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Cesium Releases in July 2021

We’ve added updates across the Cesium platform this month, including significant improvements to CesiumJS. The latest release of CesiumJS comes with support for KTX 2.0, as well as a number of other fixes on our roadmap. 

CesiumJS 1.83 Release

CesiumJS 1.83 is now available, with a wide range of improvements. Highlights include:

  • Added support for KTX 2.0 and Basis Universal compressed textures, bringing transmission and runtime optimizations for global imagery.
    • Added support for glTF models with the KHR_texture_basisu extension.
    • Added support for 8-bit, 16-bit float, and 32-bit float KTX2 specular environment maps.
  • Added dynamic terrain exaggeration, making it possible to emphasize vertical features and subtle differences in Earth’s surface.
  • Added support for procedural terrain with CustomHeightmapTerrainProvider, a simple TerrainProvider that gets height values from a callback function.
  • Added the ability to hide outlines on Cesium OSM Buildings and other tilesets and glTF models using the CESIUM_primitive_outline extension.
  • Added options.fadingEnabled parameter to ShadowMap to control whether shadows fade out when the light source is close to the horizon.

In addition, this support included numerous bug fixes and better documentation. See the changelog for a full list of updates and links to the discussion & code on each one. You can also subscribe to the CesiumJS release thread on our community forum to get notifications about our monthly releases.

3 canyons with increasing depth showcasing Cesium's dynamic terrain

Exaggerating terrain features with dynamic terrain.

Procedurally generated terrain in CesiumJS.

Cesium for Unreal Updates

The latest release of Cesium for Unreal includes a number of bug fixes, as well as these highlights:

  • Tangents are now only generated for models that don't have them and that do have a normal map, saving a significant amount of time. If you have a custom material that requires the tangents, or need them for any other reason, you may set the AlwaysIncludeTangents property on Cesium3DTileset to force them to be generated like they were in previous versions.
  • The main Cesium panel now has buttons to easily add a CesiumSunSky or a DynamicPawn.
  • Add support for other types of glTF index accessors: BYTE, UNSIGNED_BYTE, SHORT, UNSIGNED_SHORT.

See the changelog for a full list of updates.

Sunflowers at the edge of a pond in Unreal Engine

One of the newest Cesium for Unreal tutorials demonstrates how to add plants and other meshes to your Cesium for Unreal project.

Powered by Cesium

The biennial Red Bull X-Alps was back this month, with live tracking in a CesiumJS app that followed the GPS tracks of more than two dozen athletes in a paragliding, running, climbing race through the alps. The app allows hundreds of millions of fans to follow the world’s toughest adventure race live.

Red Bull X-Alps 2021

Also this month Virgin Orbit began their commercial service of launching cubesats into orbit with their novel LauncherOne system. As with their demo launch earlier this year, Virgin Orbit live streamed the launch, including live tracking in Cesium.