360 VR Experience
- CityEngine 2016.1 introduces a new format and item type called 360 VR Experience (3VR). It allows the simple and quick creation of a virtual reality experience by rendering panoramic 360-degree screenshots for every camera bookmark. A 3VR file needs to be published on ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise, where it can be accessed with a dedicated web or mobile viewer app.
- The 3VR exporter supports multiple scenarios. Therefore, the user can compare the different planning scenarios from the same viewpoint in an immersive environment. A scenario is defined as a layer composition with different layer visibility settings. One bookmark can contain multiple 360-degree screenshots of alternate scenarios; in other words, for each bookmark, one 360-degree screenshot is made per scenario.
'Get map data' and OpenStreetMap
- CityEngine now includes an OpenStreetMap (OSM) rule file that generates buildings out of the best available data with the 'Get map data' feature. Therefore, the rule makes use of all attributes that can be found in the downloaded OSM data. For example, if only the building height or only the number of levels is given, the missing parameter is calculated automatically.
- The OSM rule file comes with different styles that allow the user to select what to do with buildings where height or level information is completely missing. For example, the user can select the Zurich city style to generate building masses typical in central Europe.
- The OSM rule file can be found in ESRI.lib and is conveniently assigned automatically after 'Get map data' is selected or OSM data is imported.
- 'Get map data' and the OSM importer now support polygons with holes. Consequently, complex building footprints that contain an inner courtyard or patio can be downloaded and displayed as well.
- The OSM importer in 'Get map data' automatically cleans the attributes in the OSM data. For example, height information that is given as a string is converted to a float; unsupported characters in attribute names are replaced with underscores. As a result, the attributes in OSM data can be easily used for the attribute-driven generation of 3D models.
- 'Get map data' gives a clearer indication in the user interface when the selected extent cannot be imported into the scene (because it is too far away from the scene origin).
- A complete rework of the Inspector results in significant performance improvements and a smooth overall user experience. For example, selecting small or large numbers or objects is now multiple times faster than CityEngine 2016.0 or 2015 for standard rules.
- The color picker UI is back; in other words, the color is previewed in the Inspector again. (it requires an @Color annotation to become active). Also, the text field is editable and allows hexadecimal color values to be entered directly (as long as no set of predefined values is set with @Range).
- A bug where the slider disappeared when dragging was fixed; in other words, the slider does not turn off anymore when changing values. Also, block, street, and node parameters come with range sliders.
- Several usability issues were fixed (for instance, losing window focus cannot reset value anymore, scrolling position and collapse states persist, drop-down menus no longer go off-screen in case of long string values, and consistent default parameters of dynamic shapes).
- A button was added to create object attributes on selected shapes (to overcome the poor user experience when using the context menu).
Scene layer packages
- Scene layer package (SLPK) files generated from CityEngine can now be also opened in ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Earth. CityEngine supports the generation of SLPKs in both global (WGS84) and local (projected) coordinate systems.
- Reports are now written to SLPKs, making attribute information available in the resulting scene layers once published.
- Visualization quality of SLPKs generated from CityEngine is improved (including support for surface normals and better materials for a brighter appearance).
- An issue was fixed with local SLPKs when the coordinate system’s z-values were in another unit.
- Export to SLPK generates a log file to monitor geometry statistics or track any issues on export.
- The 3D data inside an Alembic file can be grouped into cells. This allows fast, isolated displaying of specific parts of the 3D model. Accordingly, a sparse grid is inserted at the top-level hierarchy and the user can control the cell size.
- To set materials, the Alembic exporter uses the AbcMaterial compound property as defined by the experimental Alembic Preview Material schema (see Alembic-Preview-Material-Specification).
- CityEngine object IDs are available as an Alembic node property, allowing, for example, Python scripts to address specific objects.
- A new tutorial has been added where the workflow of exporting Alembic files to SideFX Houdini, The Foundry Katana, and ChaosGroup V-Ray for Autodesk Maya is presented.
Import and export
- COLLADA: Support was added for importing a COLLADA dialect where texturing properties are simplified, such as in the files generated by Autodesk 3ds Max.
- COLLADA: Import as shapes is much more stable against invalid geometries; for example, there are no more display issues.
- COLLADA: Preset settings for exporting to SketchUp now force triangulation in order to overcome rendering limitations.
- FBX: An issue was fixed where empty nodes caused the application to crash.
- OBJ: White spaces in texture names are supported.
- CEJ: Layer groups are supported in the partial import and export of scenes into the native CityEngine format CEJ.
- FileGDB: Some issues were fixed in the exporter (polygons with holes, white spaces in street layer names, excess startRule / ruleFile attributes on models) and importer (strange characters if ruleFile / startRule attributes were not set).
- Several numerical issues in roof generation and trim functionality were fixed, resulting in more stability for the roofHip and roofGable operations and geometry trimming in general.
- Edge comp split operation now also works on nonplanar polygons.
- Several issues related to attribute propagation when importing rules across more than one level were fixed.
- Performance of the innerRectangle operation was significantly improved. As a result, the largest inner rectangle is now also found for concave polygons with a high vertex count.
- Several stability issues were fixed in envelope, offset, and cleanupGeometry operations, for example, when vertices are collinear or for polygons with holes.
- To-meter conversion for nonmetric coordinate systems was fixed.
- A number of issues in the Model Hierarchy Viewer were fixed, for example, not updating when model is selected.
- CGA Editor comes with a keyboard shortcut to comment and uncomment selected code blocks.
- The newly introduced Look-around tool allows a panoramic 360-degree viewing experience.
- The Viewport can display bookmark positions as camera gizmos in the 3D scene.
- For low sun angles, texture illumination and shadows are more accurate.
- Several minor rendering issues were fixed (such as ambient occlusion rendering artifacts, grid line width inconsistencies, and ghost points in wireframe mode).
- On Linux, library stripping was fixed to avoid interference with other FlexNet-based licensing libraries in the same process.
- Maya plug-in sample code for Maya 2016 was updated.
- Commands in the Python API for modifying the Scripts menu entries were added.
- Commands in the Python API for managing the workspace and loaded projects were installed.
- The projection library was updated; for example, fixed issues with WKIDs that use Oblique Mercator).
- Proxy settings are saved persistently.
- CityEngine executables are digitally signed.
- And CityEngine has a new logo!