[Houdini] License Error: Unable to connect to hserver for license acquisition

Yeah, this isn’t about a Solid Angle product, but about one of the DCCs that host our plugins (HtoA in this case).

So, I installed Houdini 13.0.476 the other day, and I got this “License Error: Unable to connect to hserver for license acquisition” when I tried to start HoudiniFX. I thought that was strange, because I had been running 13.0.401 moments before.

According to the licensing FAQ, that error means that the hserver service isn’t running. And, in fact, neither hserver nor sesinetd were running: they were both Disabled and marked for deletion, so I couldn’t start them from the Services console. After closing down Process Explorer, Task Manager, and the Services console, I was able to delete the services from the command line with sc delete.

At this point, I could have tried creating the services with sc create, but I was curious to see if the Houdini installer would do it for me. So I uninstalled and reinstalled. The installer asked me if I wanted to replace the newer version of sesinetd that was already on my system (huh???), and I clicked Yes. After the install finished, I had a running sesinetd service but no hserver, so I had to create it myself:

sc create HoudiniServer binPath= C:\windows\system32\hserver.exe

After that, I was able to start HoudiniFX and acquire a license.

[RLM] Checking for license denials by the license server

If you’re seeing watermarks on some machines but not on others, there’s usually a simple explanation: those machines cannot connect to the license server. The first thing you should do is check the RLM diagnostics on the license server. In particular, look for the solidangle Statistics, which will show you whether or not licenses are being denied. For example:

solidangle Statistics --- Since Start --- Since Midnight --- Recent ---
    Start time          03/29 18:40:20    04/01 00:00:24   04/01 12:41:30
    Messages:        39398 (   0/sec)   7755 (   0/sec)    20 (   0/sec)
    Connections:      4874 (   0/sec)   1073 (   0/sec)     4 (   0/sec)
    Checkouts:        4844 (   0/sec)   1050 (   0/sec)     3 (   0/sec)
    Denials:             0 (   0/sec)      0 (   0/sec)     0 (   0/sec)
    License removals:    0 (   0/sec)      0 (   0/sec)     0 (   0/sec)

More here…

[Arnold] Standins and the ASS file cache

Did you ever notice the ASS file cache stats in the Arnold log? It’s a breakdown of how many unique ASS files were loaded, and how many were reused:

03:11:33 8868MB | -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
03:11:33 8868MB | .ass file cache:
03:11:33 8868MB | unique (loaded from disk)     10 ( 1.00%)
03:11:33 8868MB | reused (found in cache)      990 ( 99.00%)
03:11:33 8868MB | total referenced .ass files 1000 (100.00%)
03:11:33 8868MB | -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Roughly speaking, this caching of standins means that if you have 100 standins that all load the same ASS file, you’ll get one set of geometry and 99 instances of that geometry. That saves memory and I/O time and is just more efficient.

More here…