ArcGIS CityEngine 2022.1 Splash Screen

This last month has been a bit hectic, do not worry it has all been good and busy with CityEngine knowledge transfer and project support for a couple of big clients. You see CityEngine (and you will know this if you read this blog occasionally) is fantastic for fast iteration over master plans for urban areas. What’s really nice is seeing that 3D model of an area produce metrics (reports) that we can export to a CSV for use in downstream work of the initial designs. CityEngine’s flexibility is its strength and the clients I’ve worked with use a variety of software tools before and after CityEngine to get the products they want. My favourite simple workflows centre on GIS to CityEngine to either ArcGIS Online (a Scene View or a custom JS App) or Twinmotion (hence the image at the top and below here)

Fancy rendering of a new side project I am working in using my old Animal City rules on top of geographic data and exporting to Twinmotion

Anyway enough about me and endless quest for more work in a couple of months! This post is about the recent release of CityEngine 2022.1. What can I say? Well I am still a little upset that .0 aren’t reserved it seems for bigger feature releases and .1 for bug fixes etc… but what do I know about software development management?! My point is that I like to at least get used to a new CGA or python function/operation for a year before I feel comfortable with it for use with clients etc…

The usual semi-regular disclaimer here, these are my opinions based on my life and work experiences. Yes my company (Garsdale Design /GD3D) is an Esri partner, and no they do not pay me for these posts.

Integration with ArcGIS Urban

Yup more work has gone into aligning more functionality with Urban. I have to be honest, I don’t use Urban a lot and nor am I likely too. My clients like CityEngine’s functionality and Urban just doesn’t really fit their workflows yet. Now if the team at Esri ever let us use rule packages in a regular Scene view without ArcGIS Urban I would be very interested! A big concern has been how sometimes CityEngine versions don’t keep up with ArcGIS Urban and vice versa, it makes it difficult managing things and because the CityEngine team don’t seem to do bug fixes outside of the .0 .1 releases I get nervous.

Get Map Data 8K

Okay this life saving tool needs more love and attention than it gets from the CE team (HELLO HOW ABOUT SAVING COVERAGES PLEASE? šŸ˜€). They’ve fixed a bug which was causing many of us grief with odd server warnings. A speeding up of small extents downloads seems to have happened, and we can now download better resolution basemaps up to 8K!

New CGA – splitAndSetbackPerimeter

Example of new CGA operation splitAndSetbackPerimeter

Now this I could have done with for client a couple of months back, basically it is what it says. This code allows for better control of permitter block typologies which, believe me, are popular building typologies.

Example of new CGA operation splitAndSetbackPerimeter same initial shape as previous image but now with shipping containers!

Updated and New Tutorials

I get a lot of people asking “are there any good free training resources for CityEngine?”. I don’t get offended by this I do a lot of training and some people do better by being self-taught (like myself!). I’ve naturally directed them to the tutorials Esri have done, unfortunately I know that it’s a thankless task writing these and no one wants to pay for it to be done so these have often been lagging behind current releases. So, I really appreciate that some attention has been given to this. I see these have been created by Devin Lavigne of Houseal Lavigne Associates, I hope he has been properly been enumerated for this!

Street and block improvements

Lots of little bits of improvement here, ability to reverse direction of streets will be useful for those who like using textures. Snapping improvements are better and intersection with other segments work nicer.

Inspector –

I know I got a ‘name check’ about issues with styles and 2D array attributes in the release notes, thank you! A fix here is much overdue, did I tell you I really like styles and wish they got a bit more attention? HINT can we interact with them in some way with python?

Copy and pasting of attributes should come in handy as is general improvements with speed and UX issues.

Window Panes and the 3D Viewport

Okay you could do this in the 2022.0 release, but now you can detach the CGA and Python window panes and place them on other monitors. If you’re a power user this will really help!

I had to check in the changelog about this when I noticed this feature whilst using CityEngine the other day. Okay so when you drag a rule into the viewport and it doesn’t land on an existing shape, a small square polygon shape is created and a the dragged rule is applied to here. I can see a use case for this, but also can see issues of users creating lots of small squares without realising it. I am not 100% sure I like this, but maybe in time I will have a different opinion?

Best till last

FINALLY they have changed the default behaviour type for street ends from ’roundabouts’/’cul-de-sac’ to Crossing. This has been a major annoyance of mine for a while and my complaints had fallen on deaf ears, perhaps Esri developers do listen to me occasionally šŸ˜‚


Okay so this hasn’t been a big release hey maybe it is a .1 release thing! There are more improvements behind the scenes I think that haven’t been listed. As usual I really appreciate the work Esri developers have put in. Should you download it? Yes of course if for nothing else but for Get Map Data 8K improvements and of course the splitAndSetbackPerimeter CGA addition!

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