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McLaren now uses Epic's Unreal Engine to help design its high-end cars

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Game engines aren't just about video games

High-end British car maker McLaren Automotive is now using Epic's Unreal Engine to help design its luxury and high-performance cars, McLaren design manager Mark Roberts announced at GDC 2016 today.

"McLaren is all about cutting technology …. most of all about truly great design," Roberts said. "Working with our friends at Epic to create a range of new tools, new virtual tools in the visualization field … it's going to revolutionize how we do things starting with design and going right through to the customer who can customize their car in the engine."

Roberts said the car maker gave Epic capture data from all of its cars, plus actual paint samples, material samples of paint and fabric, and even audio recordings of engine noise and the sound of doors opening and closing. That data was then used to produce the first real product born of this new closer relationship between Epic and McLaren.

That product is the Customer Configurator, which allows a potential customer to fully customize their car and then see what it looks like and sounds like in an Unreal Engine-powered demo.

The Unreal Engine is also helping to power and improve McLaren's design process, Roberts said.

"UE4 has given us this incredibly level of believability so our designers can make accurate, confident designs before we even thought about going to a model."