Due to my day job, I’m somewhat of a Houdini power user. Considering that, it’s quite late that I got to actually play with Houdini Engine for Unity. Sadly it’s just not a topic in VFX – yet.
But finally I’ve started chipping away on a prototype for a new game that requires dungeon creation and so I got around to crossing the bridge from SOPs into Unity via the Houdini Engine.
Here a small demo video:
This system is set up as a single HDA, which is driven by a bunch of input curves. The curves come straight out of unity and allow to interactively adapt the level creation.
From the curves – with SOPs lofting, booleans and a bit of wrangling – I generate the dungeon. Also setting the attributes for connecting unity materials directly. This is my main concern, as I really want to just get my world set up with a single click. I suppose I could also run a post processing script, seen the hooks for that on the Unity HDA asset.
Works like a charm! I’m sure there will be a good use for this.
I’ve been working with a principle called Vertex Animation Textures lately. In essense this is about using texture maps to drive animation of a non dynamic number of mesh entities in a 3D scene.
I used the Houdini Game Development Tools that allow you to export a set of packed geometries into said images. The package also comes with a unity shader, that reads those textures and applies the transformation on vertex level.
So I created a houdini POP sim based on some a bit terrible but free motion capture animation I found on TurboSquid. It too a not unnerving amount of fiddling with packed transforms to make it all work and stick, but once it all was in Unity, it was fairly straightforward to work.
I’ve to say, it’s a pretty neat trick to get some very complex animation of a LOT of moving parts into real-time rendering at pretty much the cost of an additional two texture lookups.
I played with this for a while with the outcome of a short piece about all the money in the word.