Shedding light on game engines and virtual reality for design ideation
While pen-and-paper sketches is generally considered the best tool for design ideation, there are certain areas of design where the ideas being generated do not easily lend themselves to sketching. This study reports on two cases that explores the use of game engines in combination with Virtual Reality (VR) to visualize lighting in the automotive industry. In the first case, the exterior lights of a car were visualized using Unreal Engine 4 and evaluated using research through design and expert interviews. In the second case, Unreal Engine VR Editor was used to explore ideation and concept development of interior lighting in long haulage trucks. The insights from the cases suggest that game engines and VR can be used to quickly develop and display ideas, concepts and scenarios in the early phases of the lighting design process. These strengths suggest that game engines and VR also have the potential to support design ideation for other types of design.