GAME DEVELOPMENT TOOLSET OVERVIEW
Game Development Toolset
The Game Development Toolset is a collection of high level tools aimed to speed up games related workflows in Houdini. There are over 90 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. They are currently deployed through our github page, and will soon be updatable from within Houdini.
Downloading the Tools
As of 16.5 you can download the tools straight from Houdini.
Under the Games Development Shelf (you might need to add this to your shelf sets) click on the Update Toolset button.
This will pop up a dialog prompting you with which release to download from, recently we have started daily builds, so you can choose whether to download a daily build or a production build.
It is recommended to always grab the daily build for the very latest tools.
You can also clone the tools directly from our Github repository, more details below
You can download the tools from our Github Repository.
There are 2 main branches Stable and Development. We are actively developing tools and checking them into the Development branch, so if you want the very latest, that's the place to go. The Stable branch will be retired soon as releases have taken over for that gate keeping responsibility.
DISCLAIMER: These tools are provided as is. We provide as much of the source as we can in order for you to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. We have developers working on these tools full time, but these tools do not fall under the regular SideFX support team.
DISCLAIMER 2: As of build 1.26 we have added analytics to the tools to report which nodes are being created. You can read more about the Anonymous User Statistics and how to disable them here: https://www.sidefx.com/legal/houdini-anonymous-usage-statistics/
SideFX has compiled tutorials for a number of the gamedev tools on the Game Tools Learning Path page. This page links you to a number of tutorial collection pages which you can access using the following links.
SOPs - Surface Operators
Align and Distribute (NEW)
Automatically generates the seams for an object and immediately runs a UV Flatten after the fact. There are 2 main techniques:
- Shortest Path : Uses the shortest path algorithm to define seams based on the surface's curvature
- Cluster: Subdivides the meshes into quadrants which turn into uv islands.
- Axis Aligned: Similar to the UV Unwrap, but does a better job as clustering smaller islands
- Unwrap: The traditional UV Unwrap
AliceVision Integration (NEW)
Measure Curvature - renamed from Calculate Curvature
Provides 7 different ways of calculating an model's curvature. 2 built in methods and 5 other contributed by Houdini user Petz.
Useful for doing procedural edge damaging and several other effects.
Simple HDA to do 6 clip operations at one, allows you to control which of the 6 sides to clip. Useful for isolating a small piece of geometry
Building Generator (NEW)
A tool that when given a basic ‘block out’ shape, and a named set of building components, can generate detailed buildings.
Calculates vertex Ambient Occlusion at the SOP level. Lots of controls for intensity, falloffs and blur
Calculate Slope (NEW)
Calculates the slope of a point, used in the flowmap tools
Curve Branches (NEW)
Generates simple branching structures, like trees, cracks and lightning. It can also be chained together and works recursively
Curve Sweep (NEW)
A wrapper around the Sweep node, which allows you to sweep a number of predefined curves, add UVs to the results and give them with a third input as well as control it with ramps.
Color Adjustment (NEW)
Simple controls for manipulating Vertex Colors
Color Blend (NEW)
Gives a simple interface for blending vertex colors from 2 models using a third model as a possible mask. Has several options for different blend methods
Color Gradient (NEW)
Helper node for generating gradient ramps based on the object's position
HDA part of the Mesh Generators, creates a cylinder with a curve as it's input
Behaves like an in game decal system, but it utilizes boolean under the hood for more accurate decal geometry. Generates decals with proper 0-1 UVs
Delete Small Parts
Utility SOP to remove small disconnected parts based on a size threshold
Removes ambient directional light from Vertex Colors. Very useful for Photogrammetry Workflows
Optimizes RBD simulations based on whether the objects have moved or not. As seen on the Epic Twitch Stream.
Detail Mesh (NEW)
Allows for projecting a tileable mesh onto a projection surface. Example would be a tiling brick mesh used to add detail to a blockout of a building. (Comes with demoscene)
Dirt Skirt (NEW)
Creates a connectivity mesh between 2 objects. Helpful to hide seams between 2 objects interpenetrating.
Dissolve Flat Edges (NEW)
Removes edges that are within a specified tolerance of flatness. Helpful to get rid of boolean artifacts or obvious triangulation
HDA part of the Mesh Generators, creates a disk
Edge Group to Curve
Convert an edge selection (group) to a polygon curve. Useful if you want to sweep something along your model or many other applications.
Tutorial Link - Shown at the 5:07 minute mark in the Auto UVs SOP tutorial
Edge Color (NEW)
Sets vertex colors based on Curvature parameters. Helpful to quickly add some interesting variation to meshes and simple texturing.
Extract Border Edges to Curves. Optionally UV Borders instead of Geometry Borders
Utility SOP to store a file information as a detail attribute to then be referenced in other SOPs.
FlowMap - renamed from Create Flowmap
Initializes the correct attributes on a mesh in order to export a flowmap.
Tutorial Link - All flowmap nodes
Uses a curve as an additional input and bends the velocity field of the flow map based on said curve. Very useful for non destructively combing the flow field.
Uses an object as an additional input and warms the velocity field around said object. Useful for very quickly bending the flow around objects.
Tutorial Link - All flowmap nodes
Flowmap To Color
Converts the worldspace velocity vectors into Tangent (uv) space colors. This allows the user to then bake the velocities out as vertex colors to be used in a game engine.
Tutorial Link - All flowmap nodes
Flowmap Visualize (NEW)
Realtime Visualization of the Flow in the viewport.
FBX ROP - Built Into 16.5 and removed from GameDev Toolset
Utility node to bring the FBX export capabilities into the SOP context. We can currently export geometry and alembic from the SOPs but we didn't have an equivalent version for FBX.
Automatically Decimate, UV and Bake Maps for your high resolution Mesh. The culmination of the Mesh Pipeline effort
Link between Zbrush and Houdini. New in the GameDev tool, but has been around for a little while.
Group by Attribute
Similar to the partition node, but with slightly more forgiving interface. Generate groups by a single attribute
Group by Attribute Borders (NEW)
Allows you to generate a group based on UV borders or any other attribute borders.
Group UV Borders (NEW)
Allows you to easily group the UV borders
Group by Color (NEW)
Generates a point group based on a color and a fuzziness threshold.
Group Curve Corners (NEW)
Allows you to isolate inside and outside corners of a curve. Also generates an angle attribute.
Group Edge Loop
Procedurally generate Point, Prim and Edge Loops. There is also an option to skip every N units, which allows for interesting results.
Expands or contracts a group by a number of iterations. Positive iterations expand, negative iterations contract
Inside Face UVs (NEW)
Helper HDA to creates UVs on the inside of Voronoi Fractures
LOD Create (NEW)
Automatically Generates LODs from your mesh. Including Impostors as the lowest LOD level
Makes a Volume or a mesh with constant topology automatically loop. It does so by offsetting the animation by half and cross dissolving the animation onto itself.
Creates a Heightfield or Polygon terrain based on real world Satellite imagery provided by MapBox. Requires Mapbox contract for commercial usage.
Maps Baker (NEW)
The Maps Baker HDA allows you to very quickly bake texture maps through either custom attributes, texture reprojection, or generation.
This nodes allows for a more intuitive way of managing edge groups for common workflows like UVing.
It is essentially an uber group node which lets you store selections as well as convert primitive selections into edge selections of said primitive borders
Merge Small Islands
Underlying node part of the AutoUV, also exposed as a standalone node. Combines smaller UV islands into neighboring larger islands
Take a collection of meshes distributed on a planar surface, and make sure the meshes are configured in a tileable layout. This is especially useful for generating tiling textures from 3D meshes.
This nodes allows you to load multiple OBJ or FBX files in a single SOP
Niagara Impacts, Niagara Interpolate, Niagara RBD Split, Niagara ROP (NEW)
Several nodes that compose the Niagara Export Pipeline to Unreal 4
Open Street Map is a great database for city street data. This node efficiently loads the OSM files into Houdini as well as all of the different tagged attributes on the buildings and streets.
OSM Filter (NEW)
Isolates predefined OSM data like Highways, Buildings and other common tags
Open Street Map is a great database for city street data. This node parses the data brought in from the OSM Import node and generate building geometry from the profile curves.
Path Deform (NEW)
Deforms a mesh along a curve, with several controls for twisting and modifying the mesh as it moves along the curve.
Allows you to paint scatter objects and simulate them with RBD in order to cause them to settle
Deforms the first input to match the shape of the second input. Incredibly useful for modifying scanned data.
Quick Material 2.0
QuickShade on steroids. Not only apply diffuse textures, but all of the different PBR material settings right at the SOP level. Now allows for multiple materials with custom names
Part of the new RBD Workflows. Allows you to control active chunks based on volumes
Part of the new RBD Workflows. Wrapper around Voronoi Fracture with several common tricks done by production artists
Part of the new RBD Workflows. Allows you to simulate an RBD object in SOPs
Remove Inside Faces
Optimization Node to clean up geometry without relying on the boolean node
Simple interface to retime an animation sequence based on a curve parameter.
A Wrapper for the Games Baker at the SOP level. Takes a low mesh and a high mesh as the 2 inputs
Sine Wave (NEW)
Modifies a mesh based on a sine wave, useful for generating oscillating objects. Similar to a wave deformer
Upload your model to Sketchfab straight from Houdini
Skinning Converter is a Houdini Digital Asset (HDA) that can convert any non-changing topology deforming mesh sequence into a bone based animation. The user gets control over a couple of parameters, which allows the user to get their desired result.
Snow Buildup (NEW)
Builds geometry on top of a mesh to recreate the look of snow accumulation.
Utility script for softening the normals of an object and optionally hardening the UV seams.
A much requested node. Generates spirals and helices with intuitive controls
HDA part of the Mesh Generators, creates a sphere with UVs and Vertex Colors for Realtime VFX
Static Fracture Export
Exports pre-fractured pieces for realtime destruction setups. Useful in Unreal's destruction System and NVidia's PhysXLab
Straight Skeleton 2D (NEW)
Isolated the Straight Skeleton generated by a PolyExpand2D node with several options, including to reproject the ends to match the original shape.
Aligns the geometry based on group selections for Forward and Up faces. Useful for aligning photogrammetry meshes that might be awkwardly placed.
Sweep Geometry (NEW)
Sweeps a piece of geometry along a curve. Useful for generating roads and bridges based on modules
Terrain Layer Export/Import (NEW)
Properly reads/write data for Unreal landscape terrains with correct scale and rotation corrections
Terrain Mesh ROP
Export Heightfield Meshes in tiles with several options
Terrain Texture ROP
Export Heightfield textures with several options, including generating Normal Maps from Terrains
Give planar surfaces thickness with this node. It also has a slightly smarter logic on how to thicken an object in order to avoid geometry errors. Great for making things water tight!
Simple HDA to rotate the model based on your timeline and a speed parameter
Unreal Pivot Painter
Tool to generate the appropriate data necessary for Unreal 4's pivot based animation nodes. Which allows you to do complex shader animations with a very slight overhead compared to a traditional joint setup. Now with less coming in sideways
Stacks similar UV shells together. Great for hair workflows and general UV management.
Also contains some extra controls for splitting stacks randomly for variation.
UV Transfer (NEW)
Transfer UVs from one mesh to another of different topology while maintaining proper UV boundaries
Simple Utility tool to make every face of a mesh to be UV'd from 0-1
Helper script to visualize UVs. Including features such as:
Warp between UV space and Model Space
Modify the tiling of the grid texture
Workflow script to simplify the VDB roundtrip that is very common in geometry cleanup
MATs - Material Shaders
GameDev Shader (NEW)
PBR Shader for the viewport with industry standard controls. Also supports MikkT tangents that can be generated with the PolyFrame node in 17.5
MatCap Shader (NEW)
Viewport shader that can read the popular MatCap images in order to render very fast complex lighting effects.
ROPs - Render Operators
A simple example ROP to demonstrate how you can extract data from geometry and write it out with Python. The bulk of the code is in the Scripts Tab in the Type Properties Dialog.
A wrapper around Mantra's baking capabilities. This node simplified the baking process by allowing you to bake the common maps easily, as well as any point attribute without additional setup. A recent upgrade allows for the baking of multiple high>low pairs at the same time, and proper compositing of the resulting textures.
The impostor tool creates texture sheets to fake 3D objects in your game engine. The tool will create full 3D, fixed axis and animated impostors.
Export your assets to Marmoset from within Houdini and use Marmoset as a Renderer.
Renders out the velocity vectors to camera space, which allows them to be used as frame blending flow maps. The tutorial goes in depth on how to render them and hook them up in Unreal.
Preset for rendering Pyro, which creates a light rig and sets good initial settings for your Mantra ROP.
RBD to FBX
This node helps with the generation of Flipbooks/Texture Sheets. Including the generation of normals (both based on the volume data as well as a traditional 6 light rig) and the ability to channel pack your texture.
Vertex Animation Textures
Export simulation data to texture files. This allows for very effective vertex shader playback of your high resolution simulation. There are 4 types of simulation supported
- Consistant Topology throughout the Simulation (Soft)
- Packed Primitive style Rigid Body Simulation (Rigid)
- Changing Topology throughout the Simulation (Fluid)
- Camera facing cards, points moving through space (Sprite)
Utility node to initialize the Color node with the proper normal map colors (128, 128, 255)
Combines 2 normal maps together while keeping them properly normalized
Inverts individual channels of the image, usually for flipping that pesky Y channel
Regular Levels operation but done in the proper -1 to 1 space
Generates a normal map from a grayscale image, with additional options to soften the normals and an intensity scale
Ensures the image is a valid normal map with all of the 3 channels properly balanced
Rotates a normal map while keeping the normal vectors correct