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Procedural City Generation

This project is concerned with designing an interactive city generation system for use in real-time applications. Our approach is to apply procedural techniques to generate the city in such a way as to facilitate dynamic gaming environments and online distribution. We are in the process of building an interactive application to manage the generation process from primary road creation to building construction. The focus of the system is on creating realistic large scale road networks and building models suitable for real-time rendering.

In particular we are interested in creating a system that addresses the following:

  1. Accessiblity - Input data such as geographical maps or geo-statistical data should not be prerequisite for using it.
  2. Interactivity - City generation can be fully autonomous but by allowing the option of user interaction the city can be tailored to specific requirements. The user should also be able to control the patterns that the city is formed from, on a local and a global scale.
  3. Real-Time - Rendering considerations must be taken into account for real-time exploration of the city. A city model is a very large data set and techniques like selective culling, paging and level of detail should be implemented.

Our approach to achieving these goals is to design a system that is comprised of three major components: primary road generation, secondary road generation and building generation. These components are integrated in a standalone application with all parameters and controls accessed through a visual interface providing an accessible workspace to perform city generation.

Under Relevant Publications below you can read a background research report we have written on procedural techniques for city generation and also examine our SIGGRAPH 2006 poster which describes the initial design of the system. We also presented a poster at SIGGRAPH 2007 that describes our current implementation. You can look at a video of this on the right and download the poster below.

Researcher: George Kelly
Project Leader: Hugh McCabe
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme
Duration: 2005-2007


Relevant Publications

Kelly, G. and McCabe, H., Interactive City Generation, Research poster to be presented at SIGGRAPH 2007, San Diego, CA, Aug 5th-Aug 10th 2007. Download poster.

Kelly, G. and McCabe,H., Interactive Generatiom of Cities for Real-Time Applications, Research poster presented at SIGGRAPH 2006, Boston, MA., July 30th - Aug 3rd 2006. Download abstract. Download poster.

Kelly, G. and McCabe, H. A Survey of Procedural Techniques for City Generation, ITB Journal, Issue 14, December 2006

Interactive Road Network Generation
(6.9 MB, AVI File, 2 minuntes and 3 seconds)

This video shows our current implementation of the City Generation system in action. The user rapidly creates a terrain mapped road network for a section of a city by interactively manipulating nodes of a graph. The system then automatically generated secondary road networks in real time. The buidings visible here are simple placeholders for more sophisticated buldings we will add in the future





The four images above show the different stages of the city generation process. Firstly a terrain model is imported. Secondly, an editable template representing the primary road network is mapped to the terrain. Thirdly, the closed loops within this template are filled with a procedurally generated secondary road network. Finally the lots thus generated form building footprints.