Using gaming technology as a game changer at Build: Detroit

Ben Walker

by Ben Walker

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 09:52


We’re never ones to turn down an invitation, so when Epic Games asked us to take part in Build: Detroit ’19 for Automotive we were happy to oblige. Our focus was on the touchscreen visualiser we’d been working on for Ford Mustang, and as well as the chance to show this off, we were excited to see what other key players in our industry were doing. Let the game changing begin…

Teams from our UK and US offices joined together for the one-day event on 25th April, held in the heart of the city’s entertainment district at The Fillmore Detroit. The building was epic in itself – a renovated movie house dating back to 1925, complete with grand lobby, high ceilings and amazing event space (plus some impressive original chandeliers if you’re into a bit of bling).

The event was created to showcase how real-time visualisation technology, driven by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine (UE4), is being used across the automotive and manufacturing industry. It was great to show our work alongside Audi, Tesla, Toyota and McLaren, and mingle with attendees from Ford, Fiat Chrysler, GM, Honda and Tesla, among others.

Our touchscreen demo caused quite a stir, both with its detail and functionality, giving the user an immersive experience of the Ford Mustang. Users were able to configure the vehicle, from body colour to trim and wheel choice. But more than this, they could zoom right in, open doors, step inside, delve under the hood, and soak up every detail – right down to a single grain of leather on the seats.


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Pop-up tech video stories added to the experience which the user could select if they wanted a greater insight into certain aspects of the vehicle, such as the engine. And who doesn’t love a full-on personalised movie experience of their soon-to-be new car? This can be created (complete with soundtrack) and recorded as a unique take-away for each user, even allowing for colour and trim changes throughout the movie to help with those all-important decisions.

Throughout the day, the demo led to some brilliant conversations with other agencies who are looking to get on board with UE4. We also ended up being unexpected heroes, coming to the rescue of headset developer, Varjo, who had to do a quick re-think when the product they were going to use to demo their headsets let them down. They reached out to us before the event and were able to use our Ford Mustang demo on the day (always happy to help, as is the Burrows way).

All in all, our day at Build: Detroit was pretty mind-blowing and a great opportunity to show the automotive world exactly what Burrows can do. And as we continue our close relationship with Epic Games, we know we’ll stay at the forefront of gaming technology in the automotive industry – which means our clients will too.

Ben Walker

Head of Real-Time CGI