CGA attributes

Attributes are a set of global variables defined in the rule file with the following properties:

  • They are global relative to the scope of the rule file.
  • Each attribute is initialized to a specific value in the rule file.
  • The attribute values can be changed individually on a per shape basis.

You can do this in the Rules pane in the Inspector window.


In contrast to functions, attributes are evaluated only once at the beginning of the generation process.


attr height = 150
attr landuse = "residential"

Lot --> extrude(height) Envelope(landuse)

In this example, two attributes are defined using the attr keyword: height, which is of type float, and landuse, which is a string. The attributes are used in the Lot rule.

Attributes can also be conditional or stochastic:

attr landuse = 50% : "residential" 
               else : "industrial"

In this example, there is a 50 percent chance that landuse evaluates to "residential" and a 50 percent chance that it evaluates to "industrial". For each shape, the conditional or stochastic attributes are evaluated once and stay constant during the generation process.

Similarly, you can use the rand() function:

attr height = rand(30,50)

Lot --> extrude(height) Envelope

Envelope --> 
    case height < 40 : SmallBuilding
    else: LargeBuilding

For each shape that has the Lot start rule, height evaluates to a value between 30 and 50 units. This height is constant and can be used everywhere in the rule file.

  • You can click and edit the value or use the slider to modify the value. See Map attributes with the Connection Editor for more information about using different sources to control input of rule attributes.
  • The display of attributes in the Inspector window can be controlled by CGA annotations.
  • You can use interactive handles to edit attributes in the 3D view.

Change attributes in the Inspector window

You can set the values of functions marked with attr individually for each initial shape in the Inspector window. For instance, the definition below yields an entry in the Rule Parameters section.

@Range(min=10, max=40)
attr height = 20

Assign values to multiple shapes

You can manually assign a value to multiple initial shapes quickly. Complete the following steps to assign attributes to multiple shapes:

  1. Select two initial shapes that have a rule file assigned with the height, roofColor, and roofType attributes.

    Selected shapes assigned with rule that has height, roofColor, and roofType attributes

  2. Change the height value to 40.

    The height values of both selected shapes are changed.

    Selected shapes with height values changed

  3. Select only one shape (or model), and change the height value back to the rule default of 20.
  4. Select both models.

    The height value is displayed as a question mark (?), indicating that the two selected models do not share the same value for this attribute.