Time to dump Orbolt?

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Can we get rid of Orbolt and replace it with something better? I can't seem to be able to update any of the HDA's in H18, and even when it was kinda working it still seemed buggy as hell as far as keeping things synchronized and up to date.

I understand that many dislike change, but Orbolt just feels so outdated compared to everything else. In addition to that, a good chunk of the HDA's haven't been updated in ages, are deprecated/no longer work, or have been replaced by Houdini-native nodes. Also, many new users don't even know that Orbolt is a thing, it's just not talked about.

SideFX Labs is light years ahead in terms of how to efficiently distribute add-ons. Orbolt in comparison is like the alcoholic uncle that for some reason keeps getting invited to the Thanksgiving dinner even though he makes everyone very uncomfortable.

I would vote for a user-maintained/SideFX supervised repository of free add-ons. For anyone who wants to sell HDA's, there are plenty of outlets such as Gumroad.

There's got to be a better way.
>>Kays
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Yeah, there's so many examples now of online marketplaces, with good templates for whats good, featured things, new releases etc (think apple's app store, epic store, steam etc), would love to get that level of quality and ease of use into orbolt, or an orbolt replacement.
http://www.tokeru.com/cgwiki [www.tokeru.com]
https://twitter.com/ThisIsRYOT [twitter.com]
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I agree with all of this except the “free only” part… SideFX would have no motive to create such a service unless there was money moving around, and taking a (reasonable!) percentage of sales of paid assets would provide this motive. I'd love to not have to worry about writing my own license manager.

The core idea of Orbolt is good, it just needs an overhaul. A better UX, better curation and ability to discover new tools, the ability to distribute entire packages instead of just HDAs, etc.
MOPs (Motion Operators for Houdini): http://www.motionoperators.com [www.motionoperators.com]
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I also think curation is key. I want to be able to find the best tools as fast as possible and when I download them I can trust, with a good amount of certainty, it will do what’s advertised if its a “featured” tool. Along with the obvious something that prevents people from positing duplicate tools. There needs to be some kind of screening process.

There also needs to be a way to communicate if there is a tool SideFX or the community has collectively decided is worthy of being recognized. If I saw cool stuff and knew I could readily download it I would. Even things like facebook posts about great new tools would be good the same way SideFX posts about exceptional work every one and a while.

I’m not sure if SideFX could commit to there being an “Orbolt Curation Team” that does this kind of stuff but its just a thought.

Random other ideas would be easy ways to get in touch with the developer, maybe like a mini form on the tool’s page where people can comment or seek advice. For developers to easily be able to get in touch with their users when they have updates or bug fixes. Rating system for tools. Being able to type up wiki style docs for your tools if its a suite of tools. Opt in usage statistics so you as a developer can know what tools you have are popular / worthy of continuing to work on, etc.

Not sure how many indie plug-in developers are out there, but I would like it if there was a way to have orbolt work with HDAs and plug-ins then obviously installs all the files in the right place so its wicked easy to get started. One issue I have is people not understanding where to install plug-in files. Also, an API to connect to the orbolt license server through C++.

Finally, about orbolt as brand. Maybe a complete rebrand is in order. Especially when people's mind's jump directly to how bad the current platform is upon hearing the name.
Edited by MattPuchala - April 3, 2020 08:04:13
Matt Puchala
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Who actually runs/owns Orbolt? Is it SideFX or is it a 3rd party company?


What I would love to see for Houdini add-ons is a site similar to AeScripts which I think is quite excellent at how it's organized:

https://aescripts.com [aescripts.com]
>>Kays
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Orbolt is run by SideFX.

AEScripts is a nice start, the curation is there. Needs more visible things like ratings and downloads as well. My best examples for curation / discovery are Steam, the iOS store and the Unity Asset Store.

Unity's store also has built-in communication tools for developers… I automatically get emailed when there's updates to FinalIK or Amplify.
MOPs (Motion Operators for Houdini): http://www.motionoperators.com [www.motionoperators.com]
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Not sure whether this is realistic, but couldn't we just ask the founder of https://www.blendswap.com/ [www.blendswap.com] to double up his page? And perhaps one or two guys from our community would act as moderators?
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MattPuchala
I also think curation is key. I want to be able to find the best tools as fast as possible and when I download them I can trust, with a good amount of certainty, it will do what’s advertised if its a “featured” tool. Along with the obvious something that prevents people from positing duplicate tools. There needs to be some kind of screening process.

i like curation idea. like steam. that would be fun and useful
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Now with the release of H18.5 and SideFX focusing more and more on the content library [www.sidefx.com] I think it's worth giving this another bump.

Is the content library here to replace Orbolt? Will it get a cool little integration into Houdini?
Manuel Köster - Technical Procedural Artist @Crytek

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