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Feedback Anyone with experience in Esri CityEngine? My thoughts after using it for some time ;)

Discussion in 'Formats & External Tools' started by OrlovskyConsultingGbR, Aug 2, 2020.


Did you already touched city engine?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. I plan to do this

  4. No , because lincense fee is way to expensive!

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. OrlovskyConsultingGbR


    Mar 17, 2020
    Hi all!

    It would be interesting to know if anyone tried to use esri city engine assets in Unity3D commercial project.
    Here is full tutorial about this city engine, if anyone interested:

    I am not in any way affiliated with the company behind this city engine, i am just a freelancer and indie developer who look for "shortcuts" and i did "played" with CityEngine last month around.

    My impression as it is : esri company use a "awkward" UI from Eclipse IDE (in my case i compared the city engine version 2019 with Eclipse Equinox ver 3.6), most of the code in city engine editor which you can touch is in python, this actually pretty strange , because as i understand the application itself was written in java.

    What i like about this particular tool, you can use real city GPS position with street's lines from actual google map position and then this tool generates and alow you to customize buildings, or even better you can create own city map with streets network and then
    City engine recognize the "places" where to put buildings on the terrain and voila you have created a city without spending too much time and if you need you can customize each of the buildings.

    Here is a example from Unity3D with assets from City Engine:

    Real usage cases:
    Big companies like Pixar used this engine to generate whole city for movie Incredibles 2.
    This tool was used actually in the movie: Independence Day: Resurgence
    I mentioning this just to give your a reasonable comparison, who already used this tool and how they were successful in their big projects.
    But this tool comes with hefty price (ask esri for that, if you interested).

    Here 4 things which i didn't liked about this tool:

    1. This tool is not straight forward , you need spent some time and watch the tutorials and understand how the full potential of this tool can be realized.
    2. The exporting of assets from CityEngine version 2019 to Unity3D was not simple, i tried many different settings before i was able to extract it in full quality.
    3. The documentation is limited for free users and full access only for users who own a license, which once again pretty expensive like for my taste.
    4. If you think in term of opensource or extension or support your are pretty dependent from esri as a company, there no sourcecode available, even for commercial users.

    So what do you think?
    if you have time you can grab a 30 day free trial version and just test it out!

    If anyone already use this tool on commercial Unity3D project, then tell me what how was your experience with this tool?
    Maybe, there exist another alternatives to esri City Engine, because it looks cool and save lot of time and just imagine how many epic scenes you can create with this tool?

    I am just interested in sharing my experiences , maybe i missing something so your feedback on this particular topic would be very appreciated!
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
    unity_YX3Siex9xVV09w likes this.
  2. OrlovskyConsultingGbR


    Mar 17, 2020
    Addition: As cool as it sounds , still i am not convinced how useful this tool with Unity3d project, still anyone interested let me know i would gladly help to boost your project.