Yes indeed. Let’s compile some stuff in Windows. How hard can it be? Could it be cumbersome? Could it be shitty? Could it be a bit simpler than you might imagine?
As much as I love Houdini, the fact that it essentially doesn’t have an API, that you are almost directly working inside the guts of the thing all the time, means plugins constantly need to be re-compiled. Unlike Maya that has a mature API, Houdini breaks shit left right and center. It’s ace. So what to do when you are in need of a plugin build, but the Devs are only supporting X number of Production builds? Cry. I cry quite a lot. But don’t despair, ye faithful 3Delight Yumans. For it’s an elegantly simple plugin to compile. So much for needing NASA tech.
We need to grab the 3delight for houdini plugin files from gitlab. Go here: https://gitlab.com/3Delight/3delight-for-houdini and download the archive.
Make yourself a nice little Dev folder somewhere to keep your shit clean. Un-archive and proceed to Glory.
We need 3Delight itself to be installed, and on successful building of the plugin you will replace the files
in C:/Program Files/3Delight/houdini/18.5 folder with those generated by compiling.
PLEASE NOTE! I am not building the Solaris plugin, too much BS is tied to newer builds of houdini, so if you
want to play with Solaris, you should really be using the most recent Prod build of houdini+3dl official.
This guide is purely for people needing to use the most recent 3dl with an older unsupported build of houdini.
Okay, we now need to grab the applications needed to compile this. The following apps are needed.
Microsoft Visual Studio Community edition & C++ build tools, also CMake. Now in the past I would grab all of these from their respective sites, but I thought I’d use Chocolatey as it really is a great manager and deployment tool for Windows based companies.
I highly recommend if you are on Windows that you grab the new opensource Terminal from Microsoft via the Microsoft Store. It’s free, multi-tabbed GPU accelerated, and is just a much nicer Terminal all around.
Below is a quick video showing you the install process for Chocolatey, I can’t be bothered typing all of it.
Hmm, actually I probably could have typed it, is was so simple. Eh, too bad. So choco is a great package manager for installing almost anything as I mentioned above. VLC, Blender, etc. Now let’s install CMake and Visual Studio & C++ tools through Chocolatey. We just need to do a quick search on the Chocolatey homepage to get the specific names of the packages.
Now in an “Administrator Level” terminal just enter the choco install command.
Let us proceed to install Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 Community.
Sweet. Now one last thing, and that is the C++ Build tools for Visual Studio. You may end up getting some wall of logging bullshit verbose garbage. Save to ignore.
The download of the nativedesktop stuff can be a bit big, and you don’t get great feedback on progress, so let
it tick over for a little while, 5 mins ish depending on how shit your internet is.
Now as much as I like this snazy package manager, I’m sure not all of you want to be locked into one method of doing things. So, if you prefer, you can simply go to : https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/downloads/ and choose the Free Download Community edition. After it downloads, run the installer, and upon completion it will give you a window of packages to install. Just choose the C++ application dev one. It’s a couple GB and I could probably untick some stuff, but meh. Easy. Same goes for Cmake: https://cmake.org/download/
Okay. So what ever method you chose, we now have CMake and Visual Studio installed and it’s just a couple environment variables to setup to make sure that the Terminal can locate everything needed to compile.
Use the browse button to locate the bin directory of the houdini version you want to compile the plugin for.
I’m compiling for 18.5.351 below. Also note that CMake\bin is present (this is auto added, but double check!).
Just one more variable to create. That is the HFS which is not automatically present on Windows systems.
Cool! We are ready to rock n roll now. Shit this is boring. Don’t worry it will be over soon. Now launch a fresh terminal session, no need to be in “Admin Overlord” mode for this btw.
CD to the un-archived directory we made earlier.
Now, we want to run the following commands.
cmake -G “Visual Studio 16 2019” ../
You’ll see it plow through a bunch of stuff, detecting C compiler, getting houdini install dir, etc
all fascinating stuff. It it succeeds, you should see;
Build file have been written to: blah/3delight-for-houdini-master/build
Great! Now right-click the 3Delight_for_Houdini.sln > open with Microsoft Visual Studio.
Select the INSTALL, change the config from Debug to Release, then right-click INSTALL > Build
Hopefully you’ll see Output feedback that it’s processing the build. Once complete, the output should
show the following.
In the 3delight-for-houdini-master/build folder you will now see a 3DelightForHoudini folder.
It contains all compiled plugin files, the same as C:Program Files/3Delight/houdini/18.5 files that the regular
installer puts there. So delete the existing 18.5 folders, and replace with the newly compiled ones.
If you are successful, Houdini will launch and not complain. Load up a 3delight ROP and check the Debug tab.
It will list the houdini and 3dl builds used to compile the plugin.