How I created VFX for the game Unholy (Houdini, UE)

Over the last year, I have been creating visual effects for the game Unholy at Duality Games. For me, it was an interesting and unforgettable experience, as it was a real challenge to transfer effects from Houdini to Unreal Engine. In this trailer, I wanted to lift the veil of mystery and show what the process of creating visual effects for games looks like from the inside. What do you think about the effects? I appreciate any feedback :smile:


I adore the melting gateway. It looks really cool and would have made me completely sidetrack me to repeat that sequence over and over if I had seen it in the game :smiley:

Any particular reason you simulated the particle movement for the slingshot? I could understand the move because it looks like a bespoke effect for a cutscene, but that could have also been made in Niagara.

But overall some nice things you showcase here! (Still the melting gate is * chef’s kiss * for me :D)

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Thank you a lot for your kind feedback :blush:

The gates melting effect is also my favourite one :smile: . I think the success of it is that your don’t expect such effects in the games.

The reason I simulated particles for the stretching and aiming slingshot is that I really prefer to set up everything in Houdini, cache all the stuff and export it to the engine. I agree it’s possible to get in Niagara but I found that Vertex Animation Texture approach is more stable, predictable and well optimized.

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Great work!
I love the Houdini → Unreal breakdowns you are showing; great skill to have :slight_smile: And also something I haven’t seen often when people show their work.
Hopefully we will be able to import VDBs properly soon, then the whole Houdini to Unreal workflow will be even faster and more valuable!

I’d advise the same as @raytheonly mentioned above: Your Houdini work and workflow is impressive, but I would try not to neglect your Niagara skills. Sometimes it can be much faster and more flexible to use Niagara. Also because you can easily expose Niagara prameters to other people on the project (e.g. designers or other artists). In addition, for gameplay relevant destruction, Chaos (+ Niagara) is a feasible option nowadays.

Thank you for the feedback :slight_smile:
You are right about not neglecting different approaches to get the effects you need. It’s great that nowadays we have different methods and we can combine them to achieve cool effects.

I just saw I wrote an answer but didn’t send it. :melting_face:

Fair enough, I can understand that in production, especially with tight milestones, you stick with what you know and are comfortable with. I probably would just have an easier time to set up that specific effect in Niagara, because it would take me for ever to properly setup and iterate in Houdini :smiley: . (You can even build it pretty deterministic with Niagara if needed.)

But after all it is a cool breakdown video that is currently passed around in my company to see if we want to approach some things similarly :slight_smile:

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