How to bake a Houdini asset at runtime?

I’m trying to do the most basic thing with an HDA and I can’t figure it out.

During runtime in UE5, I want to pass some values into the HDA as parameters, then cook it. I don’t know the parameters until runtime, so it can’t be done in the editor.

There’s hardly any BP nodes you can use with a Houdini Asset BP Component, which I don’t understand. There’s a ‘Set Float Parameter’ node, which doesn’t seem to do anything. If I set a value in the constructor for example, it does nothing - it still just cooks the HDA using the values in the details panel. What about other types of parameters - int/string etc.? How are you supposed to set those?

There also doesn’t seem to be any way to trigger the asset to cook, at least that I can find in the editor, nor any mention of how to do that in the docs (again, that I can find).

Does Houdini Engine really require that all values for an HDA are set in the editor? It seems rather mad that you can’t do stuff at runtime… but presumably I’m just missing something obvious here?

As far as I know (and everything that I have seen from SideFX lessons and posts) the Houdini plugin is NOT meant to work at runtime.

You can add an HDA to a blueprint and drive its parameters with exposed blueprint parameters, but only in editor. It’d be fun to try to get some simpler HDA’s working in real-time, but even the Substance plugin can chug and those are much simpler than most Houdini creations.

■■■■, I feared as much.
I understand why, because as you said it causes serious slow-down for complex networks. But I’m creating an app whose purpose is to set up a scene and then render out an offline sequence, so I don’t care how long the setup takes. Could take ten minutes to cook the network and it would be fine for my purposes.
OK, I need to rethink my approach. Thanks!

@steve_kuva Hey, what solution did you end up going with? I am facing the same issue, where I need to bake a map and export it.