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Fortnite game designers help engineers win support for major projects


The studio behind the gaming phenomenon Fortnite says civil engineers must produce project visualisation videos of a similar quality to the game to get stakeholder buy-in for infrastructure schemes and win new business.

Unreal Engine has already started working with civil engineering firms, including Swedish firm Tyréns.

It used the technology to create a consultation video to show the public a project comprising 20km of new roads, tunnels, and buildings as part of a consultation for Trafikverket, the Swedish transport authority (pictured).

In the United States, engineering firm HNTB has used the technology to create virtual reality simulations for the California High Speed Rail Authority to promote the project to local stakeholders.

The technology has already made significant inroads into the architecture sector in the UK, which uses it to bring plans to life. However the studio is planning to make further inroads into the construction and civil engineering sector and is currently working with The Bartlett School of Architecture on a robotic construction programme, which it hopes to launch by the end of the year.

“Civil engineers have the biggest problem of all,” said Epic Games strategic business development manager Ken Pimentel. “How do you take a project like a road and communicate anything with a static image? How do you take a picture of something that is 50km long? You have to go beyond the static image because the scale is so large.”

The huge amounts of data involved in creating visualisations mean they can take a long time to produce, but the Fortnite technology has sped up means the time to render each frame from around 15 minutes to under a second.

Unreal Engine says 100,000 professionals have registered for its Twinmotion technology, which takes building information modelling or computer aided design models and turns them into a video visualisation. 

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