ArcGIS CityEngine

Page contributed by Nicholas Bottone

What is CityEngine?

CityEngine is advanced 3D modeling software for creating huge, interactive and immersive urban environments in less time than traditional modeling techniques. The cities you create using CityEngine can be based on real-world GIS data or showcase a fictional city of the past, present, or future.

Using ArcGIS Pro or CityEngine, you can import map data and then visualize it alongside CSV datasets on the desktop or in VR. CityEngine supports exporting to Unreal Engine, where they support a collaborative VR experience app.

Download CityEngine/ArcGIS

CityEngine is unfortunately not free. You can download a 21-day free trial by signing up with a business email at their business trial page here. Brown Software Catalog allows downloading the ArcGIS Pro suite if you are a current Brown community member from here. You may also need to join the Brown University ArcGIS Online organization to get a license.

Download Unreal Engine

To develop with Unreal Engine, you must first download Visual Studio (not VS Code). Select all options related to C++ game development during the installation wizard. After Visual Studio is installed, download the Epic Games Launcher and download the latest version of Unreal Engine (currently 4.27.x). In the Marketplace, search for "CityEngine VR Experience" then create a project using their template. When prompted to recompile the full project, choose yes. This will take many minutes.

What You Need

To develop with CityEngine and with Unreal Engine, you will need a powerful setup with all the prerequisite software installed. After compiling an Unreal Engine app, you can install it on any machine, even those that do not have all the complex engines installed. This can be used to distribute a project. The installed project will then run in Steam VR.

ArcGIS Pro vs CityEngine

Controls (Oculus Quest 2 and others)