Has anyone used the Procedural CityEngine to generate levels in real-time?

It seems to get used in production or pre-production due to its sizable overhead, but has anyone tweaked it to run in real-time either in a test or in a game?

Edit: Please include the person or group who did this, the game or test it was used in and a brief description of how it was done.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, outside of a yes or no what are you asking here? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2010 at 0:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, what you want to know exactly? \$\endgroup\$
    – speeder
    Aug 10, 2010 at 0:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Noctrine: so? i thought that was the primary kind of question that SE sites liked... \$\endgroup\$
    – RCIX
    Aug 10, 2010 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RCIX It just seems like the user is looking for something else. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2010 at 13:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Consider rephrasing the question "How can the Procedural CityEngine be used to generate levels in real-time?" - see my comment on my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ricket
    Aug 10, 2010 at 17:11

3 Answers 3


my name's Matthias Buehler, i am content manager at procedural, inc.

to get an idea about the current way to implement the cityengine in a game pipeline, check out the following show case: http://www.procedural.com/showcase/showcases/destroyed-city.html

this is a game which was created from scratch by a few students. the guy responsible for the level layout used the cityengine to create all building geometries. the assets of course were of course modeled in an other 3d application.


you guys are referring to a methodology to create models (in different LODs) directly from within a game ("realtime"), (without having to start the CE and export the models) by directly calling the cga shape grammar engine. this is currently not possible, but we have been asked about this many times already. some of our current development goes in that direction, since one of our main focus is the game market.

the workflow so far is - of course - to create a pool of meshes in different LODs and load them in dynamically (proximity based, ..), as it's done in almost all games today.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Matthias Have you thought about allowing developers to package the cga shape grammar engine with games? I say this because it might make an interesting in game level editor/generator even if it is not used in real-time. Imagine if a game generated cga grammars from player supplied data text, music, images. The player could traverse a world that mirrored her data. \$\endgroup\$
    – smothers
    Aug 12, 2010 at 23:05

(sarcasm here)

But in all seriousness, I think your best bet at this time would be to contact the company regarding this usage of their product. It has been my experience that companies are very willing to support their product, especially if you are a customer or potential customer, and you would get the best answers from the actual developers of the product.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you mention their names, or is it a secret? \$\endgroup\$
    – smothers
    Aug 10, 2010 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't a clue. I'm just guessing, and I answered your original question of "has anyone used it?" Now with your edit you might get some useful responses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ricket
    Aug 10, 2010 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have to apologize, I mistook your question to be "has anyone used _" but instead it's "has anyone used _ to do [thing which is not originally intended for it]", which seems valid. Though it's still not the best way to ask this. You might get a better (or less hateful/non-serious) response from rephrasing the question "How can the Procedural CityEngine be used to generate levels in real-time?", and actually ask how it can be done. If that's your question, anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ricket
    Aug 10, 2010 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries, I'll refrain from putting questions in the title from now on because many people probably just glance at it. \$\endgroup\$
    – smothers
    Aug 10, 2010 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Smothers Titles in the form of a question are still preferred. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 13, 2010 at 1:32

Best option would involve asking the creators if it is possible or anyone has done it.

Why exactly would you want to run it in game? Doesn't seem to have much of a point. Even if you could run it in game, the amount of watering down would be huge. Thus rendering it mediocre or worse.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I asked the creators to chime in here actually. Wondering if they will. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2010 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ooh. Hope so, would be good to get some better placed advice. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 10, 2010 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that if it can be run in game it might be a way to generate infinite levels. Why must the rendering be watered down to run in real time? The scale of the world generated in each pass would be limited but because we are continually generating geometry we only need to worry about the resolution of the area immediately surrounding the PC. The CityEngine can even handle LOD directly. \$\endgroup\$
    – smothers
    Aug 10, 2010 at 21:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ "It seems to get used in production or pre-production due to its sizable overhead" \$\endgroup\$ Aug 11, 2010 at 9:41

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