Fortnite creator Epic Games is partnering with carmakers, starting with General Motors, to use its Unreal Engine game development platform to build in-car software in what Epic is calling its “human-machine interface” (HMI) initiative. The first car to use Unreal Engine, which is the primary software toolset with which developers make Fortnite and countless other big-budget video games, will be GMC’s upcoming Hummer EV, set to be unveiled on October 20th.
The logic is simple: modern cars are primarily designed using software, and assembled cars carry scores of onboard computers and rely on touchscreens and digital interfaces to power infotainment centers and other sources of information displayed to drivers. And Unreal Engine is a great platform for building software, which Epic thinks makes it a great platform for building the software that goes into cars.
“When you sit in the driver’s seat of a modern car today, the way you interact with the vehicle is different from a few years ago. Buttons and screens dominate the dashboard, steering wheel, and instrument pane, providing features that may be new to you. Electrification is at the root of many of these advances, with digital hardware such as cameras, sensors, and displays, combined with cutting-edge technology like Unreal Engine, forming a framework on which to build new experiences,” the company explains in a blog post. “At Epic Games, we’ve long been interested in the way the requirements for HMI development overlap with those of game development. Much of the functionality required to create HMI systems has been available in Unreal Engine for some time.”
Epic says carmakers like GMC and the user interface and user experience designers tasked with crafting the software that car owners will interact with in the finished product can do more