CityEngine 2017.0 introduces the concept of scenarios. With scenarios, you can create multiple design alternatives in a scene and compare and edit scenarios in side-by-side window views. In combination with dashboards, the scenarios can be compared not only visually but also by key metrics. Scenarios can be exported to a 360 VR Experience with just a few clicks.
- Create scenes with up to 64 different scenarios.
- Move or share objects between scenarios using the right-click context menu.
- The enhanced Scene Editor allows you to filter your list of objects by scenario. You can create and edit scenarios using the Scenario Manager. You can assign colors to scenarios that are automatically used in the headers of the viewports and in the dashboards to visually connect corresponding information.
- New default layouts allow you to quickly arrange the UI so that two or three viewports with different scenarios can be viewed side-by-side.
Dashboards have been completely redesigned and offer more options for customization. Additionally, they integrate seamlessly into the scenario concept.
- Charts can be easily organized in multiple pages. On each page, you can arrange charts in a grid layout. Pages are easily accessible in the dashboard header.
- When configuring a chart, it is displayed next to its configuration options, making customizing charts more user friendly.
- Dashboards can show data about a single scenario or all available scenarios by turning just one switch.
- Charts are scenario-aware and can show reports for multiple scenarios simultaneously.
- Charts can now be configured to either show the reports of all generated models or only of the selected ones.
- The Text Card is used to add titles and descriptions to a dashboard.
- The Key Number Card displays reports with a single value.
- Bar, Pie, and Stacked Bar Charts can be used to visualize reports with multiple subreports.
- The table view offers filtering options to list a subset of the available reports.
You can now apply local edits to a procedural model, which resolves one of the remaining challenges in procedural modeling. The Local Edit tool allows you to make changes to specific structural features in the procedural model, such as resizing windows, adding balconies, or changing usage types per floor, without affecting the entire procedural model.
- Using the right-click context menu or shortcut keys, you can change the local edit selection to a higher level or lower level. Alternatively, you can browse through logical selection patterns to modify this selection.
- The Inspector displays where local edits have been applied in the attributes. An asterisk indicates a local edit has been applied on the current selection, and an up or down arrow signals a local edit has been applied at a higher or lower level.
- You can use the shift modifier key for selecting multiple local edit locations at once.
- You can reset local edits locally or for the entire model.
- The Measure Distance tool allows you to set two points interactively in the scene, and display the distance, height, and horizontal offsets between them.
- The Measure Area & Path tool allows you to set multiple points interactively in the scene, and display the total length of the path as well as the area once the path is closed. You can close the path by snapping to a previously set marker or by pressing Enter. If all markers are located on a plane, the area on this plane is displayed; otherwise, the horizontal projected area is displayed, for example, to show the area of a parcel.
- The Measure tools can snap to geometry and terrain.
- The Measure tools include laser lines that allow you to see, for example, the elevation of a building relative to all other objects in the scene.
- You can modify markers after the initial measurement has been set. The move handles appear when you hover over a set marker allowing you to reposition the marker.
- Measurements are reported in the Log window, which allows you to copy and paste the values.
- You can change the display units in the Viewport settings menu.
Modern user interface and better user experience
- CityEngine 2017.0 presents a completely revamped graphical UI, resulting in a fresh, modern look and improved ease of use. The application background changed to white, and a new icon set for the tool bar is introduced. Furthermore, the appearance of window tabs and their icons, as well as many other UI elements, were changed.
- Cursors have been redesigned and highlight the current active tool state. Consequently, it is always clear which tool you are using.
- CityEngine 2017.0 improves support for high-DPI displays allowing for larger UI elements and fonts at high resolutions. Also, the default layouts have been improved by adding DPI-responsive functionality.
- A new welcome screen allows you to conveniently open recent scenes or directly launch the interfaces for Get Map Data or the City Wizard. Note that the last opened scene doesn't automatically open anymore when starting the application.
- The Navigator window UI was simplified. You can open the Preview by double-clicking a file in the Navigator or through the right-click context menu. Furthermore, the Collapse button was moved to the right-click context menu, and the Link button was moved to the settings menu.
- The right-click context menus were streamlined and rearranged for a better user experience.
- The Lighting and Panorama settings were merged in to one dialog box.
- The Inspect Model tool and the Inspect Model Transparency settings are now located on the toolbar of the Model Hierarchy window. Also, the framing action in the Model Hierarchy window was improved by adding zooming to the selected extent.
- The Help menu on the main toolbar was rearranged, allowing you to now directly access the most important resources and social media channels related to CityEngine.
Get Map Data
- The Get Map Data UI was improved and streamlined. For example, the selected map extent is now moveable and resizable on the basemap.
- A suitable UTM coordinate system is now automatically chosen when there isn't a scene coordinate system set.
- Get Map Data now compensates for latitude distortion on the selection extent. This alleviates download issues with the elevation service.
- Unexpected behavior when you click the middle mouse button in the map was fixed.
- A new, smart navigation system was implemented that allows you to tumble around an object without requiring you to frame or zoom to extent. CityEngine 2017.0,automatically analyzes the current view, and the camera's best point of interest is calculated. Consequently, you aren't hindered by limitations of standard 3D navigation and can focus on exploring the content only.
- Vertical and horizontal panning is now applied depending on the content below the pointer. For example, when you drag a street, it results in a horizontal pan. If you select a facade, it results in a vertical pan.
- Double-clicking an object in the Viewport now frames the object; if you double-click the terrain, the camera moves closer to terrain and centers to the clicked location. Furthermore, the Frame button is now located on the main application toolbar and not in the Viewport, framing the cameras of all open Viewport windows simultaneously.
- When zooming now, the camera moves toward the point below the pointer, rather than toward the center of the Viewport window.
- You can use the arrow keys to navigate the 3D scene, such as moving forward and backward along the terrain and strafing left and right. If you press an arrow key and the Shift key together, the move speed increases.
- When pressing the U+J keys, the camera moves vertically up and down. If you press them together with the Shift key, the move speed increases as well.
- You can press the shortcut N key to turn the active camera north.
- If you change the camera’s field of view, for example, from a telephoto to a wide-angle lens, the camera now smoothly switches between the two states.
- Camera names are now shown on the tab of a Viewport window, rather than in the Viewport settings as in previous versions. Also, to switch a camera, open a new window with an existing or new Camera in the main toolbar rather than switching on the toolbar of a Viewport window. You can conveniently switch, for example, between a perspective 3D view and top view by using the tabs of the two opened Viewport windows even when they are behind each other.
- The Bookmark menu on the Viewport toolbar now displays only the bookmarks of the active camera. Consequently, for example, you can't transform the Top camera into a bookmarked setup from a perspective camera.
- The Render settings and Camera settings were merged into one menu, the Viewport settings. Also, the camera lens selection now has better naming, for example, you can choose telephoto or wide angle lens.
- You can turn CGA Handles on and off directly in the Viewport settings rather than in the Preferences menu.
- The head-up display was improved by merging the Information and Navigation head-up displays. Additionally, to avoid clutter in the viewport, the display automatically fades out when the pointer is inactive for a while or you move the pointer out of the Viewport window.
- OpenGL render performance was improved in general, for example, selection highlighting and layer coloring are faster.
- Ambient occlusion artifacts on Intel graphics cards were fixed.
CGA neighborhood queries
- With the new label operation, you can now tag shapes and check a rule. For example, you can check whether geometry overlaps with a previously labeled shape or calculate the distance to the nearest label.
- The inside()/overlaps()/touches() functions have added label as an optional input parameter. Accordingly, occlusion tests are only performed against the shapes with the specified label. Also, note that the geometric accuracy of these functions has been improved in general.
- The new minimumDistance() function returns the distance to the nearest shape with a specified label. Note that the distance between the bounding boxes of the two shapes is returned.
- The new contextCount() function returns the number of shapes with a specified label.
- The new contextCompare() function compares shapes with a specified label and returns the rank of the current shape. For example, you can use the function to determine if the current shape has the largest area compared to other shapes.
- Shapes that consist only of an edge or a vertex, in other words, no polygon, can now also be used for occlusion queries.
CGA miscellaneous improvements
- New component split selectors “g” for groups, “m” for materials and “h” for holes were introduced. Hence, for example, a model can now be split into its materials. Also, several minor issues in the comp operation were fixed.
- Shapes that have been split with the noAdjust parameter can now be handled correctly in operations such as alignScopeToAxes, cleanupGeometry, or subsequent split operations. For example, this allows for the homogenous paneling of surfaces.
- The setback operation was improved to avoid the generation of self-intersecting faces on concave shapes.
- The offset operation now maintains materials and groups.
- The geometry.area() and geometry.isOriented() functions can now handle scopes with negative height, such as mirrored shapes.
- Improved CGA compile time in case of errors due to naming conflicts, especially when rules with many parameters are present. Several other minor issues in the CGA compiler were fixed.
- New min(), max(), and clamp() utility functions are available now.
- New utility functions allow for conversion of color values between RGB and HSV color spaces.
Import and export improvements
- FBX: Honors the Z-Up flag and supports unit information.
- FBX: Export now supports combinations of "create shape groups" and "instancing".
- FBX & Collada: An import and insert issue where the material name hasn't been set was fixed.
- FBX & Collada: Issues where vertex normals were not correctly set upon import and/or export were fixed.
- FBX & Collada: The handling of multiple UV coordinate sets was improved.
- KML: The export setting was simplified and the export presets for ArcGIS Earth were updated.
- KML: A new export preset for SketchUp allows you to export multiple buildings as one file.
- Scene Layer Packages: The file extension was changed from SPK to SLPK.
- Scene Layer Packages: Default pop-up information is now written.
- Scene Layer Packages: Load balancing was improved to reduce the maximum size of geometry nodes.
- RenderMan: The exporter now uses the RMANTREE environment variable to find libprman.
- RenderMan: The exporter now uses the txmake tool if available.
- RenderMan: An opacity map issue in the default shader was fixed.
360 VR Experiences
- In the Viewport window, you can now select bookmarks and modify them with the Move and Rotate tools. This allows for more precise positioning and editing of bookmarked viewpoints. This helps in the creation of 360 VR Experiences where an accurate viewpoint position is critical.
- The 3VR exporter also supports scenarios. Therefore, you can now select either scenarios as alternative viewpoint visualizations or layer compositions as in the previous version of CityEngine.
- An issue where bookmarks of orthographic cameras were exported was fixed.
- ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise uploads now honor the permission set in the sharing dialog box.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and CentOS 7 are now officially supported.
- On first install, a default workspace and default project are now automatically created. Also, the creation of an unused c:/dev/null file was disabled.
- In the Scene Editor, the performance for scenes with many objects was improved, and the copy-and-paste behavior was simplified.
- In the Inspector, several minor issues related to CGA styles were fixed, the scroll bar position behavior was improved, and a Connection Editor issue with missing layer attributes was resolved.
- CityEngine is now internationalized, allowing for the translation of the UI into other languages. As a first localization, the Finnish language will be supported.
- Collada/KML is now part of the BASIC license, and FileGDB is now part of the ADVANCED license.