Game engines are, as their name clearly points out, used for making and running games but their ability to display real-time interactive graphics also makes them useful for other things as well. Epic Games seems to have stumbled upon a new market for its Unreal Engine that goes beyond games. The company proudly announces that its game engine and development tools have been used to develop the user experience that will debut on General Motors’ HUMMER EV later this month.
In-vehicle infotainment systems have changed substantially in the past few years, Epic Games explains, and that’s true in more ways than one. The computers behind these systems have become more powerful and user interfaces have become more sophisticated to match users’ growing expectations. The old software and tools used to create mostly static and simplistic car UIs can no longer keep up with that fast-paced development which is why Unreal Engine has created a dedicated Human-Machine Interface or HMI initiative to corner that market.
What this practically means is that the software and tools used to create those graphics-heavy interactive pieces of content known as games can now be used to create fancy and interactive displays for cars. The switch to using Unreal Engine and its tools won’t just benefit developers, though, as the ecosystem includes features that let designers and artists immediately test their ideas without writing a single piece of code. That, in turn, can help speed up the entire development process.
The Unreal Engine’s HMI initiative has borne its first fruit in the General Motors HUMMER EV, set to be fully revealed on October 20. It is the first of its kind to use a game engine for its digital cockpit and bagging the US’ largest carmaker undoubtedly helps raise the game engine’s profile in this new arena.
This isn’t the first time the Unreal Engine has been used outside of gaming, however. A recent high-profile use case has been The Mandalorian as well as some movies. Rivaling game engine Unity 3D has similarly been used in other projects and products that required quick development of interactive 3D graphics you’d previously only see in games.