[Sidefx-houdini-list] Houdini Apprentice to UDK

Paolo Berto pberto at jupiter-jazz.com
Wed Jan 9 22:05:07 EST 2013

On Thursday, January 10, 2013, Craig Hoffman wrote:

> Thought I would chime in here as a long time Houdini user that has been in
> the game world for a while and has UDK experience.
> Unreal only imports .fbx files now.  It has no .obj import.  Houdini
> Apprentice doesn't export .fbx- you have to have a paid Master or Escape
> copy to export .fbx.  Even with a paid version, .fbx import into Unreal is
> difficult.  I have had success in the past, but I recall a bunch of issues
> with surfaces coming in faceted, etc.  Other packages have support for
> "smoothing groups" that I believe Unreal expects or something.  Regardless,
> there is a lot of futzing with things (.fbx export and import settings,
> point vs. vert normals/Uv's, etc.) to try to get it to work properly and I
> know experienced Houdini users who gave up after constant crashing of
> Unreal during Houdini .fbx import into it.
> Unity has support for importing .obj files, and I believe Apprentice can
> export .obj files- so that would work.  But .obj is quite limited beyond
> basic static meshes with one uv set (you might have to make sure it is a
> point attribute rather than a vert attribute- I can't remember) and no
> extra attributes, though vert color should work (but I recall some issue
> with that too...).
> Anyway, if you want animation (not just static models) Houdini Apprentice
> isn't a solution- and even the paid versions are wonky as I mentioned
> earlier.  I know Side Effects wants to get more Game Companies using
> Houdini, so hopefully they are actually making some effort to make sure
> their .fbx export will easily import into the major game engines in the
> near future.
> As far as FX stuff goes- particles and such- those are generally done in
> games in the real time sprite and ribbon based particle systems that are
> part of the game engines.  Unreal has Cascade and Unity has a new higher
> quality Particle System in Unity 4.0.  There is no easy way to bake out a
> particle system from a package like Houdini or Maya and import into Unreal
> or Unity.  For real time you have to stick with sprite/ribbon type particle
> FX or skeletal meshes for other things- though blendshapes are also
> supported.  This is for performance on the GPU.
> I once took a Houdini DOPs shatter sim and attached bones to the pieces
> and exported the .fbx from Houdini and got it into Unreal in the past, but
> it wasn't easy.  It would be great if Side Effects added support for tools
> like that so that artists can easier utilize Houdini's fantastic dynamics
> stuff to bake out sims for import into game engines.
> My 2 cents.  :)
> Cheers,
> Craig Hoffman
> Technical Art Director
> Good Science Studio
> Microsoft Studios
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