WARNING: Wall of text ahead.
Physics simulations in blender did go (and are still going) through a lot of ups and downs throughout the years, tracing all the way back to version 2.40 (the oldest one with “proper” release notes I could find).
- New Fluid simulations using “El’Beem” or LBM (Lattice-Boltzmann Method)
- BGE (Blender Game Engine), Particles and Cloth were all already there (pre 2.40)
- New Physics Engine
- Fluid sim + Particles + BGE improvements
2.43: Fluid sim + BGE improvements
2.44: BGE improvements
- New Particles System
- Fluid sim + BGE improvements
2.48: Fluid sim improvements
2.49: BGE improvements
2.50-2.59: … (Couldn’t find a “proper” release note for what happened during this period)
- New Smoke simulation system
- New Particles System
2.60: BGE improvements
2.62: BGE improvements
2.64: BGE improvements
- New Fire type Simulations
- other Fluid sim improvements
- New Fluid simulations using SPH (Smoothed Particles Hydrodynamics)
- New RBD (Rigid Body Dynamics) in the viewport (previously only available in BGE)
- BGE improvements
2.68: Fluid sim + Particles improvements
2.71: BGE improvements
2.72: BGE improvements
2.74: Particles (Hair) improvements
2.75: BGE improvements
2.76: BGE improvements
2.77: BGE improvements
during 2.80 dev period: Bye Bye BGE…
- New “Mantaflow” Fluid (Fire,Smoke/Liquid FLIP “Fluid Implicit Particle”) simulation system
- Cloth improvements
2.83: Fluid + Cloth + Hair improvements
2.90: Cloth improvements
2.91: Fluid + RBD improvements
2.92: Fluid improvements
- 37 Releases (2.40-2.92 “excluding 2.5x”)
- 13 of them had zero physics improvements
- 10 releases had only BGE improvements (most of 2.7x) which ended up removed…
- Particles have been reworked once (2.46) and are being reworked again (particle nodes)
- Fluids have been reworked twice, from LBM to SPH to FLIP/APIC
The current state of blender physics as of “01/22/2021” with 2.91 as the latest stable release:
- The Particle system is starting to show it’s age (implemented 12 years ago)
- The Fluid system have a few nasty bugs and is limited in what it can do compared to many new techniques
- Bullet engine is lacking GPU acceleration and soft bodies are a pain to work with
- Cloth is crying in the corner with nobody to play with
- The only way to fracture things is an old addon (cell fracture) stuck on version 0.2 with a slow algorithm and disruptive workflow (the fracture modifier branch have quite an amazing set of tools that could help, but there seems to be a few road blocks that needs to be cleared first “like right now ? please ?” the devs should play well together for the better future of Blender !)
Basically nothing is working “properly” with 3/4 engines doing their own thing with little communication between them.
Isn’t it time to get things done the “right” way ?
What I’m hoping for, is a Multi-Physics solver that let all aspects of physics to play nice with each other.
There are many white papers about all kinds of techniques for two way coupling for fluid-rigid interaction, just like Cycles/EEVEE, some of them are geared toward physically based methods, while others are suited for real time simulations with less emphasize on accuracy, to name a few:
(Latest iteration 2019)
They rendered most of those simulations in Blender, they even recorded an AR simulation with the blender rocket sitting there in the corner
Same people with their first iteration of the technique back in 2012
One more technique leveraging NVIDIA’s (Now Open source) Physx for real time Fluid-Rigid interaction (SIGGRAPH 2014)
With such techniques, not only it would open up all kinds of interactions, but it will also help the dev maintain ONE single API/Framework/Engine instead multiple conflicting ones that are limited on their own and provide more work then needed. (or so it seems, correct me if I’m wrong).
Blender did come a long way, I can’t deny the huge efforts, but it seems to me that some parts are being “neglected” in favor of others (lack of man power I guess?), blender have now a nice amount of funding (in hope for more) to afford small teams per module.
- How about we start by updating those module roadmaps please ?
Thanks In advance for anything new physics related in the horizon.