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Thread: Using City Engine

  1. #11
      ravells is offline
    Community Leader Gracious Donor ravells's Avatar
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    I'm just scratching the surface of it. It gets much cooler. I'm going to work on some nicer looking textures this week so the next render should be a lot better.

    I splashed out and bought the Indie version. You can get the Vue only version which is cheaper and download Vue for free, it will still accept the City Engine exports and render them for you, but you get a Vue watermark in the bottom right hand corner. If you pay Vue some money, you get the render without the watermark.

    CE comes with lots of tutorials, but I'm hoping that we can build up a group of CE users here as swapping rule files and 3d assets will make it much quicker for everybody.

  2. #12
      ravells is offline
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    Doing splitting and texturing practice and learning how to randomise textures in a controlled way, for example not having door and 'green window' textures on anything but the ground floor.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Using City Engine-ce-screenie_05.jpg   Using City Engine-ce-screenie_06.jpg  

  3. #13
      Korash is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravells View Post
    Hi Korash, you can get it here: http://www.procedural.com/

    Not sure what you mean by a 'base height', you can extrude a building from a lot by however much you want. So for example you can extrude all buildings by 3m giving you a 'base height' of 3 m. Then you can extrude again by variable amounts if you want buildings of different heights.
    Thanks Rav, I had a look at it after googling it. It looks quite capable. As for the base height thing I was thinking about building on an inclining road and also with ground floors starting at higher than the building next door (ie: not all on flat ground). I noticed while looking at the midieval town sample that they have that yopu must be able to do that.

    Now to convince the wife that I NEED to get this.........
    Art Critic = Someone with the Eye of an Artist, Words of a Bard, and the Talent of a Rock.

    Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent

  4. #14
      ravells is offline
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    I haven't had much time recently to continue my work with CE, but I took some time off today. I took a break from the 3d stuff to see how it would cope with plain old top down 2d mapping and I was really pleasantly surprised.

    CE has a 'scene light' (i.e. the sun) which you can position, adjust the shadows intensity for etc. It's pretty simple (no soft shadows, ambient occlusion etc) but it's good enough.
    The camera angles allow for orthogonal views and you can adjust the field of view of the camera.

    What is quite cool is that because adjusting the pitch of the roofs is an easy global operation, if you want the roofs to catch shadow and you don't want the shadows to be really long, you can make the pitch of the roofs really steep. You won't see the super steep roofs in a top down orthogonal view which is quite cool.

    So here are some pics of the experiments showing top down orthogonal without texture, with texture and shadow (note how the shadows 'fall' properly over gabled roofs) and a forced perspective view. You can see how steep I've made the roofs in the first picture.

    The 'beauty shot' is the second picture. You can switch the black wireframe lines on and off, leaving them on gives a more 'graphic' outline look. I'm experimenting here with 'L' shaped procedurally generated buildings. CE does default L shaped, U shaped and the good old rectangular shaped. If you want to get more complicated than that, its a case of more involved coding.

    And here is a little video
    editing the streets on the fly. Note how the buildings redraw themselves to conform to the new street pattern.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Using City Engine-perspective.jpg   Using City Engine-top-orthagonal.jpg   Using City Engine-top-notexture.jpg   Using City Engine-top-perspective.jpg  

  5. #15
      Rhotherian is offline
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    My word, I want this! 00

    Normally, if I feel like building a modern Earth city, I turn to CitiesXL 2011, which is pretty sufficient. I've made one or two maps with it using screenshots, but this... THIS looks powerful!

    I'll download immediately (assuming it's a free download. If not... *sniff*)!

  6. #16
      gilgamec is offline
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    How do you find City Engine handles the street layout part? I've looked through some of their papers (even tried to implement some of their methods), and it seemed to me that their city layout stuff is predicated very heavily on the modern era - fast road transport, separate residential, commercial, and industrial areas, modern ideas of real estate pricing, and so on.

    The buildings, at least, look very cool!

  7. #17
      ravells is offline
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    Wow, I'd never heard of CitiesXL 2011 - thanks for the pointer.

    You can do street layouts in a variety of ways in CE.
    You can draw the streets yourself (adjust street width on the fly) you can have pavements/sidewalks if you wish (again you can adjust the width)
    You can import a DXF image of a streetmap, but CE will ignore the width of the line and set them to a single default 'major street' width which you will have to adjust manually to make minor streets (select street, type a width value or use a slider).
    You can get CE to generate a street pattern for you based on simple principles - radial, grid or organic. There are lots of options on max street length, splitting etc (although not as many options as in RPG City creator).

    You can do a combination of the above, so for example you can draw your major roads and then get CE to generate the minor road network inbetween them automatically and then edit afterwards.

    Modern cities are much easier to do, only because streets are less wiggly and the buildings are more uniform which makes them easier to texture. One thing I do like about it (haven't tried it yet) is that you can use map 'underlays' to provide building attribute probabilities. For example: If you want taller buildings to occur more in the centre of the city, you have a map underlay (say black on white) like a layermask. You can tell city engine that the darker an area on the underlay, the more likely buildings there should be taller. Or you could say that the darker the underlay the more likely they should be tudor style buildings in that area. That way you can define neighbourhoods quite well (that's the theory) - as I said, I haven't got to playing with that bit in earnest yet.

    There is just so much in this software to learn, but most of all the biggest learning curve is the cga language to make buildings and texture them. Again, quite straightforward for modern skyscrapers (which are mostly just cubes) but a bit more challenging with older, more ornate styles. If you need a 'one-off' building (e.g. a Colosseum, Palace, Castle etc ), you would probably build those using a 3d modelling engine and drop them into the map rather than building them using procedural code...although eventually I would like to be able to make simple procedural castles.

  8. #18
      Katto is offline
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    Any progress yet? I just ask because I've started to work with CE also, great tool!

  9. #19
      ravells is offline
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    Hi Katto, afraid not, i took a break to do this months contest and lots of r/l stuff going on the moment.

    Glad to hear you've got it though, I'm sure you'll produce some wonderful cities with it!!

  10. #20
      Katto is offline
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    Sure I will but I will be beaten easily by the master of city creation and that's you

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