What's new in CityEngine 2021.0


Web-based virtual reality solution

ArcGIS 360 VR is now available as a web app based on the latest WebXR technology. With just a few clicks in CityEngine, you can create 360 VR experiences (3VR) and conveniently preview them in a browser. When its ready, share it publicly or privately with collaborators on ArcGIS Online. View the published VR experience on all popular VR headsets using the built-in browser. The 3VR gallery allows you to explore public or private VR experiences on ArcGIS Online.

Try it out at 360vr.arcgis.com.

360 VR


Terrain sculpting & masking

CityEngine 2021.0 introduces intuitive brushes for interactive terrain sculpting. The Terrain Edit Brush allows localized leveling of terrains, and the Terrain Reset Brush allows you to revert the terrain elevation changes.

Furthermore, the new Terrain Masking option in the Viewport prevents unwanted artifacts when terrain layers overlap. This is useful in scenes in which a small detailed terrain, for example the work area, is used in combination with a large low resolution terrain, such as the environment. After the terrain masking is applied, only one combined terrain surface displays because the higher resolution terrain masks out the lower resolution terrain.

Terrain editing


Scenario-based design

CityEngine allows for the intuitive creation, management, and comparison of Scenarios. For example, a scene state can be duplicated as a new Scenario that can be modified. With one click, you can switch between Scenarios and compare design alternatives in the Viewport and the Dashboard.

With CityEngine 2021.0, it is now possible to assign Graph, Map, and Terrain layers to Scenarios. This means that complete urban designs, including street networks and terrain modifications, can be handled as different Scenarios. Also, Scenario management now works on layers instead of individual objects, resulting in a more intuitive scenario-based design user experience.

Additionally, the Unreal Engine (Datasmith) exporter now exports CityEngine Scenarios as Unreal Variants, allowing for simple workflows to visualize Scenarios in Unreal Engine.

Scenarios in Unreal Engine


Better design and editing experience

The new Adjust Position and Orientation tool option was added to the Rotate, Scale, and Translate tools. This allows you to reposition and reorient the transform handle in order to perform advanced transformations. Snapping is also supported.

Several other improvements were implemented to improve the design and editing user experience in CityEngine. First, the tool bar was decluttered by consolidating the drawing and measurement tools into subtools. Next, selection sets can now be loaded conveniently in the Tool Options window. Also, the drawing tools now support snapping to the intersections of new edges on other lines. Finally, the Rotate tool now supports snapping to the global planes and axes, orthogonal angles, and parallel to guides.

Adjust position and orientation tool


CGA: Footprints, roofs, materials, and local variables

New powerful geometry operations were added to CityEngine’s procedural modeling language CGA:

  • footprint projects arbitrary 3D assets to a 2D polygon, allowing, for example, the simple creation of LOD1 building geometries, see illustration below.
  • roofRidge constructs a gable roof in which the orientation of the ridge can be fully controlled.
  • alignScopeToGeometryBBox calculates the oriented bounding box of a shape, allowing, for example, the generation of reasonably aligned roof ridges.

Furthermore, CGA introduces new operations and functions for editing surface materials:

  • setMaterial conveniently sets all the individual attributes of a material at once.
  • getMaterial returns the current material attributes and can be used for duplicating, managing, analyzing, or debugging material setups.
  • resetMaterial provides the functionality to reset an edited material setup.

Finally on popular request, CGA now supports local variables! Use the new with keyword in both rules and functions to define local variables. This allows for much cleaner and more readable code and can also improve performance.


Improved interoperability with the 3D, CAD, and GIS worlds

CityEngine 2021.0 comes with many interoperability enhancements and improvements:

  • Import and export of USDZ, allowing for more practical workflows with the USD format, which gets more and more popular in the 3D industry.
  • Import and export of 3D DWG, allowing for the display of CAD models within CityEngine, as well as importing CityEngine environments in CAD software packages.
  • Major improvements of the SLPK exporter, allowing for faster performance of 3D Object Scene Layers (i3s) in applications, such as Scene Viewer or ArcGIS Earth.


...and many more enhancements and fixes

You can find further news and details in the 2021.0 release notes. Visit My Esri to upgrade to CityEngine 2021.0.


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