GameDev Tools Updates

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The Game Development Toolset is a collection of high level tools designed to speed up games related workflows in Houdini. There are a growing list of tools that range from UVing to generating Motion Vectors from simulations. These tools are not tied to the regular Houdini development cycle and become available the moment they are ready for testing.

To keep up to date on the latest tools, please click on the Subscribe Button for this thread. This way we can send you an email any time we announce a new tool.

To learn more about these tools, you can visit the GameDev Tools Overview [].

NOTE: When we post a new tool there will be a thread opened in the Houdini for Realtime [] forum. You will be able to add comments and suggestions in that location.

Mike Lyndon
Senior Technical Artist
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162 posts
Joined: May 2017
6 July 2018
New Tools
Niagara Utilities - The Houdini Niagara plugin is now available in UE4 4.20 preview 3. A collection of HDA's have been added to create and export data to be used with the plugin. You can find more info at the dedicated Niagara thread []. These are still in beta so any feedback is welcome.
  • Niagara Impacts
  • Niagara Interpolate
  • Niagara RBD Split
  • Niagara ROP
RBD Workflow - We're looking at ways to improve the workflow of crafting a rigid body simulation. This is still WIP. Check out the video here - GameDev RBD Workflow Tools []
  • RBD Fracture
  • RBD Director
  • RBD Solver
  • Simple RBD
Marmoset ROP - You can now send your geometry and textures to Marmoset's Toolbag viewer. We'll be providing more info soon.
  • Marmoset ROP

  • Added a colour parameter to the UE4 shader code for soft export of Vertex Animation Textures.

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed a small bug on Axis Align tool where the Max Z value wasn't being respected.
  • Emptied GameBaker High ObjMerge path. Wont throw any absolute path errors anymore when embedding.
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Joined: May 2017
20 July 2018
It's been a relatively quiet fortnight with most of the team travelling.
  • UE4 4.20 has been released which includes the Houdini Niagara data interface. There are a couple of changes related to local space or world space emitters that didn't make it in. We'll add more details on the Niagara thread [].
  • The Surface Offset parm has been added back to the Physics Painter.

Bug Fixes
  • Packed normals for the soft export option of the vertex animation texture tool was calculated incorrectly. This has been fixed.
  • Motion Vector ROP: Export node path only accepts geo container paths now. This fixes an issue if the user sets the path to a SOP node inside a geometry container, leading to the rendered image being black.
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Joined: May 2017
7 August 2018
New Tools
Marmoset Toolbag ROP - This tool allows for rendering geometry and shaders from Houdini to the .mview format. You can find more info at the dedicated Marmoset Toolbag ROP [] thread.
QuickMat 2.0 - Now with multiple material support, including the ability to create custom material names. Existing setups will still use the previous version of the node.

  • We've added analytics to the GameDev nodes. As the toolset grows we want to focus on the tools that matter to you. This is one way for us to make better decisions. For more info on anonymous usage, including how to disable it, please see []
  • Impostor ROP can now create octahedral impostors. Video coming soon.
  • Refactored Destruction Cleanup. Improved overall performance.
  • Vertex Animation Textures : Fluids - If the input mesh is made up of separated primitives the polyreduce would generate cracks in the geo. There's a new toggle for fluid export to fix this.
    There's also new logic to calculate the texture size which should be more accurate.
  • Vertex Animation Textures - Sprites now export Alpha.
  • Adding UV Attribute to the AutoUV SOP and Merge Small Islands SOP.
  • Hooking up Color Parameter to the Edge Group to Curve SOP.

Bug Fixes
  • Impostor ROP now works with relative paths.
  • When installing the game dev tools, some of the dialogs didn’t use Houdini's Qt theme and inherit the system default.
  • Fixing issue where the RBD to FBX tool wouldn't export modifications.
  • Fixed Games Baker P Channel output. Returned grey normalized 0-1 UV space instead of actual world position.
  • Changed PivotPainter to support correct up orientation for both per-object & hierarchical basis generation.
  • Animation Impostors - Fixed an issue where the camera was rendering the wrong file path.
  • Animation Impostors - Camera bounds are now fixed taking the entire animation into account.
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162 posts
Joined: May 2017
19 August 2018
New Tools
Color Adjustment SOP - Control brightness, contrast, and saturation of Cd.
Color Blend SOP - Blend Cd from 2 inputs.
Color Gradient SOP - Output Cd gradient based on axis.
Sine Wave SOP - Drive P with a sine wave.

  • Marmoset ROP - Improved how fast exporting happens for TGA and PNG textures. Added tint and flip normal Y.
  • Fixed the sample scene for the simple baker.
  • OSM Import - Added latitude and longitude point attribute.
  • Vertex Animation Textures - New demo scene for fluid export.

Bug Fixes
  • Marmoset ROP - Fixed a bug where some textures would not properly get exported in Marmoset ROP.
  • Fixed a bug on cages for simple baker and games baker.
  • Vertex Animation Textures - There was an issue if the number of input polygons was less than the target polycount, the data in the textures would be misaligned.
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162 posts
Joined: May 2017
3 September 2018
New Tools

  • Lens Shaders Tutorial - If you want to learn more about lens shaders, we have a tutorial [] for that. We use them for the impostor ROP.
  • Game Development Updating can now be disabled in pipelines by using the GAMEDEVTOOLSET_NOINSTALL_MESSAGE environment variable. The updater will display the given string as an error message for example: “The GameDev Toolset is disabled in our pipeline, please message John@company if you'd like it installed”. This allows for studios to provide a central distribution for the tools that can't be overridden by the artists.
  • Changed defaults on SineWave SOP.
  • Added Gamma parameter on Color Adjustment SOP.
  • Removing the updater.shelf from the toolset so the built-in Houdini one is always respected

Bug Fixes
  • Small fix on QuickMat where the metallic property wasn't hooked up.
  • Fix on Group By Attribute SOP to handle material attributes properly.
  • Fix on RBD To FBX where it wouldn't respect the start/end times and always look at the play bar for the range.
  • Fixed Impostor Demoscene error which would appear when opening the hipfile
  • Fixed VoxelMesh HDA scaling issue. Scaling now matches input geo.
Edited by mikelyndon-sesi - Sept. 4, 2018 23:00:41
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Joined: May 2017
12 October 2018
New Tools
  • Sweep Geometry SOP - Allows you to sweep a piece of geo through a curve, similar to a path deform or curve brush.
  • MapBox SOP - Allows for downloading satellite color, elevation and OSM data that is lined up. (We’ll release a tutorial soon. Promise.)
  • Flowmap Visualize - This is a wrapper around a GLSL shader to preview your flowmaps in the viewport.
  • Turntable SOP - Option to rotate around the centre and defaults to rotate clockwise.

  • RBD to FBX added support for custom scale attribute. User can now override the scale of each packed primitive with a specified point attribute. (eg. pscale) This means the user no longer needs to do transform matrix multiplications themselves.
  • RBD to FBX is now more robust. The tool will now filter out any non-packed geometry preventing errors on export. The tool will now also create a name attribute if it is missing on the geo, which also prevents that error from happening again. Also added the functionality to have the tool create a new name attribute as override. (User specifies prefix on UI)
  • Added Detail Mesh material support. Tool will now properly handle materials assigned to the mesh texture. Also added the option to override the seam material used. Tool will now also automatically adjust tiles that are bigger than a size of 1 on X and Z axis. (Still required to have 1:1 ratio)
  • Added Export of Quad with matching UVs for Octahedron Impostor.
  • Updating OSM Buildings to handle footprints that have been projected onto sloped terrains
  • Flowmap Obstacle 2.0 - Completely redesigned for speed.
  • Flowmap 2.0 - Added different initialization methods, including a new slope method which will follow the direction of your mesh
  • RBD Fracture preserves attributes - RBD Fracture will now add N only if N doesn't already exist.
    Absolute and relative path now works for inside material.
    Removed transfer of attributes when packing geo.
    Removed nodes that unnecessarily effected N.
  • Updating RBD portion of the VAT to regenerate the orient attribute in case we have animated data present.
  • Disc Mesh Generator - changed how uvs are generated. UVs were being generated using arc length spline. Changed the method to use curveu and a wrangle for backward compatibility.
  • Changing the Flow map obstacle to make the influence a bit more natural by changing the way the 2 opposing velocities are combines.
  • VAT: Updated parameter names to work in Houdini 17. Some parameter names lost their connection when the HDA was run in Houdini 17. This have been resolved.

Bug Fixes
  • VAT Fluids: Updated colour export to use correct point count. The colour export logic didn't match how normals or position were being calculated in the copnet. This has been resolved.
  • Games Baker - If the uv cage object path is invalid the resulting textures have artifacts.
    Changed the expression that completes the path in the bake texture ROP so that if the user hasn't added a uv cage object, the path is left blank.
  • Fixed Gameres normals for generated lowpoly. (baking mode) Bake will not use hard edges anymore.
  • Fix for handling OSM data that doesn’t include map level size information.
  • Fixed Error in the lod_create demoscene due to changes in the RBD>FBX tool.
  • Octahedron Impostor Full-Sphere bugfix. Corners points on atlas had minor rotation offset. Now perfectly aligned.
  • Fixed name bug in RBD>FBX where it would fail when you had both point and prim name attribute.
  • Bugfix on OSM Buildings and OSM Import where building parts weren't loading properly.
  • Individual light channels were returning black for texture sheets ROP. An incorrect colour operation was negating the light channel renders causing the packed comp to return black images for Y_Point_Down_Direct, etc. This has been fixed.
  • Fixed Skinningconverter trying to delete the file node inside geometry container. Would break in H17.
Edited by mikelyndon-sesi - Oct. 12, 2018 15:46:17
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162 posts
Joined: May 2017
09 Nov 2018
New Tools
  • Adding UV Transfer SOP and UV Fuse SOPs
  • Adding OSM Filter Node

  • Changed how override of number LODs in LOD Hierarchy works. Tool no longer requires user to manually set number of LODs for export to get the number of LODs to be the number of inputs.
  • Made detail mesh more robust. It will convert the tile mesh to polygons before trying to project it.
  • Added Alpha to MotionVector shader in viewport.
  • Adding Reality Capture Plugin to the GameDev Tools. Minor Updates to Mapbox, Readding missing parameters on AO node and adding switch to enable merging small islands on gameres node
  • PhysicsPainter added volumetric brush feature
  • Changing some defaults on Measure Curvature and Color Gradient, and reworking Calculate Occlusion with better logic
  • Animation Impostor Improvements
  • Added concave support for Static Input Mesh. (Resolves issues with very uneven terrains producing useless collision meshes) Also added support for Convex Decomposition in H17 PhysicsPainter HDA and example hip
  • Adding some better error handling for cleaning up meshes before sending data into Zbrush
  • Removing hard coded file1 deletions
  • Resaving VoxelMesh for 17
  • patching up gameres node
  • Adding new UVAutoSeam to AutoUV SOP
  • adding GoZ to the shelf
  • VAT: Updated parameter names to work in Houdini 17.

Bug Fixes
  • Games Baker - Fixed long time gamma issue for greyscale maps such as Roughness, Metallic etc Simple Baker - Swapped old material assignment logic with Quickmaterial. Will now be a more accurate representation of pre-bake. This also fixed the flipped normal Y in viewport bug LOD Create - Above fixes benefit tool overall. LOD after material consolidation looks more like LOD0 now.
  • Fixed LOD Create Permission err0r when using the tool to extract source textures checked into perforce. (Files being read only)
  • Simple Baker solved Cage issue. Also fixed resolution parm
  • Fixed no cage issue for custom export channels in Games Baker
  • Mesh tiler fixed post solve attribute cleanup. Will not delete any user attributes such as Cd anymore. Also updated demoscene to include a color example.
  • Fixed render issue in H17 LODCreate. Added LOD Debug option.
  • Fixing unit test issues with Calculate Occlusion node, and some cleanup of the Mapbox node
  • Fixed bug in QuickMat. Multiple materials supported again.
  • Fix GoZ for Houdini 17
  • Texture Sheets: fixed flip green attribute name
  • Fixed turntable tool. Rotate around Origin toggle was not hooked up to logic.
  • Fixing cage bug in Simple Baker
  • Fixing several broken commands on the shelf
  • fixing principled shader warnings on osm buildings node
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162 posts
Joined: May 2017
23 Nov 2018
New Tools
  • Adding Path Deform tool, that works like a more traditional path deformer as opposed to the Sweep Geometry Tool
  • Created a new Normal Manager in COPs that allows you to flip, fit and swizzle your normals all day long.
  • Adding Terrain Layer Import and Terrain Layer Export. These tools allow you to easily import and export a terrain from and to UE4. The export tool can be used to “edit in place” a previously existing landscape by saving all layers to disk and reimporting them.
  • Group UV Borders is a SOP designed to simplify the process of grouping UV Boders.

  • RBD Director now works with the rbd_material_fracture node.
  • Vertex Animation Texture ROP has been updated for UE4 4.21. General material cleanup. Speed is now a multiplier. A value of 1 is equivalent to 24 fps (Houdini's default).
  • Attempting to fix the Mapbox SOP on Linux and Mac
  • Reality Capture Plugin Updated to new SDK. New expiration date set to much longer period. RC Extract Cameras has gained the ability of extracting the camera orientations as well as up, side, forward attributes.
  • Multi File now has a toggle that can be switched to output the source location of the imported file. Also fixed some UI parameter names.
  • Games Baker and Simple Baker now have a toggle that allows the basecolor channel to be output in linear space as opposed to 2.2 gamma. This is useful when for example baking vertex color to a diffuse map which will be used in something like a flowmap shader.
  • Physics Painter now has a “Quick Add” parameter that allows you to either drag & drop a new object into the paint objects multiparm, or add multiple objects at once using the operator list picker. This is based on functionality created for a tool in MOPs.
  • Gave VolumeTexture a UI makeover, and added the option to invert output values. This means it now supports both distance and fog VDB input.
  • Flowmap Guide Now has a new “Guide Sample Count” parameter, which allows the user to control the sample quality, therefore allowing a higher quality output.
  • Gave Physics Painter Heightfield suppport. Tool will now allow you to plug in either mesh, heightfield or both as primary tool input. Also refactored network a bit to simplify maintenance.
  • modifying UV Transfer tool to use a more accurate transfer method in order to improve transfer quality

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed triangulation problems on Terrain Mesh ROP in H17 when using adaptive subdivision. Was caused by a change in a vex function.
  • Volume Textures - solved mosaic atlas resolution bug.
  • Games Baker now uses a unique name per machine for generating temp baking files. It also saves the temp file to $temp instead of target dir. This should allow for renderfarms being able to write to the same destination folder.
  • Simple Baker fixed baking sample not being hooked up to logic correctly.
Edited by mikelyndon-sesi - Nov. 23, 2018 17:32:17
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11 Dec 2018
  • Path Deform Updating Twist logic and reverting back the transfer changes as they break the ends
  • Path Deform Making the sweep divisions relative to the size of the input mesh
  • Updating transfer logic on Path Deform tool for smoother results, and adding tooltip for 3rd input
  • Terrain Layer Export now has automatic flopping of layer exports depending on where it is used. (Houdini vs Unreal). Heightmap is now exported by default, even when number of layer export is set to 0. Also changed how the prefix works. Things like underscores are now created by the user instead of forced by the exporting process.
  • Adding .tif to the list of viable images for the Reality Capture Plugin.
  • Mapbox node now doesn't flash an empty window on refresh
  • Path Deform Reworked the inner works significantly to provide a more stable solution when working with multiple objects.
  • Cleaning up PolyDeform attributes
  • LOD Create now has an updated UI to control which mode you want to preview LODs with. It also allows you do disable the visualizer. The tool will now also properly display how many tri a custom mesh has. Also fixed some minor bugs such as relative vs absolute paths.
  • Added Clip Ends parameter to Path Deform tool
  • LOD Create now allows you to specify a custom prefix for the LOD submeshes instead of the default “mesh”_LOD. Also exposed the linear colorspace toggle for the shader consolidation.
  • Improved Pivot Painter hierarchical pivot generation algorithm. It should now be more robust with oddly shaped leaves. This does come with a slight regression in performance. Also added the ability to mask motion in hierarchical mode through the Cd attribute.
  • Added Axis and Scale to Curve Length parameters to the Path Deform tool as well as fixed an issue where animated objects wouldn't playback their animations
  • Exposing a parameter on the UV Transfer node to control how aggressively to weld border points back into the mesh
  • Games Baker and Simple Baker now give a warning when using a frame range render, but no $F can be found in the output file path.
  • Updating Mapbox SOP to work on Mac and Linux.
  • Vertex Animation Texture ROP has been updated for UE4 4.21. General material cleanup. Speed is now a multiplier. A value of 1 is equivalent to 24 fps (Houdini's default).
  • Removing Normal Manager in COPs because of duplicate functionality.

Bug Fixes
  • Volume Texture now uses a correct frame length to render volume slices when using higher number of slices. Also added demo scene.
  • Mapbox SOP Rotated Maps by 90 degrees so they look correct in Top View, Downloaded data was at the wrong zoom level, Snapping to terrain would fail on scaled data, colors now match the mapbox window
  • Delete Small Parts set to perimeter mode now is properly hooked up
  • Straighten is more precise on its normal calculations
  • Games Baker failed on mac due to an incorrect temp path. This also fixes an issue with the Simple Baker failing.
  • Fixed issue in Reality Capture where the textures weren't being generated
  • Fixing UV Transfer tool, some internal fuse nodes were also deleting degenerate points which is not always desired in all cases
  • Fixing Typo on VDB Textures on the shelf
  • PhysicsPainter now keeps attributes that the high resolution mesh contains.
  • Fixed resolution dropdown menu breaking output resolution for Games Baker. This bug caused manually entered resolutions to be discarded after using the dropdown once.
Edited by mikelyndon-sesi - Dec. 11, 2018 13:41:36
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