David Gary

David Gary

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CUSTOM HOUDINI CROWD PLUG-IN IS ANNOUNCED - ALPHA Nov. 19, 2014, 5:52 a.m.

ah yes found the comment you were talking about

gonna talk to them to find out more
“a large tool effort”, as they say, indeed it's a whole pipeline in general that needs to be thought through. very curious about how they approached it. anway, that's cool !

CUSTOM HOUDINI CROWD PLUG-IN IS ANNOUNCED - ALPHA Nov. 19, 2014, 5:41 a.m.

It's my experience on projects involving crowds and flocks( Invictus, Ender's Game) which got me studying the subject rather in depth from boids to action-based , and finding the best unifying framework for all that.

I haven't asked or told anyone, no, hoping to make some money out of this: i've always wanted to do this anyway, and learned a billion things in doing it ( from hardcore HDK C++, skeleton/action representation, motion capture which i went ahead and did myself -yey!-, and much much more ).

Many small and limited crowds setups have been developed over the years, some using pre-cached geo with delayed load, but i think never a full solution as complete as Massive or Miarmy, like i did.
Crowds are in the air, so much in the air that i've always wondered why they were'nt there yet. Apart from the ragdoll side of things which uses bullet, all that i've developed could have been done 5 years ago within Houdini.

Yep the lack of comment from them is weird. I wasn't included in the alpha/beta if there was any, so i dunno.

If they're cooking something, it will have to have GPU acceleration, otherwise i would say it's not really a “novelty”, it's just something built on top of what they already have ( except the DSO). I expect more from them, especially on the “harder core” side ( especially the GPU side of things) which is now an absolute priority if they want to compete with Fabric Engine which is catching up rapidly on the nodal representation of scenes and algorithms and has a killer “Horde” system.
It has PEX which is GPU-accelerated and is like VEX and produces amazing performance for crowds among other things ( and PEX has visual graph representation, so they have VOPs too) . Again, if they go this way, they have to also rethink entirely their character pipeline and completely “Vexify” it like Fabric Engine has done. I also started doing that. Serious highly photorealistic crowds now mean complex rigs and not just linear skinning, but also muscle, lattice etc. This can all be done in VEX too, which my stuff is doing, and is doing at rendertime!!! , and which to my knowledge is lacking for the “competition”( Massive/Miarmy).

Not to mention motion retargeting in CHOPs which people have been requesting for years and which becomes extemely handy to produce movement variety.
If they can have all that, then that's awesome!

CUSTOM HOUDINI CROWD PLUG-IN IS ANNOUNCED - ALPHA Nov. 17, 2014, 11:34 a.m.

Hi,

Price is not set yet.
What i can say already is that it will be cheaper than the other commercial solutions ( Massive/Golaem/Miarmy), even if it can do more ( mostly because it lives inside Houdini)

I need to see how big the demand isout there.

Also, it's been made in separate modules and will be also sold in modules ( so you don't have to buy everything):


The main components are:
1)The “action-prepping module” that converts Houdini skeletons into custom skeletons, build the actions file(s) out of mocap +it's where you build the action graph
2)The crowd solver
3)The dedicated ragdoll solver
4)The procedural


We can imagine that users that don't have Houdini 13 buy only 1,2 and 4
or people who want to output to another renderer ( until i release the
Render/Arnold procedurals) will not buy 4 and instead write their bgeo -> rib exporter f.ex in Python )
The “pre-built brains” ( vision, flocking, pathfinding etc) components are going to be free, i want this part to be free.