Michael Knight was a smooth dude with his fluffy hair and fancy talking car. At the flick of his wrist, he would summon his car KITT and it would do his bidding. However, when Michael needed KITT to do something special, he had to pull into the “Semi” Mobile Unit to have something added or customized. Basically, it was like sending the car back to the manufacturer and waiting in the lounge area having cold coffee and not having a remote to change the channel on the TV.
If you pretend for a moment you’re Michael Knight, or Garth Knight if you prefer to have a mustache, Houdini is your KITT. If you’re clever enough, you could probably also control Houdini from your smartwatch if you hack away at the APIs long enough.
Anyway, like KITT, Houdini can do almost anything and can be highly customized. The difference is that you don’t need to send the application back to Side Effects and can have delicious coffee from your new Chemex in the comfort of your own home.
One way you can customize Houdini is via the environment variables. Environment variables are used in various ways such as defining paths, commonly used directories, script directories, setting your expression editor, etc. Houdini ships with predefined environment variables but Houdini doesn’t stop you from changing them or creating your own.
Today, we will look at how to browse the values of the various environment variables by using the Houdini hconfig Utility.
One way to explore the different environment variables Houdini uses and what their values are set to is by using the handy command line utility
hconfig utility displays the meaning or current value of all Houdini-related environment variables. Open up a shell window by going to to your Window menu and select
Shell. If you configured your shell to work like mine, then it will open up the OS X Terminal window. Assuming you’re on a Mac of course.
The utility can take a few options. If you type
hconfig without any flags and then press
Enter, you will get a print out of the values for the current environment.
-h flag to
hconfig will print out the help for the command.
hconfig - h
If you want to list all the current values of all Houdini environment variables, pass in the
If you just want to see help information for all the environment variables, pass in the
If you want to get help on a particular variable, add the name of the variable after the utility name.
hconfig -H HOUDINI_USER_PREF_DIR
Basic stuff and we’ll discuss how to change them at another time. Just a word of warning, if you decide to venture on your own, use caution changing things as it may break your Houdini install. Then you’re really going to need that Mobile Unit for repairs and possibly be stuck with poor quality coffee.