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Assets [BETA RELEASED] CityGen3D | Procedural city generation from map data

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by CityGen3D, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. StevenPicard

    StevenPicard

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    Sounds like it could save a lot of time just as it stands. Are you considering releasing an early Beta on the Asset Store at a Beta price soon?
     
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  2. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Heightmap generation in CityGen3D requires use of a Bing Maps key, which you can obtain for free from Microsoft.

    All other data is from OSM. No plans to add in Google/MapBox support at this stage, although if you have your own data in another format it should be possible to convert it for use with CityGen3D.
    I'll be tidying up and documenting the API eventually to more easily support third party data integration, although short-term focus is on getting it working well via the UI.

    A lot of the processing you see is collision tests and some mesh generation. I think exploring the new ECS and Burst features of Unity will yield positive results, it's just not on the short term radar. So for now multi-terrains are processed one after the other. Eventually I hope that some of this processing can be done in parallel for fast generation of large environments.

    I'll be updating the website soon so people can get hold of the Beta more easily. Initially this will be GBP £40.
    The manual will be freely available to download as well. This will be updated regularly to give people an idea of what the current build can do before buying.

    The intention is to submit to Asset Store once it's been in beta for a while, maybe Christmas time.
    (Although there's no guarantee it will be approved).
     
  3. StevenPicard

    StevenPicard

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    Will those who purchase the Beta on your store get a license key for the Unity Asset store?
     
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  4. HeadClot88

    HeadClot88

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    I am also curious about this. :)

    That said @CityGen3D take my money!
     
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  5. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    I believe Asset Store publishers do get a handful of free codes to give away, but unfortunately not enough that I can promise everyone that buys early direct will get one.

    This is a tricky one because as an Asset Store addict myself I completely understand the convenience of having downloads in one place and easy access to updates. (Although two of my favourite assets, Simul TrueSky and Edy's Vehicle Physics Pro, I actually bought direct while in beta and I dont regret either of those!)

    Please keep in mind that buying direct still means you'll be given access to free updates. In fact, it's likely I'll make these available sooner to those that have purchased direct, while awaiting Asset Store approval each time.

    I should have a better idea of if/when CityGen3D will be on the Asset Store after first submission, which I hope to make before end of year.
     
  6. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    A few screenshots from recent tests.
    You can see how by spending a little time making more detailed house prefabs, with fences and gardens, you can create quite realistic looking environments.

    Note that you can attach a script to some of your meshes to ensure they align with uneven terrain. So although you'll make a house prefab with walls and fences along local zero y-axis, when they get instantiated onto your terrains, the fences will be automatically aligned to the contours of the road.
    The third screenshot shows that quite well, where there's a slight gradient on the road.

    screenshot1.png screenshot2.png screenshot3.png screenshot4.png
     
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  7. Bartolomeus755

    Bartolomeus755

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    Looks very good.
     
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  8. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    Will the power lines be wired? And will it be possible to move them by the mouse (with wire connections proper update)?
     
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  9. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    No not at the moment.
    The power tower was spawned via the Entities feature, which allows you to assign a prefab to a OSM node type.
    (Just like the post box on the right of the 4th screenshot).

    Before final release I hope to support mesh generation and placement along ways (a series of OSM nodes), which will give even more control.
    A common example of usage would be to extrude a wall mesh along a OSM way defined as "wall", but it would also serve to give a relationship between nodes in a way.
    This could ensure, for instance, that a series of power towers faced the next one in the line, and could allow you to extrude wires between them. But as of now, entities are just individual prefabs.


    Please remember that not all meshes and textures shown in these screenshots will be included as part of CityGen3D. In some instances I'm using third-party art to demonstrate the capabilities of the system and for testing.
    CityGen3D is primarily a tool to be used with your own art assets for continuity with your own project.

    That said, I've managed to source a really good selection of meshes and textures from various artists that are kindly contributing to the project for included demo scenes. This ensures it can be packaged in a "ready to use" state with example rule sets and prefabs.
    So I'll be detailing this more before release so it's very clear what is and isn't included.
    All assets in the recent demo video are included (so you could literally follow the steps in the video to achieve identical results without needing to hook up any custom prefabs).
     
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  10. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    Will CityGen3D work on Linux as expected?
     
  11. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    CityGen3D is being developed on Windows and is currently untested on other platforms.
    However it doesn't use any custom shaders, so there's no reason to think it wont, especially if you already use a certain platform for Unity and it works fine.

    The only thing I'm not sure on is library distribution. Most of CityGen3D is packaged in a DLL (and all written in C#). If I understand this thread correctly, as long as the import settings are correct, I think this should just work on Mac and Linux despite it being compiled on Windows 10.
    If anyone can confirm or offer advice on ensuring the project runs on Mac and Linux that would be great, as I naturally want CityGen3D to be available to as many people as possible.
     
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  12. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    Something similar:
    upload_2018-11-5_10-33-31.png
     
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  13. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Looks quite cool, although reportedly €9900 for standard package plus more for modules.
    And that's basically what I found during my research. There just wasn't anything affordable for indie developers that could do what I envisaged.

    I also think one of the key features of CityGen3D is its integration into the Unity Engine. Unity isn't just the end goal, it's how you interact with the tool. I think more and more, designers and developers want to prototype and build within the same engine for fast workflow and CityGen3D allows you to play around in familiar surroundings (if you already know Unity).

    It also means CityGen3D can easily take advantage of established Unity editor features. There's no export/import from an external app, and it allows CityGen3D to automatically optimise things for you for the engine, such as batching procedural geometry.
    Just a random example, but you can "paint" on a CityGen3D road once its been generated using the Unity terrain tools - because it is the Unity terrain!
    Don't like the real world heightmap, then get CityGen3D to build your city on a custom heightmap or one you've built with another Unity asset.
    So I think CityGen3D massively benefits from existing within Unity itself - I'm excited to see how people use it!
     
  14. ecm_dave

    ecm_dave

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    Really want to take a look at this, such a brilliant idea!
     
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  15. CaptCanada

    CaptCanada

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    Will this be able to be integrated with Gaia? I think this would be an awesome asset to use with Gaia to generate the terrain and your asset to generate a town/city for the terrain.

    Great work!
     
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  16. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    By default, CityGen3D will build your terrains for you based on your chosen location including downloading and applying a heightmap and texturing each one.

    However, one of the things I'm looking forward to seeing during the Beta phase is how people want to use the tool and how I can help integrate it into existing workflows for use with popular assets.

    Just like you suggested, some users may not want to use the CityGen3D terrain features and just want to use the road and side object generation on top of existing terrains.
    CityGen3D is modularised so you do each step in turn: data-> terrain-> water-> road-> roadside prefabs-> trees-> terrain detail.
    So in many cases it will very easy to integrate third-party assets into the workflow, at least to some level.

    BuildR2, GPU Instancer, Aquas, and MicroSplat are examples of assets I have used alongside CityGen3D already (so I'm a bit more familiar with those).
    Other assets quite high on the list for testing later will be Gaia, Vegetation Studio and River Auto Material (but I dont have them yet).

    Naturally the initial focus will be on ensuring the fundamental features work properly just in a default Unity + CityGen3D setup.
    But for sure, I think some existing assets could compliment CityGen3D very well, so it will be worth exploring specific test cases in more detail once the core CityGen3D framework is established and I get a better sense of how most people want to use it (so I can prioritise).
     
  17. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    I'd like to draw roads by hand also, in some places of the generated terrain. Like in PixelActive CityScape (unfortunetly discontinued since the end of 2010):





    An msi file of CityScape 1.8.6 Demo, if anyone is interested: https://yadi.sk/d/X7-ojh--Peq8Gw
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  18. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    One of the future features I'm really excited about is allowing the user to create custom 2D maps within Unity and using that as the input for the 3D scene creation, instead of downloaded data from the real world.

    If you see some of the screenshots posted earlier you'll see that when you select a location, CityGen3D downloads the data, and this is then viewable as a 2D map in your Scene view, before the 3D scene is actually created.
    The plan is to allow the user at that point to modify the 2D map by dragging roads around or modifying shapes of surfaces. So you could also start with a blank canvas and draw your own map in 2D by selecting a surface (eg farmland, residential, grass) or road type (eg motorway, service road) and clicking it out in 2D.

    Because of the unique way in which CityGen3D creates its roads it will handle complex junctions and intersections automatically once its converted into 3D, but all your design work will happen initially in 2D.

    Then lets say you want to change one of your farmland regions to a residential region. Just click it in 2D and select a different surface type from the drop-down and get CityGen3D to rebuild your scene while you have a cup of tea.
    Same with changing one of your roads from a single lane to a 6-lane motorway. You dont have to get involved in the tedium of re-connecting road meshes and aligning to a terrain and then removing your trees and terrain detail and repainting it. You just change the data input and get CityGen3D to rebuild the scene based on the rules you've set for different roads and surfaces.

    So there aren't currently plans for a 3D road extrusion tool within CityGen3D because it was designed very specifically so you can generate a city environment without having to make the roads manually.
    However, you should be able to use something like EasyRoads alongside CityGen3D if that's the sort of workflow you are after.
     
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  19. StevenPicard

    StevenPicard

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  20. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    I've been testing coastal generation and also waterway generation for streams and rivers defined by a line (rather than an area), so here are a few screenshots.

    All these screenshots are using supplied assets and default settings, so anyone could replicate the exact same scenes very easily just from clicking buttons via the CityGen3D UI in Unity.
    The water shader is just a Unity standard asset, but you could hook up your favourite one fairly easily for flow map support and added realism.

    The street lights that sometimes appear opposite each other instead of staggered really annoys me, so it will get fixed during the beta ;)

    The coastal shot is from a small part of Hayling Island on the England south coast. The others are from the same location as the recent walkthrough video, but covering 2km x 2km with 4 terrains, instead of just 1km single terrain.
    So you see a lot of the farmland around the village.

    CityGen3D Beta is basically in feature lock for initial release now, so it's just a case of tidying up a few bits and running some more tests before release via the website later this month.

    hayling.png
    screenshot0s.png
    screenshot1s.png

    screenshot2s.png
     
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  21. Bartolomeus755

    Bartolomeus755

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    That looks great, the coastal generation is extremely important for me because I'm working on a martime simulation. ;)
     
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  22. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Coastal scene generation needs quite specific testing because it requires additional data and processing.
    The reason being, when you download map data for a location, CityGen3D only downloads the data for that immediate area.
    (You dont want to waste time processing loads of world data you dont need, everytime you pick a new location).

    This is fine when your chosen location doesn't cross a coastline, but lets say you want to recreate a 1km scene on the coast, like I did in the first screenshot above.
    In my downloaded data set, CityGen3D will know of a coastline defined by a series of points through the extents of my chosen area only. But it wont have knowledge of the entire landmass (which could be really huge if the coastline is part of continental America, for instance). So how does CityGen3D "know" which side of the line is land and which is sea?

    This isn't a problem unique to CityGen3D, the same obstacle exists in OpenStreetMap itself. When OSM builds map tiles (the images you see when you browse an OSM map), it does so by referencing the local data *and* a separate data set containing all the landmass data in the world. This ensures it knows which side of any local coastline is land and which is water.

    CityGen3D solves the problem in much the same way by providing coastline data as a separate file in a CityGen3D format, so you dont have to download the same landmass data over and over again (which for the whole world is around 500MB). This data is split into regions (because the smaller the region, the faster it is to process).

    If all this sounds a bit complicated, don't worry! For the end user in CityGen3D you dont really have to think much about it. You just assign a suitable coastline file to the Coastline variable in the UI before processing the data and CityGen3D does all the work for you.

    The only reason I mention it now is that as of today I haven't got all the coastline files ready, so the very first Beta release will likely only have UK coastline data included. I'll be adding more and more as time goes on (and inland locations dont need it at all regardless of what location to you as your source data).

    USA and Europe are high on the list for adding in, so you wont have to wait too long for those to be available.
    But please let me know if you have any specific regions of the world in mind that you would like shuffled up the priority list.
     
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  23. StevenPicard

    StevenPicard

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    Looking awesome!

    This asset will save me so much time! Looking forward to it!
     
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  24. Bartolomeus755

    Bartolomeus755

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    Sound great, so I can send you an email with a small list with regions of interest. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
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  25. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Yes please do! It's good to be able to test in areas that I know people are interested in.
     
  26. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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  27. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    I came across this one while researching CityGen3D, it's pretty cool.

    Although as I said previously, I think CityGen3D benefits massively from being designed specifically for Unity from the ground up, and can be used without any coding whatsoever.
     
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  28. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    Exploring different, rather limited or expensive alternatives I'm waiting for a CityGen3D release with ever-increasing interest ;)
     
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  29. HeadClot88

    HeadClot88

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    Hey @CityGen3D
    When will I be able to buy this?
     
  30. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Hi,

    It will be available for download via www.citygen3d.com for GBP £40 later this month.
    Hopefully on Asset Store as soon as possible after that, probably January at the earliest.

    Price will likely have increased by the time it's available on Asset Store, so if you are interested in the tool while it's in beta it makes sense to get on board early.
     
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  31. HeadClot88

    HeadClot88

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    Thanks for the info :D
     
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  32. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    I'm delighted to announce that CityGen3D Beta is available to purchase via https://www.citygen3d.com/downloads for Unity 2017 and later. (Unity 5 and earlier is not currently supported).

    This beta version is aimed at users really keen to try the tool in its current state and wanting to provide feedback to help shape future development.
    Some features are currently not available, some are unoptimized, and there will be bugs!
    If you are looking for a more complete solution, please consider waiting until later in the beta phase (or for full release).

    The website has been updated recently to provide more information, including a link to the manual.
    Documentation is limited at the moment, but will be expanded on.

    Please allow 24 hours for receipt of your download link after sending payment.

    I can't stress this enough, but I highly recommend learning CityGen3D in a brand new project away from anything you are working on. If you do wish to experiment with importing CityGen3D into your own project, please back-up your work first!

    If you are unsure whether CityGen3D can be of use to you in its current state, or have any other questions not answered on the website, then please send me a message either on the forum or via citygen3d.com.

    Disclaimers now out of the way, I'm really excited to see what you can all do with it! :)
     
  33. Bartolomeus755

    Bartolomeus755

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    Sounds great, tomorrow I'm back. So i will purchase this tool tomorrow, can't wait to test the beta version. ;)
     
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  34. StevenPicard

    StevenPicard

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    I can't get it until next weekend (around Dec 8th) but I definitely need to get it! :)
     
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  35. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    Let's see it in action...

    ***
    Names of the downloaded PDF files are strange unlike the tooltips <>
     
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  36. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Yes, nothing to worry about, it is pointing to the correct file.
    It's just the website host link, which I don't have direct control over.
    You can rename them before (or after) saving to your computer, to something more readable :)
     
  37. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    Unfortunetely cannot download OSM data at all:
    Скриншот 2018-11-30 13.42.38.png
    (Internet works ok).
    No access to the http://www.overpass-api.de/api/ from the Chrome browser as well - only via the proxy like friGate.
    How to get the required OSM data from inside the Unity anyway?

    ======
    Update:

    changing address to http://overpass.openstreetmap.fr/api/ helped me,
    other Overpass API servers from https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Platform_Status didn't work (no access or no data returned).
    Maybe use something like a list of available OSM servers in the Location tab?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
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  38. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    I wonder whether certain servers are more reliable from different regions, because the server seems to be online, and the default has been very reliable for me. I've never seen that error dialog so it's good to know that shows up in the event of a server issue!

    I agree though, putting some popular server names in a drop-down list box is a good idea in case the default doesn't work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  39. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    There are troubles with OSM downloading again: tried to use the same workflow on Linux (Kubuntu 18.04, Unity 2018.2.7f1), the default and .fr addresses, in both cases the popup shows up and hangs near 50% indefinitely.
    Moreover, this window cannot be closed, Unity process cannot be killed (!). What's the catch?
    Screenshot_20181130_214359.png
     
  40. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Sorry to hear you are still having problems.

    Your first test was on Windows 10?
    Have you tried a different location (does the lat/lon coords from demo video work for you)?

    Looks like OSM server isn’t responding to your requests for some reason.

    I will look into this as priority and get back to you this evening with a few things to try.
     
  41. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    Thanks for the quick response. It's the first public Beta version of the software, so it's very natural to have some strange behaviour on different machines throughout the globe. This eliminates the possibility of boredom during beta testing ;)

    - The 1st time it was Windows 7. Now I'm installing new Unity via the Unity Hub on LInux, 2018.2.18.f1. Maybe download proress window will work differently on this version.
    - I tried different locations (Europe and the UK), all using the map navigation with the mouse; didn't use exact the same coords from the tutorial, however the location was quite close. I'll try the exact same location as well.
    - One more option for me - to try Windows 10 installed on the same SSD and not tested for now, maybe Unity on Windows works with OSM better.
     
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  42. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Thanks for understanding, and for the detailed information.

    Please could you enter this on the OSM API field on Location panel. (It's similar to the default server address but slightly different).
    https://z.overpass-api.de/api/

    Set Area to 1 terrain
    Latitude: 51.857
    Longitude: -0.114

    Then click Download and see what happens.
    CityGen3D will create this query and send it to OSM server. It shouldn't take more that a minute or two to download.

    If it still hangs or doesn't work in CityGen3D the next step is to work out whether it's a CityGen3D specific bug, or whether you have a more general issue communicating with the OSM server.

    Load your favourite browser and copy and paste this into the address bar:
    https://z.overpass-api.de/api/interpreter?data=(node(51.8523990696332,-0.121446856220111,51.8615978175738,-0.106553143899098);<;>;);out meta;


    This is the exact same query CityGen3D works out from your location and area settings.
    The browser should then ask you where you want to save the data. Just save it wherever you want, we are only testing the download (CityGen3D can't do anything with the external file at the moment).

    All being well you should get a file around 1.68mb.
    I've just tried that query in CityGen3D and also externally via Internet Explorer, Edge and Chrome, all without issue.

    Hopefully the results of these tests will help narrow down the cause of the problem.
     
  43. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    The https://z.overpass-api.de/api/ address in the Location tab and direct request in the browser (without proxy) both hang. Proxy in the browser allow to download the file "interpreter" ~1.7 MB.

    So, apparently, the hypothesis of unavailable server for some regions is correct. Even .fr request doesn't work (the first time I was lucky to use that alternative OSM address). But how to download the data automatically in the Unity every time it is requested?
     
  44. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

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    Thanks for the info.

    I think it may be possible to get Unity to use the same proxy as what's setup on your browser.
    Although most of the info I've found so far as about how to setup a proxy for WebClient builds, whereas we need it to work in the Unity Editor.
    I will continue to research this, but if anyone reading this has any knowledge of WWW requests in Editor via proxy, please let me know.

    In the meantime, given you are able to download the data via a proxy in your browser, I'm going to code a work-around whereby the location panel will output the OSM Overpass query address when you click a location on the map, so you can copy it and manually enter it into a browser. Then you would simply drag the downloaded data into an input field on the location panel.
    It's not ideal, but this would bypass the need to download the OSM data from within Unity for anyone unable to do so.

    I'm going to work on this over next few days, so I should have an updated build with this functionality in very soon.

    In the meantime, you should have a demo location database that gets installed when you import CityGen3D, so you can test CityGen3D with already downloaded data.
    Please follow these steps:

    Change your Data Source on Location panel to FILE instead of DOWNLOAD.
    (You may get null errors in the console at this points, that's a known issue, and wont effect operation in any meaningful way. This will be fixed in next build).
    In your Unity project go to CityGen3D\Resources\Locations.
    Drag the Watton-at-Stone location database (asset) from that folder into the Asset field on Location panel.

    You are now in exactly the same position you would be if you had downloaded the data afresh direct from OSM.
    Resume instructions in the manual to continue (Next step is to click Process button to process this data).

    Hopefully that will allow you to play around with some of the fun stuff, albeit in a fixed location.
    Once you are familiar with how it works a bit using this demo data, feel free to send me a request for a different location database and I make a few available to download while I code the work-around into the UI.
     
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  45. trig-ger

    trig-ger

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    -- In the Linux version of Unity --

    I dragged the .asset file as described above, hit Process and... the calculations took ~6 hours with >90% load of Intel Core i7 4 CPUs (8 with hyperthreading)! "Baking..." message and coastline progress dialog were shown during that. Then after the finish the coastline dialog didn't disappear:
    Screenshot_20181202_004053.png
    Now it prevents from saving the scene and exiting Unity correctly. However, what costline was mentioned there? Maybe totally different big scene was processed?

    Also I see a warning in the status bar: "Requested realtime /indirect resolution on mesh'' is too high, clamping to maximum system size (512x512). Lower the resolution setting".
     
  46. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Posts:
    171
    I think Unity was attempting to repeatedly bake lighting while CityGen3D was processing.
    At this point CityGen3D is creating a mesh for each map object to give you an interactive 2D map.
    As demonstrated in the video this should take just a matter of seconds to process, so hopefully turning baking off should fix this problem.

    Please turn off automatic baking of lighting via Unity Menu as follows:
    Window->Lighting->Settings->Scene Tab
    Untick "Auto Generate"
    Close Lighting window.

    That should get rid of the Baking and "Requested realtime /indirect resolution on mesh' is too high" messages.


    I also wonder if the demo location database was overwritten by a previous test you did.

    Just to be sure you are using correct file, please use the one in the zip file attached to this message.
    Place in YourProject\Resources\Locations, then set it to the Asset field as before on Location panel.
    (You could alternatively reimport that file from the downloaded CityGen3D Unity Package)

    The other thing to check would be to ensure you have the Layers setup correctly as instructed in manual.
    (It's a simple process, you just copy the TagManager.asset from the CityGen3D download zip, over the one in YourProject/ProjectSettings).

    Please let me know how you get on, thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  47. trig-ger

    trig-ger

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2018
    Posts:
    31
    I'm back and reporting the result.
    I followed the recommendations, now no baking, no resolution messages, the processing with one or more CPU load is very fast - okay with this. But the dialog about "processing coastline" still don't close, and there is an error message in the status bar: "FormatException: Unknown Char: .".
    Cannot exit Unity.
     
  48. CityGen3D

    CityGen3D

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Posts:
    171
    Thanks for the info.

    On the Processing section of the Location panel, please ensure Coastline JSON is set to Default Land.
    That should be the default setting on import, but maybe it's changed to something invalid.
    The file is located in YourProject\Resources\Data\Coastlines\

    The only other valid coastline file in current build is "UK & Ireland [-11_49_2_63].json", which would also work fine, but is only required for coastal locations within the specified lat/lon boundaries (around UK), and would take a bit longer to process.

    Default Land is processed very quickly under normal circumstances (the file is only 1kb), so if you still get that error with that file assigned, then it may be platform or Unity version specific. (Please try on Windows if at all possible, so we can rule that out, if you still have problems on Linux).
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  49. JacooGamer

    JacooGamer

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2014
    Posts:
    35
    Just bought it via the citygen3d website.
     
    CityGen3D likes this.
  50. trig-ger

    trig-ger

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2018
    Posts:
    31
    How many purchases have been made already I wonder?