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Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Esri has presented a new version of its city modeling and analysis tool. CityEngine 2018 brings several improvements to visibility tools, publishing and collaborating on the ArcGIS platform, better framing of terrains imported using Get Map Data, and more.
First, in the 2018.0 release, the team took the Visibility Tools a step further by adding Statistics for the Viewshed and View Dome tools.
- The statistics section in the Inspector of the Viewshed or View Dome tool gives you visibility analysis of the layers in your scene. This helps to quantify visibility in your city scene.
- By expanding an entry in the layer table, you can see to what extent other layers are hiding the current layer. Additionally, the preview switches to x-ray mode and reveals the occluded geometry.
- It is now possible to create more than six Viewsheds per Analyses Layer.
- Display of graphs has been removed in the Viewshed preview.
- The preview now updates instantaneously when defining and changing layer colors.
- Fixed an issue when applying transform tools on visibility tools in group layers.
- The statistical outputs of the Viewshed and View Dome tools are also available in the Python API, allowing for elaborate visibility assessment scripts.
Collaborative feature creation in the ArcGIS platform
- CityEngine can now create and publish feature layers to ArcGIS Online.
- When accessing a feature service of an unknown portal, the feature will now be added to the list of known portals automatically. This allows the username and password for these portals to be saved in your profile as well.
- When you import a feature layer, the imported object attribute now uses the field alias as the name.
- When you create a feature layer, the object attribute name is used as the alias of the created field (however the field name is in some cases different).
- On-sync height values of scene coordinate systems that use a local height reference surface remain unchanged.
- You can now create and sync layers that are empty or set to invisible.
- CityEngine improved the handling of read-only fields, such as ObjectId.
- Removed a limitation that prevented the syncing of the height of shapes with holes.
Get Map Data
- After importing a terrain using Get Map Data, CityEngine automatically frames the terrain data in the 3D Viewport.
- At a high zoom level in the Get Map Data dialog, the extent is sometimes invisible. Fixed this by zooming out the view automatically so that the extent is completely visible.
- The scenario buttons in the Scene Editor are draggable so that you can put them in order as you wish.
- Extended the length of the Scenario ID to four characters that now allows for year dates, for example.
- Next to the scenarios in the scene editor, added a “plus” button to easily add a new scenario to the scene.
- You can now right-click on the scenario buttons to duplicate, mirror, edit, or delete a scenario directly.
- CityEngine correctly adds scenarios to the current scene when importing a CityEngine scene file with scenarios.
- The Unreal “Datasmith” Exporter and the CityEngine template project have been upgraded to support Unreal Engine 4.19 (using Datasmith SDK 0.18).
- The Unreal exporter has two additional export options to control object granularity and asset instancing.
- Fixed several bugs with the Unreal exporter to eliminate memory leaks and to avoid hitting the “maximum number of objects” limit in Unreal.
3D Viewport, navigation, and camera bookmarks
- Generating the model hierarchy of large rules is faster and more robust.
- The terrain wireframe is now visible behind transparent scene objects.
- Fixed a regression in the rotate tool. In the Object Coord mode, multiple Objects now rotate correctly.
- Fixed a bug with Intel graphics in the viewport snapshot that caused black images.
- To increase compatibility on Intel MacOS devices, multisample anti-aliasing is now off by default.
- Fixed an issue where intensive scrolling caused white artifacts in the viewport or the screen to freeze.
- Removed visible seam lines in the rendering of the refection map.
CGA language and editor
- The new insertAlongUV operation has been added. This allows you to read a geometry asset (3D model, polygon mesh) from a file and inserts it along the current shape’s uv coordinates by mapping the width and depth of the asset to the chosen uv-set.
- Added the assetNamingInfo function which returns a list of group or material names of an asset. This is useful for component splits by material or group names.
- CGA Handles now adjust to implicit unit ranges of @Angle, @Distance and @Percent.
- CityEngine optimized the size of move handles.
- Improved the highlighting of warning and errors in the CGA Editor.
- Handles are now unavailable when the shape layer is locked.
Import of GIS data, models and terrain
- Fixed a bug with the Collada importer to correctly read multiple UV sets.
- Fixed a regression in the static model import leading to a missing asset file path.
- Implemented various stability improvements to the Get Map Data importer.
- Improved the precision of the on terrain positioning on import.
- Fixed an issue where high-resolution textures on terrains with no data areas created “waterfall-like” or “skirt” artifacts.
- Importing of a 16-bit single channel DEM data doesn’t clip the highest areas anymore.
Export of 3D Models and GIS features
- Support the Geotiff format which is the default option when exporting terrains.
- The FBX exporter now has fallback behavior to write face vertex normals if the actual vertex normals are missing.
- In the FGDB Export Dialog, you can specify whether to export all, none, or the sum of the report variables.
- The terrain exporter, now honors the measurement unit of the scene coordinate system.
- Added a new method ce.exit() to support proper shutdown of CityEngine from within a Python script.
- The Python console now correctly reports errors in interactively entered scripts.
- Get/setLayerPreferences now use standard formatting for defining layer colors.
- Fixed a null pointer exception in ce.selection() that was triggered by deleting selected models.
- It is now possible to define no texture on terrain import through ce.addAttributeLayer().
- Fixed a missing georeference issue when importing 8-bit terrains.
- Resolved an issue in the import for gdb, where the set spacial envelope part of data setImportQueryAndEnvelope() was ignored.
You can learn more about the tool here.