Houdini: Bridge Generator

Work In Progress / 30 September 2019

Note: This post was originally written on September 26th 2019.

Today, I started working on a tool to generate bridges. I went with a simple rope suspended bridge, the kind that we could find in an action adventure game on a remote island. 

The goals were:

  • Be able to control the length, height and width of the bridge

  • Be able to control the bending of the bridge

  • Be able to control the elevation of the bridge

I was able to do the basic logic of the bridge generator, but a lot is still missing. The process went relatively well. What I learned doing my fence tool was very useful in this one too. Unfortunately, I had to redo it twice because Houdini crashed and I didn’t save my work properly. Lesson learnt (until the next time ^_^;).

What I want to improve:

  • Currently, the planks do no follow the orientation of the side cables. It doesn’t look too bad when the bending angle is small, but when the bridge is very bent, it’s quite obvious. To fix this, I think I need to generate the normals for each point on my lines and use that normal to influence the rotation of the planks.

  • The general look of the bridge also needs to be improved. A lot of details are still missing as well as controls. At the moment, the grounding cables and poles aren’t easily modifiable. The knots are just sphere. I would also like to be able to generate random cracks on the planks, maybe add the possibility to have broken ones. I would like to add the support to replace the meshes with production quality meshes.

  • I would also like to add a terrain and see how the tools can be improved when used in a more realistic context.