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Old 09-14-2012, 09:01 PM   #1
Robert Magee
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Procedural Game Art

Explore techniques for creating procedural game environments in the SIGGRAPH 2012 Houdini Game Art demo

Old 09-15-2012, 06:57 AM   #2
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Hi Robert,
Is there documentation on how the bridging between udk/unity and houdini was done?


edit. Nevermind i found it here ED.pdf

cool stuff!

Last edited by NeoScrawl : 09-15-2012 at 07:22 AM.
Old 09-15-2012, 03:54 PM   #3
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I like the idea, but I envision a lot of "clone like" levels. The path of least resistance mentality will probably diminish overall creativity. I do not see a "Skyrim" type environment developing from this system. If it is used mainly (per the commentator's note) for reducing the tedious aspects of environment design--then it has potential. Otherwise you just make the same stew over and over (create procedural terrain and buildings, slap on some CG textures, place character, and run).

The commentator also remarked about rising costs of AAA development, but consider what was done with Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I see the possibilities of small dedicated indie teams for creating enjoyable games using unique art styles.
Old 09-15-2012, 04:04 PM   #4
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Definitely interesting stuff... Didn't know Houdini was useful for game development...
Old 09-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #5
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Looks awesome, though the timing she talks about is a bit misleading I'd say.
Sure it might have taken her 3 minutes to dial in the sliders of the tools, but I bet it took much more than that to create the building tools.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:41 PM   #6
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Most games are detailed enough IMO, but it is cool that we can use procedural methods to go further if it is necessary to do so, or lessen the time to do what was previously annoying.

I know Ivansavich made a city plugin for Max similar to what's shown here, so we really have this capability in any program that accepts custom plugins.

All this amazing stuff can be developed in-house (and probably has been) for any DCC program, though it's really cool that they have a ready-made solution for their software. Perhaps other companies will start including this kind of stuff as well. Users of Max could really benefit from the city and road generation tools.

As I keep watching I'm finding that their software kind of reminds me of Revit too, particularly the "shooting windows" part. It should be possible to use Revit for level design. In Revit, every model is a parametric "family", that can exist anywhere and do anything - like automatically snap to walls or punch holes through them. You can change each instance or every instance, depending on how the model-family was made.


For those who don't watch the video - it's important to iterate that these tools do not take the creation process out of the hands of the artist. What was shown here simply gives the artist more tools to work with.

"Where not taking away control, we don't want you to give up that control, we want you to be like an Art director. We want the computer to do all the boring and tedious work for you. We want you to have the creative control over the things you really feel passionate about, instead of being bogged down by placing 20,000 street lights. And that is the real power of procedural. We want to alleviate that pressure and we want it to be able to push the AAA beyond, as we've done with movies."

No one can be against that.

Last edited by trancerobot : 09-15-2012 at 07:50 PM.
Old 09-17-2012, 09:24 AM   #7
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Man, amazing!

The commentator was only trying to rebut the same criticism that is always leveled at preset procedures. You can talk about slapping down assets or you could place them with skill using this tech I guess. You are making your own presets here anyhow,

If it is efficient and works it will get used. It looks outstanding.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:03 PM   #8
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Very interesting video. I wonder how much time it took to develop all those tools. For example, all the coding for the sliders to adjust the windows.
Once the final art for each asset is done and all the tools are in place looks very useful.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
Robert Magee
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Originally Posted by David-J
Very interesting video. I wonder how much time it took to develop all those tools. For example, all the coding for the sliders to adjust the windows. Once the final art for each asset is done and all the tools are in place looks very useful.

The tools were created as digital assets. This technology lets artists in Houdini take a network of nodes and collapse them into a single node then parameters can be promoted from the network below to the host node. Any sliders or other UI elements would be built as part of that process which doesn't require coding. You can also use code within an asset (for example you could create a button which executes code) but it is not required.

This tutorial demonstrates how to build tools using digital assets in Houdini. You learn how to fill up any object with Lego bricks using procedural techniques and interactive UI building tools:

Old 09-21-2012, 02:13 PM   #10
Arvin Villapando
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I was looking at this and found it really interesting.
It looks like this essentially could replace the built in editor as the primary LD tool. The UDK or Unity editor could be used solely for scripting/gameplay.

The one thing I'm curious about is pricing. Since it would be LD's that use this tool more than 3D artists, would companies be willing to shell out the extra 2k per Level Designer to use it in the pipeline?

Maybe a trimmed down version could be created to use purely for level design?
Idk just tossing around some thoughts here.

Regardless I think the technology is awesome. Love the fact that it is completely non-linear and you can re-adjust things at lower levels and it will update on higher levels.
Old 09-21-2012, 02:13 PM   #11
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