In the last few days, I jumped into searching is there a conventional/convenient way to build 3D architecture quickly, most likely by some accessory software like CityEngine, BIGEMAP, or google maps' Maps SDK for Unity.

However, I couldn't figure out the most suitable solution that typically suits the requirement of "generate 3D architecture models by the racing road which is referencing the real world map", or just simply "build a massive amount of 3D architecture models", efficiently and handily.

I want to achieve buildings similar to those seen in Need For Speed and Asphalt. Their buildings in the scene are quite outstanding to me.

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How can I generate buildings similar to this?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like you've reviewed several possible tools for this. What about them do you currently find "not sufficiently suitable" for your needs? If we can focus on overcoming that one gap, it will likely be easier and faster than building a brand new building generation system from scratch. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented Apr 15, 2021 at 13:51

2 Answers 2


CityEngine is one of many tools used to make Need For Speed. EA didn't use CityEngine as a start-to-finish solution. It sped up their development by reducing time spent on certain tasks so it could be reinvested elsewhere:

Game artists aren’t looking for a one-button procedural solution. Instead, they’re interested in procedural methods that help with tedious tasks and provide results that adjust to gaming constraints. Procedural methods should free artists to spend time creating and polishing, rather than performing mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks

In terms of using CityEngine efficiently:

Effective use of the CityEngine, and indeed almost any urban-modeling tool, requires familiarity with architecture. You should begin by acquiring a good understanding of basic building elements such as windows, doors, columns, pilasters, quoins, gates, roofs, cornices, arches, walls, and ornaments. We recommend examining one to three architecture books with labeled illustrations of these elements. One of the best is by Köpf and Binding, but unfortunately it’s available only in German. A similar book is a Visual Dictionary of Architecture

From there, EA identified their typical high level work flow as follows:

  • Design idea/concept
  • Analyze design and parameters
  • Create elements and textures
  • Encode design rules
  • Add stochastic behavior
  • Generate models

Notice that CityEngine is only used at the last step. It can be used to build a massive amount of 3D architectural content efficiently and handily. But doing so is contextual relative to the time and work spent prior to that step.

For information about how CityEngine was used in Need For Speed, I recommend reading Procedural Methods for Urban Modeling Tutorial Procedural Urban Modeling in Practice. The paper's co-authors includes two staffers from EA that worked on the Need For Speed series and the cofounder of Procedural Inc (developer of CityEngine). The quoted text blocks are from that paper.


AFAIK they achieve this by

Parameterized Procedural Placement

They create a workflow where you create a handful assets in this case building floors and they procedurally tweak the parameters such as Floor count,size,tint and custom props such as air conditioning outside of the buildings.

I once a saw a video about ubisoft creating a procedural assasins creed city.They premade a bunch of houses and spread them randomly.

You should desing a workflow where you control how your building floors are stacked on each other and how each floor has its own specific unique props.

This is what i would do

  • I would decide what a building floor means to me.These would be my parameters: IsGroundFloor?, width and height of the floor, how many windows, a balcony?, general tint color of the floor material and unique set of models.(Such as vegatation, flowers, air conditioning or a satallite dish perhaps?).
  • I would decide how many floors should a building has.Define the minimum and the maximum
  • I would decide what will be the floor independent objects such as fire escape ladder which starts from ground to the top of the building, some garden? or fences?

with these parameters one can create wide range of different buildings considering you feed your procedural workflow with enough assets


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