Developers

Announcing ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Game Engines 1.2

Today we’re announcing the release of version 1.2 of the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Unity and for Unreal Engine! Version 1.2 continues to build on our dual-purpose mission to bring accurate real-world geospatial data to game engines and to integrate GIS seamlessly with game engine app development. This release includes foundational support for the Building Scene Layer, plus the ability to combine multiple elevation sources, improvements to scene layer rendering and performance, and enhancements to the developer experience.

Building scene layers

Building scene layers enable you to visualize highly detailed, complex 3D models of buildings and interact with the individual components that make up the fabric of the building, such as windows, walls, and pipes. Using ArcGIS Pro, you can publish building scene layers from design files such as Autodesk Revit (.rvt) and then visualize and interact with them in Unity or Unreal Engine from services when online, or scene layer packages when you need to go offline.

Turanga Library, Building Scene Layer
Building scene layer representing the Turanga Library in Christchurch, New Zealand (building data provided by Christchurch City Council).

These layers are often created through Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows and are commonly used in the architecture, engineering, construction, utility, and transportation industries. You can share one or many building scene layers and visualize them together in a scene. This allows you to bring multiple buildings together and view them in their spatial context and landscape. You can visualize different aspects of your building, such as the pipes, to better understand the internal and external systems of the building. To enable this interactive experience, building scene layers are structured as an overview (typically the exterior shell) and the full model, which can then be sub-divided into the different work disciplines such as architectural and electrical, and categories within disciplines such as walls and lighting.

Interior view of the Turanga Library building scene layer (building data provided by Christchurch City Council)

Depending on the workflow you follow to create your scenes in Unity or Unreal Engine, to support working with building scene layers you’ll see updates to the Layers tab of the Map Creator UI (Unity) / Modes Panel UI (Unreal Engine), the Components view, and the API. Today you can use the API to build user experiences for interacting with the contents of a building scene layer, such as changing sublayer opacity or visibility via types including ArcGISBuildingSceneLayer, ArcGISBuildingSceneSublayer, and ArcGISBuildingSceneSublayerDiscipline. Future releases of the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Game Engines will add support for sublayers represented by point scene layers and UI components that you can use in your apps for interacting with and filtering building scene layers.

Multiple elevation sources

You can now combine multiple elevation sources in your game engine scenes, enabling you to have both large-scale elevation layers with global coverage and higher resolution regional or local elevation layers that may be project- or site-specific. Elevation sources are supported from tiled image services and tiled image packages, compressed with LERC encoding. Depending on the workflow you follow to create your scenes, you’ll see updates to the Elevation tab of the Map Creator UI (Unity) / Modes Panel UI (Unreal Engine), the Components view, and the API. When you have multiple elevation sources, the last item added to the collection will take precedence and will be displayed topmost in the Map Creator UI / Modes Panel UI.

Other enhancements

Download and get started

To get your hands on version 1.2, go to the ArcGIS Developers web site, sign in, browse to the ArcGIS Maps SDK page of your choice, and download the SDK. If you’re new to developing with our Game Engine Maps SDKs, simply sign up for a free ArcGIS Developer account then head over to the Get Started page in the ArcGIS Maps SDK for Unity or ArcGIS Maps SDK for Unreal Engine documentation.

About the authors

Mike Branscomb is a Product Manager for the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps and ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Game Engines. With over 20 years of experience working in the Esri ecosystem, he specializes in .NET, Local Server, and 3D Scene Layers. Mike is also a Scrum Product Owner with over 10 years of experience guiding teams through the product development lifecycle.

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Rex Hansen is a Product Manager for the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps and ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Game Engines. He has over 25 years of experience in GIS, spatial analytics, and computer mapping. Currently, he guides the development of native technologies in the GIS industry to use authoritative geospatial content and analysis in offline workflows, photorealistic experiences, and immersive, extended reality solutions.

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Nick Furness

Nick Furness is a Product Manager for the ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps, and Game Engines, specializing in Swift and iOS. He's spent over 20 years working in the GIS space building projects ranging from small mom-and-pop solutions all the way up to enterprise utility and national government deployments. Nick presents at various Esri Developer Summits, the User Conference, and many other events, almost always talking about something to do with the Native Maps SDKs although you might find the odd bit of JavaScript thrown in there.

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