3D User Interface
3D Rich content
User Experience Design
Unreal Engine Development
For many years Unreal Engine 4 has been used to create wonderful visualizations, advertisements and demos in the car space. Now it enters the in-car HMIs as Epic Games has announced support for the automotive hardware and car specific modules. Along that, it brings one of its great features - “blueprints” - that enable designers to preview their creations immediately in the target.
We have created a proof of concept of an In-vehicle Infotainment in UE4 to test the promise of the improved design-to-development workflow.
While building it, we set ourselves 3 goals:
Before we talk about deployment and tech details we’d like to walk you through our creative process of UI conceptualisation and design and show you the content of the app.
The infotainment prototype is built around 5 screens: Today, Music, Movies, Audio and Battery Settings. The interface is mainly flat 2D with a high degree of responsiveness. This provides a clean look and at the same time feels alive and focused on the things that matter. We also wanted to use UE4’s great 3D capabilities in a way that enhances the user experience and goes beyond just nice aesthetics. We’ve decided to use 3D cube animations to add a feeling of freedom and open space while navigating the infotainment.
The “Today” screen displays information that we think the user will find useful daily. It is here where you can check the current weather, calendar, reminders, and missed calls. All these widgets are interactive and will expand on-click to reveal more details.
A media player rich with micro-interactions.
Being a modern HMI system - our IVI is aimed at cars with some degree of autonomy. Therefore the driver and passengers can enjoy their favourite streaming services right at the dashboard.
Audio and battery screens show how easy it is to build fluid animations and touch interaction.
Unreal Engine allows for unbelievable intertwining of programmers’ and artists’ work. By using visual scripting capabilities of Blueprints artists can bring their designs to life without knowing how to write a single line of code . The possibilities with Blueprints are literally endless. Adding some C++ specialists to your team you can develop your own Blueprint nodes that will process data, communicate with external services, implement your business logic, and do basically anything you need in your application. Considering our project assumptions - no code written - and will to show the design-to-development speed we opted to use only built-in nodes, but we are looking forward to next steps that will allow us to explore the Blueprint development side of the engine.
The project described above has many more features in the backlog and we're planning to show its evolution by the end of the year. Besides that we also see growing interest in production ready software development, so we look forward to starting a number of commercial HMI projects based on Unreal Engine.
We also encourage you to share with us your take on the topic on our social media. Maybe you have questions, doubts, opinions or you'd like to work with us on an Unreal based solution tailored for you? We're more than happy to help.
The voice replaces the touch – boldly said, but that is one big trend that is happening in the Car HMI development.