Something common in my Houdini workflow is projecting geo. I wrapped that in an HDA which you may find useful. Not a replacement for the Ray SOP. Just a great convenience that can complement a Ray SOP workflow.
It calculates (ray) direction vectors in 1 of 2 modes: Origin or Direction
New to v2.0 is the feature to use the local transform axis of any object as the direction source. That way you can match the direction of a directional light for example (shown in the demo below in combination with my Frustum Cull HDA).
It takes Ray geo, Collision geo (optional), and Occlusion geo (optional) as inputs. Neat mask attribute output available for the collision geo on Output 2.
I hope you'll find it useful! Cheers!
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