Posted March 16, 2020

SideFX is bringing the GDC HIVE Online

SideFX is bringing the GDC Houdini HIVE presentations online on March 25-27 via Youtube. The first two days will be filled with educational and inspiring presentations by both SideFX technical experts and industry professionals. On Friday, we'll be live-playing games that were Made with Houdini!

2020 Houdini Games Reel




March 25


March 26


March 27

12:00 PM*

Creating reactive environments


Johannes Richter | Remedy Entertainment


12:30 PM

Crafting Procedural Assets
for Unity and Unreal

Simon Verstraete | SideFX

Blink Rogues

1:00 PM

From GameDevToolset to SideFXLabs

Paul Ambrosiussen | SideFX

Nanotale - Typing Chronicles 

1:30 PM

WaveFunctionCollapse Supercharged with PDG for Level Generation

Paul Ambrosiussen | SideFX

Destruction Tools and Techniques Used For Borderlands 3 

Caitlyn Trout | Gearbox


2:00 PM

The Secret Language of Houdini
for Games

Robert Magee | SideFX

Game Jam / Houdini Winner

2:30 PM

Grid-Based Games 

Patrick McAvena | Moving Pieces Interactive


3:00 PM



Planet Alpha

3:30 PM

Tips and Tricks for Improving VR Game Dev Workflows

Maria Mishurenko | Synesthetic Echo

The Morrigan VR

4:00 PM

Age of Empire II Definitive Edition, using a tool created in Houdini FX.

Jerome Hereng | Virtuos

It Just Needs to Work On Paper | Houdini R&D for Real-time

Mai Ao | Schell Games LLC

  Bizarre Barber VR

4:30 PM

Procedural Tools for Data Handling

Thomas Tobin | Ubisoft

Dodo Peak

5:00 PM

Borderlands 3

5:30 PM

SOP-Based Dynamics for Games

John Moncrief | SideFX

Make your Artists Love You

Thomas Tobin | Ubisoft

6:00 PM

Get Rid Of The Boring In Your Pipeline: How We Got Started

Florian Gantzert & Clemens Berger |  KLab Inc. 

Indie gamedev with Houdini and UE4 

Kristian Kebbe | Indie

6:30 PM

* All times in Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT)


12:00 PM EST | Wednesday | March 25 >>Creating reactive environments for CONTROL

CONTROL features a lot of reactive environments and destruction. The talk outlines the procedural workflows used to build the rich and engaging environments and the use of Houdini in the process.

Johannes Richter  | Remedy Entertainment

Johannes Richter has had a varied and illustrious career in the VFX industry with over 10 years experience in FX. As FX Supervisor at Framestore, he boast an array of VFX heavy Hollywood productions, including; Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy 2, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Poltergeist, Everest, Dracula Untold and Robocop. Johannes switched into Games to work on the award-winning CONTROL, and with Remedy he joined a studio known for its outstanding quality of work.

1:00 PM EST | Wednesday | March 18  >> From GameDevToolset to SideFXLabs
This presentation functions as a highlight of the changes to the toolset since last years GDC! Find out what the new tools are, how we've re-branded the GameDevelopmentToolset to SideFXLabs, and some other new improvements

1:30 PM EST | Wednesday | March 18  >> WaveFunctionCollapse Supercharged with PDG for Level Generation
The WaveFunctionCollapse algorithm is an amazing piece of tech that can greatly increase your workflow in bitmap generation, level generation and overall content creation. In this talk we will explore how to expand upon this using Houdini's massive toolkit of built-in tools.  See how you can use PDG to parallelize content creation and supercharge creative workflows for artists.

Paul Ambrosiussen | SideFX

Paul Ambrosiussen is currently a Technical Artist and Game Tools Developer at SideFX Software. He finished his BASc in Interactive Game Architecture and Design at NHTV University of Applied Sciences in Breda. Paul enjoys writing tools to support effective art-pipelines, and maintaining tool / workflow quality for the artists he is assisting. His goal is to help others create amazing things in a better, faster and more flexible way. He creates tutorials, gives live lectures, attends events, and presents custom workshops to customers.

2:30 PM EST | Wednesday | March 25  >> Procedural Modelling For Grid-Based Games  
A behind-the-scenes look at how Houdini was used to generate level art for an isometric game developed in UE4. This talk will showcase techniques for automatically exporting 3D grid data from Unreal and importing it into Houdini to generate fully-realized levels.

Patrick McAvena  | Moving Pieces Interactive

Patrick McAvena is one of the Co-Founders of Moving Pieces Interactive, a game studio based in NYC. Their current project, Dodo Peak, is currently out on Apple Arcade. Before starting Moving Pieces, Patrick spent a decade working as a 3D Artist on Commercials and Advertising.


4:00 PM EST | Wednesday | March 25 >> Age of Empire II Definitive Edition, using a tool created in Houdini FX.

This video presentation steps through the process of the procedural building and siege weapon destruction for the Microsoft game: Age of Empire II Definitive Edition, using a tool we created within Houdini FX.Our tool took advantage of Houdini’s ability to create complex simulated effects using constraints on our 3D geometry and parameters isolating various construction materials that make up the look of the model. These materials were flagged to crumble, fracture and collapse at various staggered times and then were rendered out 360 degrees as sprites for each frame of destruction.

Jerome Hereng | Virtuos

Jerome Hereng has been part of the VFX CG industry for about 15 years. His discipline includes areas of advertising, television series work and feature CG movies such as Despicable Me 1 & 2, The Lorax and Minions for Illumination studio. He joined Virtuos – Sparx about 5 years ago in order to build up the VFX department, that originally started with 3 artists and now has more than 45 people across several disciplines including lighting, compositing, cloth simulation, VFX in pre-render and real time rendering. The team is able to provide high end VFX for pre-rendered series work and cinematics, but also extends to the game industry creating procedural assets within Unreal, export their volumetric simulations using flip book or bridge rigid body simulations in game engines using skeletal mesh animation. His passion is to continue expanding his range of knowledge and to remain on the bleeding edge of technology, in order to be able to push the quality of his work further.

4:30 PM EST | Wednesday | March 25  >> Procedural Tools for Data Handling
I will be covering reconstructing game data in Houdini, pipeline tools to create an asset bank, Custom LOD HDA, PDG destruction testing.

Thomas Tobin  | Ubisoft

Thomas Tobin is a Procedural Tools artist at Ubisoft Montreal. He is currently developing procedural modelling tools, game pipeline tools and quality of life HDA's. He also teaches Houdini at the Game Art Institute online and has an intro to games course with Houdini. His goal is to smooth out art pipelines and create seamless transitions between DCC's with Houdini tools. 

5:30 PM EST | Wednesday | March 25  >>  SOP-Based Dynamics for Games
This session will break down the new trend of SOPs based workflows for creating dynamic simulations in Houdini. We will discuss the thinking behind the new Vellum, Pyro, and RBD Bullet workflows in SOPs, and see how these tools work hand in hand with specific “SideFX Labs” workflows to export data for use in game engines.

John Moncrief | SideFX

John Moncrief is the Education Training Lead at SideFX. Previously, he was the Resident Dynamics Instructor and Dynamics Curriculum Manager at Pluralsight Creative. John has been teaching various visual effects software packages to creative industry professionals for more than 15 years. He lives for the rush of seeing his pupils experience "light bulb" moments. His latest passion is making sure that no software or tools can get in the way of an artist expressing their creative vision.

6:00 PM EST | Wednesday | March 25  >> Get Rid Of The Boring In Your Pipeline: How We Got Started  
In this talk, Florian and Clemens will talk about poly-reduction of stylized hair, stylized hair workflow, going from Houdini to Unity with PDG and without Houdini Engine. They will also talk about High-to-low modeling pipeline, from ZBrush to Houdini to Substance, and Batch processing skinned meshes FBX with PDG.     

Florian Gantzert | KLab

Florian Gantzert is working on improving graphics and artist workflow across projects at KLab. He co-established and has been leading the Real-Time Rendering Research group since 2019.        

Clemens Berger | KLab

Clemens Berger joined KLab in 2017 as a 3D artist and has since worked on several release titles in a leading role. He co-established the Real-Time Rendering Research group, constantly endeavouring to find the magic formula for creating great looking models in the shortest possible time frame.        


12:30 PM EST | Thursday | March 26  >> Crafting Procedural Assets for Unity and Unreal
Building environments for games involves many steps from initial modeling to establishing the game-readiness of each asset. In this talk, Simon will introduce techniques that can be used by game artists to create procedural assets that have modeling, uv unwrapping, and baking built in. These assets can then be loaded into game editors such as Unity and Unreal using the Houdini Engine plug-in technology to maintain their procedural nature. Whether you are an indie artist or work at a AAA studio, these smart assets let you quickly art direct a level inside the game editor with the confidence that you are always generating game-ready art.

Simon Verstraete  | SideFX

Simon Verstraete is a Tech Artist that is passionate about building procedural tools and assets. By exploring these procedural techniques, he is able to build 3D models with speed and flexibility. During his studies at Digital Arts and Entertainment, he taught himself Houdini then started working on Indie games such as “Ary and the Secret of Seasons.” by eXiin. 

1:30 PM EST | Thursday | March 26  >> Destruction Tools and Techniques Used For Borderlands 3
This session will present an overview of the destruction techniques used for creating game-ready assets.  It will cover problems that were experienced during production and what subnetworks and tools were created to solve them. These problems range from generating simple consistent debris, to translating complicated rigid body simulation into shader data, accelerated by the gpu. This session is intended for tech and visual effects artists of all levels who are interested in destruction simulation.

Caitlyn Trout | Gearbox

Caitlyn Trout is a technical artist at Gearbox Software. She discovered technical art while in school at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy and afterwards interned at EA Tiburon. She’s been at Gearbox for the last 6 years contributing to multiple AAA titles including Borderlands: the Presequel, Battleborn and Borderlands 3. Her focus in the past has been coding art pipeline tools for multiple software packages but has shifted into pioneering new techniques on the research and development tech art team. 

2:00 PM EST | Thursday | March 26  >> The Secret Language of Houdini for Games
Soppity, Dop, Top, Lop…. When Houdini artists talk, it can seem like they are speaking in their own secret language. In this session, Robert explores how easy it is to understand "Houdini-speak" while introducing the different ways that a node-based procedural workflow can support your gamedev projects. Along the way, you will learn about the different types of nodes, networks and assets that you can create in Houdini and how they all work together.

Robert Magee | SideFX

Robert Magee is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at SideFX who has been working with Houdini for over 15 years. He has created lots of learning material such as the Houdini Foundations book which are designed to help artists get started with Houdini.


4:00 PM EST | Thursday | March 26  >> Tips and tricks for improving VR Game Dev Workflows 
Making a VR action game from start to finish with a team of 3 is more than challenging! However, with the power of Houdini, Vex, Python and some imagination, it's entirely possible. In this talk, Maria will share handy tips and tricks for improving many aspects of virtual reality game development workflows such as making concept art sketches, optimizing visual effects, generating procedural characters, rapidly iterating on level designs and even creating and rendering game key art.

Maria Mishurenko | Synesthetic Echo

Maria Mishurenko is an award-winning virtual and augmented reality developer, artist and game designer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is also a co-founder of the design studio Synesthetic Echo, which focuses on creating interactive experiences for emerging technology. Her recent virtual reality game Bizarre Barber was funded by Oculus and NYU Game Center Incubator.

4:30 PM EST | Thursday | March 26  >> It Just Needs to Work On Paper | Houdini R&D for Real-time
This talk is about the adventure and lessons learned at Schell Games where we developed an art-directable, high-performance crowd pipeline from Houdini to Unreal that can render thousands of characters in real time. We will also delve into the investment and return of creating a pipeline of HDAs to streamline our destruction workflow. Technical examples will be presented to show how Houdini's customizability enabled us to prototype and find creative solutions to problems.

Mai Ao | Schell Games

Mai Ao is a Technical Artist at Schell Games where he has been building new pipelines and game play features. He loves researching and taking on challenges. Mai earned his master's degree in entertainment technology at Carnegie Mellon University. Coming from a computer science and fine art background, he fell victim to the captivating magic of computer graphics. There is something about the connections between natural phenomenons, logic, and beauty that he finds deeply stimulating. In time, he wants to do his part in contributing to the advancement of the CG community.

5:30 PM EST | Thursday | March 26  >> Make your Artists Love You
Workshop on creating your own PyPanel HDA’s and quality of life tips and tricks.

Thomas Tobin  | Ubisoft

Thomas Tobin is a Procedural Tools Artist at Ubisoft. 

6:30 PM EST | Wednesday | March 26 >> Lucen: Indie gamedev with Houdini and UE4 
A breakdown of how Houdini is being used as the primary DCC for creating game assets in Lucen, a solo developed indie title. From modeling, to animation, to VFX and Houdini engine, this presentation covers the ins and outs of how Houdini is being used in all facets of Lucen’s game asset creation. 

Kristian Kebbe | Indie

Kristian Kebbe is a game developer and FX artist. Previously having worked in blockbuster VFX on titles such as Aquaman, Spiderman: Far from Home, and Captain Marvel, he is now pursuing solo game development with his first title, Lucen.


Join us as we live-play games made with Houdini - and chat with the developers of the games!