term, sleep-inducing, there’s one particular sliver of information in Lumberyard’s service terms (which falls under Amazon’s Web Services service terms) that would keep you wide awake. We bring section 57.10 to your attention.
“Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat,” it reads. And just as it is about to slip into the realm of being as boring as watching paint dry, this is what shows up next.
“However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of 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 and is likely to result in the fall of organised civilisation.” This was first spotted by Will Goldstone, Content Manager at Unity Technologies, the company responsible for the popular Unity engine and competitor to Amazon’s Lumberyard.
What this means is, developers are free from the shackles of Amazon’s terms and conditions if and only if a zombie apocalypse were to occur. It’s an interesting addition, one which we see as an easter egg more than anything else. And yet another sign of the game industry’s undying love affair with zombies. With game franchises like Call of Duty, Dead Island, and The Walking Dead, permeating mainstream consciousness, it’s about time Amazon’s legal eagles got in on the fun.
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