What is Unreal Engine and How is it Used Outside the Gaming Industry?

A look at entertainment, architecture, automotive manufacturing, and medicine projects. Unreal Engine is a game engine developed and maintained by Epic Games. The first game to use the Engine was the first-person shooter Unreal, released in 1998. Although the Engine was initially designed for first-person shooters, subsequent versions have been used successfully in games of various genres, including stealth games, fighting games, and massively multiplayer online role-playing games.

It's no secret that the Unreal Engine has long been associated with more than just game development. Epic Games company offers a lot of variants of using its technology in different spheres – from the film industry to automobile production. And in this article, the editorial staff of the paper writing service provides examples of the Engine's use outside of the gaming industry.


Unreal Engine is suitable for CG animation production thanks to the editor's flexible toolset. In addition to the Sequencer utility designed to develop video sequences on the Engine, the editor includes support for mocap, Niagara's particle system, and other tools for creating special effects. The choice of a visual component depends only on the author's imagination and abilities: 3D photorealistic graphics are available and different types of stylization.

In 2021 Mold3D Studio released a short film Slay – a training project for beginners and professionals, using mocap, demonstrating the potential of CG animation in Unreal Engine.

The team developed Slay during the Pandemic, but the remote work did not affect the quality of the animation. The studio coordinated Zoom to capture the stuntmen's movements and previewed the result in the editor to make adjustments to the live-action process if necessary. The characters' facial animations were recorded using the Live Link Face mobile app for iOS.

Film Industry

In the production of blockbusters, they often use Virtual Production, a technology that combines natural objects and computer graphics. Unreal Engine has taken this type of filmmaking to the next level by rendering scenes in real-time and setting the stage for more realistic shots. These conditions include support for LED panels with playback of virtual locations and a tracking system.

An ambitious approach to Virtual Production was invented during the filming of Mandalorian. To add more interactive elements to the filming process, showrunner, screenwriter, and co-producer of the series Jon Favreau brought in specialists from Epic Games.

The scenes were filmed on the set surrounded by huge LED panels. During filming, the Unreal Engine editor worked on four synchronized computers that broadcast the virtual background onto the LED panels in real-time. The three-engine operators controlled the virtual scene, lighting, and on-screen effects simultaneously. The crew could make adjustments on the fly using an iPad and coordinate the process with the director and operator.

However, the pluses of combined filming were not limited to spectacular shots. The team managed to iterate the takes in real-time without resorting to on-location filming. With the help of Virtual Production, more than half of the series's first season was shot.

Since the release of the first season of “Mandalorian” several years ago, and now the advanced technology of Virtual Production has been used not only by Lucasfilm but also by Industrial Light & Magic, WetaFX, Method Studios, Framestore, and many other studios. It is also in demand for music videos, promo videos, and TV shows.

TV Shows

In addition to Virtual Production, major TV channels use Mixed Reality technology. Several years ago, the American Weather Channel introduced a variety of weather forecasts, accompanying the announcer's speech with realistic visualizations of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other natural phenomena. The scale of natural disasters is sometimes difficult to convey in words, and video sequences like these give viewers an accurate picture of what is happening.

Concert Programs

Unreal Engine supports display, a rendering system that streams content in any resolution across multiple monitors or projected screens. Playback is available from various network devices or Unreal Engine editors from the same workstation. This technology is ideal for creating spectacular concert programs.

In 2016, the studios 2n Design and WetaFX developed an interactive show commissioned by Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino. According to the idea, the artist's performance was accompanied by the display of dynamic visuals on the concert hall's ceiling. Five NVIDIA Quadro P6000-powered computers and 12 projectors were used to broadcast the content in high resolution. The result was adapted to the dome's format with a fisheye effect.


The Engine has long been used in architectural projects. The technology supports not only 3D imports but also technical drawings, as well as information models of infrastructure objects (BIM) and big data processing, which is essential when developing three-dimensional visualizations of large settlements.

City Visualizations

Using Unreal Engine and Twinmotion, the Japanese company CAD Center has developed 3D maps of the cities of Osaka and Tokyo. Such projects are in demand by organizations that are involved in urban planning.

The environment of the settlements was created with the help of 3ds Max. The company used data from maps and aerial photographs to reference large structures' landscape and primary forms. Landmarks were modeled by hand, while similar textures were used for the remaining systems to reduce the scene load. Twinmotion helped optimize the visualization and brought it to life with models of people and vehicles.

Reconstructing Buildings in 3D

The American company HOK has long used Unreal Engine and Twinmotion to develop architectural visualizations and VR tours. One of the projects was a 3D tour of the Central Block of the Canadian Parliament.

Developing Layouts

The architectural potential of Unreal Engine is also used in real estate. At the headquarters of the development company Strategic Property Partners, there is a massive model of the prestigious Water Street neighborhood located in the American city of Tampa.

Using a tablet, the visitor can mark various installation details, including neighborhoods, transportation routes, infrastructure, and future constructions. And projections on the walls surrounding the layout show real-time 3D visualizations of selected objects.

Impreza developed the installation software. It includes applications for interactive kiosks, tablets, wall panels, content management systems, data aggregators, and projections. Most of them are created in Unreal Engine. DCBolt Productions prepared the design of the installation.

Automotive Production

Audi, Chevrolet, BMW, Volkswagen, and other popular car brands have long been using Unreal Engine in marketing (creating promo videos and VR simulations for potential buyers) and design. BMW deserves special attention: the company now uses the technology at all stages of production.

Since the first VR devices appeared on the market, BMW has been working with Unreal Engine for seven years. The IT department had the idea of using VR headsets at an early stage of production and allowing engineers to explore the functionality of the future car for other cost estimation. Such a concept meant developing a particular application, but the software the company used for rendering did not support VR. Experts turned their attention to game engines, in particular Unreal Engine. The first project was so successful that soon all BMW departments began using UE to develop systems, from factory planning to create an application with the ability to customize cars at the dealership.


Unreal Engine is used extensively in industrial applications for design, training, and educational projects, including those using, augmented reality.

Presentations in AR

One of the standout AR projects was the collaboration of Unreal Engine and Microsoft HoloLens 2. As part of Microsoft Build 2019, Industrial Light & Magic creative director John Noll and “Man on the Moon” author Andrew Chaikin demonstrated a reconstruction of the Apollo 11 mission. The presentation illustrates the difference between virtual and mixed reality interactions.

VR Simulators

There are many professions where the slightest mistake is fatal. Simulators come to the rescue to make a novice feel more confident in the workplace. The company Precision OS has been producing VR programs in the field of surgery for four years. Three people founded the studio: orthopedic surgeon Danny Goel and two specialists with experience in the game industry, Colin O'Connor and Roberto Oliveira.

Future surgeons are known to train on artificial mock-ups and the bodies of dead people. However, according to Goel, none of these practices corresponds to real-world surgical conditions. Precision OS simulators aim to illustrate the surgical process as accurately as possible.


It should be noted that Unreal Engine is suitable for developing non-game projects. Using game engines outside of games does not always cause a wow-effect in a potential customer. Technology helps to establish production, accelerate the learning process, and improve the service industry and the quality of life in general.

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