Houdini Engine for 3ds Max
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Houdini Engine for 3ds Max requires persisting certain user configuration data that is not scene specific. This section will provide a description of the various configuration files and their purpose.


All of the plug-in's configuration data is saved in a folder that 3ds Max defines as the "plugin configuration" folder. The location of this folder can be found in 3dsMax.ini which can usually be found in the local AppData folder for that particular 3ds Max installation.

Editing Configuration

Configuration settings are automatically saved to their appropriate file when 3ds Max shuts down. The plug-in will save all relevant configuration settings which are exposed via the plug-in's user interface.

As an alternative, all configuration files are editable text files and can be manually edited.

User Settings

User specific settings are saved in HoudiniEngine.ini.

Setting Description
Session\HoudiniEnvironmentFiles The Houdini environment paths that get passed to the main Houdini scene when it is initialized in HAPI
Session\OtlSearchPath The directory where HDAs are searched for
Session\DsoSearchPath The directory where generic DSOs (custom plugins) are searched for
Session\ImageDsoSearchPath The directory where image DSOs (custom plugins) are searched for
Session\AudioDsoSearchPath The directory where audio DSOs (custom plugins) are searched for
Selection\GrabHDARootNode When this option is on, a user can select an HDA via its child geometry in the scene
OnStart\AutoStartSession When this option is enabled, the plugin will automatically start a session when 3ds Max starts up, therefore loading any installed shelf tools and other assets configured to load when a session is started
OnStart\AutoStartWindow When this option is enabled, the plugin will automatically open the user interface for the plugin when 3ds Max starts up
OnStart\LoadHDADirectory Specifies a folder from which the plug-in will load all .otl and .hda files it finds whenever a new session is started
Assets\HdaRepository Specifies a search path for HDAs. When loading a scene and attempting to reload HDAs that are used in the scene, the plug-in will look in this search path (if necessary) for the HDA file that it needs
Debug\TemporaryDirectory This specifies the folder where temporary debugging files will be saved


Shelves are saved in hemax_shelves.json. The plug-in will attempt to load all of the shelves specified in this JSON file when the plug-in is started. The json schema for the file is as follows:

"shelves" : [
"name" : "Shelf Name",
"path" : "Absolute path to the directory of shelf tools"