Unreal Engine 4 is the technology behind some upcoming triple-A video games, and it could soon act as a weapon of war — or at least part of the training for combat.
Epic Games, the company responsible for the Unreal game-making toolkit, has partnered with Soar Technology to develop services for government and military applications based on Unreal Engine 4. This will most likely include simulations and training services based on Soar’s artificial-intelligence technology that the United States Government has used since the 1990s. Militaries around the world have long used sims to train troops, and Unreal — with its cutting edge graphical capabilities — could provide the strong backbone for the next generation of these services. This would open up Epic to a defense market that doesn’t skimp on spending. Of course, Unreal knows this because it has had dealings with the United States military before when the Government selected Unreal Engine 3 to power free America’s Army shooter that it used as a recruitment tool.
In a canned statement, Unreal licensing boss Joe Kreiner said that Epic is excited about this partnership.
“SoarTech’s long history of success in government and military research-and-development makes them uniquely suited to support the application of the UE4 in this market sector,” he said.
Epic cut together a video demonstrating the capabilities of its technology that shows how it could work with military simulations or even public-work projects like industrial mining.
Check it out:
In another statement, SoarTech president and chief executive Dr. Michael van Lent said that “UE4 represents the cutting edge of game technology.” But he pointed out that the reason this deal may appeal to public agencies and the military is that developers have full access to every aspect of Unreal. Epic will not keep anything hidden from anyone who wants to build something with these tools.
Additionally, SoarTech, which originally spun off from the University of Michigan’s Artificial Technologies Laboratory, wants to combine its own A.I. tech with Unreal’s visual and computational capabilities. SoarTech first made its name with the TacAir-Soar autonomous intelligence system that can simulate realistic behaviors for aircraft. The U.S. Air Force employs TacAir-Soar for its Warfighter Training Laboratory. Unreal Engine 4, with its high-fidelity visuals — along with its native support for virtual-reality headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive — could keep TacAir-Soar on the front lines of military training.