I'm wondering if someone at ESRI (Chris Wilkins, Matthias Buehler, Brooks Patrick, Gert Van Maren, Thomas Fuchs, Cheryl Lau, ?) could comment on the future outlook of CityEngine specifically in regards to several features needed to complete many GeoDesign workflows. Specifically the need for higher quality renderings, interactive walkthroughs (by this I mean not just a tour but the ability to interact with the scene from a pedestrian perspective), and the ability to collaborate proposal scenarios (using actual detailed models not just generic rectangles).
Does the road map include integrating these capabilities through CE or will there continue to be a need for some type of rendering software or game engine? If a third party is recommended, do you have any suggestions? Something with a plugin built in (which means you'll continually have to do the compatibility dance) or just something that accepts an industry standard import? Is there an industry standard? It seems there are a dizzying array of options and I'm hesitant to commit myself down a path both financially and temporally (?) without knowing where we are headed.
My primary workflow with CE currently revolves around providing our Design Review Board with visualizations of proposed developments. I'm comfortable using CE as the workhorse for model creation, both procedural and manual, but I've been using LumenRT for the final presentation primarily because of the ability to walk through the scene. I'd prefer to bring as much of the workflow under the ESRI umbrella as possible (a fact which I'm sure will be pleasing to certain ears) because of the robust user communities and support. Obviously that's not possible now. I've seen a fair bit of evidence saying I'm not alone in wanting many of these capabilities or at least perhaps a recommended strategic path forward.