SideFX is pleased to announce that Houdini Engine for UE4 and Houdini Engine for Unity are now available for commercial customers for free. Previously free for artists using Houdini Indie, this now gives commercial artists and studios the ability to widely deploy procedural assets created in Houdini to the UE4 and Unity real-time 3D platforms for use in game and XR development, virtual production and design visualizations.
Through the power of Houdini Engine, procedural tools and assets built in Houdini with custom-tailored interfaces can be brought into UE4 and Unity, and used by game artists whether they know Houdini or not. Houdini Engine does the processing work on the assets, and delivers the results back to the editor. These procedural assets work within the editor for content creation and are baked out before going to runtime.
The Houdini Engine plug-ins have been used on numerous shipped games - just a few examples include King’s Candy Crush, eXiin’s Ary and the Secret of Seasons, and Fishing Cactus’s Nanotale - Typing Chronicles.
Houdini Digital Assets have become an indispensable part of our content creation pipeline. Being able to use them in our game editor for free studio-wide is a real game changer!
Jerome Hereng | Art Director FX | Sparx* - A Virtuos Studio
The UE4 plug-in has been recently updated to a second version that has a redesigned core architecture and is more modular and lightweight. This version includes a new interface, support for world composition, blueprint support and a wealth of improvements and enhancements.
Customers can access up to 10 of these licenses per studio through the SideFX website, and request as many as they need through their account manager. For other host applications, such as Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max, proprietary plug-ins, and for Batch processing on the farm, Houdini Engine licenses are available for rent. These licenses are also available as volume rentals for medium and large studios.
Houdini Engine Indie will continue to be free for limited commercial projects where the indie studio brings in less than $100K USD.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL HOUDINI ENGINE PIPELINE LOOK LIKE?
Within a studio environment, a smaller tech team using interactive Houdini Core or Houdini FX would create digital assets to meet the needs of a project. These assets would be designed to allow for customization while ensuring that they output clean geometry with collisions and optimizations such as instancing. These interactive licenses are paid licenses.
Meanwhile the rest of the studio uses the FREE Houdini Engine for Unreal/Unity licenses to consume those assets. The assets become a part of the project files and level designers are able to manipulate these assets freely. If an asset needs new functionality then the tech team would make an update and the changes would propagate throughout the project since the assets are always being referenced into the host applications.
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET THE HOUDINI ENGINE PLUG-INS WORKING?
The Houdini Engine plug-ins get installed into Unity projects via a package and directly into the UE4 GUI. You also need to install the complete Houdini software [18.5.499+] which will be called upon “under-the-hood” when the plug-in is processing assets. And then you need your licenses loaded into the license manager to make them available.
WHAT BUILD OF HOUDINI DO I NEED TO ACCESS THESE LICENSES?
These licenses will be available in Houdini 18.5.499 and above. You can use an older version of the 18.5 License Manager but build 499 or above is needed for the new license to be recognized when working in Unity and Unreal.
WHAT HOUDINI ENGINE LICENCE DO I NEED TO RUN MY PLUG-IN?
Houdini Engine provides free commercial licenses that work with both the UE4 and Unity plug-ins and there are also free indie licenses for all the plug-ins. For all other host applications, including proprietary plug-ins, and for Batch processing on the farm, commercial Houdini Engine licenses are available for rent. These licenses are also available as volume rentals for medium and large studios.
WHAT HAS CHANGED WITH THIS ANNOUNCEMENT?
Houdini Engine now offers free access to plug-ins for both UE4 and Unity. This means that studios can collaborate on game levels that contain Houdini Digital Assets without worrying about running out of Houdini Engine licenses. This allows for wide deployment of these assets.
CAN I USE THESE HOUDINI ENGINES LICENSES TO BATCH PROCESS OR RENDER?
No. These licenses only allow you to work with the Unity and Unreal plug-ins. Batch processing, rendering and the use of other plug-ins such as Maya or Max will require a Houdini Engine rental.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT INDIE CUSTOMERS?
This announcement is for commercial customers. Indie customers continue to have access to up to 3 FREE Houdini Engine Indie which work with both the Unity and Unreal plug-ins. This announcement does not affect STEAM customers using Houdini Indie.
DOES HOUDINI ENGINE GIVE ME RUNTIME ACCESS TO THESE HOUDINI'S PROCEDURAL TOOLS?
No. These plug-ins let you work with procedural assets inside the game editors but once the game is compiled the assets are automatically baked out for use in gameplay. Assets can be set up to support instancing to ensure efficient gameplay.
DO THESE LICENSES GIVE ME ACCESS TO ALL THE FEATURES IN HOUDINI?
Yes and No. These licenses do not give you access to the Houdini GUI but digital assets created in Houdini can use any feature that outputs data that is compatible with your game engine. These assets will then act as the toolset that you can bring into Unity and UE4. These tools can be built in-house using Houdini Core or Houdini FX or they can be built by third party authors and shared or sold online.
CAN I ACCESS SESSION SYNC USING THESE LICENSES?
No. Session Sync is a feature that allows you to run Houdini next to your game editor and the two apps are synced so that changes made using either of them is reflected in the other. Because Session Sync makes use of the Houdini GUI, the free licenses do not give you access to this feature. A Houdini Core or Houdini FX license is needed to run both the GUI and the Houdini Engine plug-in at the same time.
CAN I USE THESE LICENSES TO PROCESS PDG TASKS SPAWNED BY MY ASSET?
Yes and No. PDG is a toolset within Houdini designed to distribute tasks and manage dependencies. These tasks can be incorporated into digital assets that are loaded into Unity and UE4 then processed within the editor. While Houdini Engine will let you load the asset and distribute the tasks, the tasks will need paid Houdini Engine licenses to process whether you are using local cores or cores on a compute farm.