Read / render particles from external simulation data

Hi Blender experts! Is it possible to load particle positions from an external file and render as particles? This is super useful for scientific animations of particle-based data. I used to do this in Blender 2.3 by generating an obj file with only vertices (no connectivity) and the applying a Halo material but it is not possible in newer Blender versions. I already spent several days looking on the web and trying to find a workaround but all in vain. I can not believe it is not possible to do this in Blender 2.8+, I am sure I’m missing something.

Notes:

  • Point density works well for very dense clouds but my data is rather sparse so this it not an option.

  • Apparently it is possible to write/read point cache files. This could be an acceptable solution but so far I have only found outdated blog entries about this.

This sounds like an obvious feature for Blender to have but I haven’t been able to find information about it. I would appreciate any help you can provide!

Thanks!