This is a proposal for work focus on blender.org for the coming year.
I’ve written this because we keep missing bigger development targets – we don’t have enough time for larger projects. Instead too much time goes to releases, bug fixing, reviews, maintenance and support topics. The bug and patch tracker duties are keeping the best of our developers away from their own targets. As a result we then don’t have time for design docs, for planning, logs and in-depth sessions with the module teams, and have no time for the artists who are involved to make sure we’re well aligned and know what to do. I think everyone has noticed that we’re floating too much, things are not clear. Where are we heading? Who does what, and how do we decide on things?
So – it’s time to act and gather the troops to refocus and get back energy, to maximize involvement from everyone who’s active in blender.org and make sure Blender can survive for many more years.
—– Blender 2.8 – Workflow release —–
Just like for 2.5, the proposal would be to take a bigger leap to a bigger release by not releasing for a year. The 2.76 release then would be the last ‘real’ version we do until 2.80 somewhere in 2016.
Obviously, for the crucial fixes and smaller (stable) features we can do update releases 2.77, 2.78 and 2.79.
Topics to finish for 2.8 could be:
- UI work: wrap up Python configurability project, make Workflow based configuring possible
Proof of concept: the stripped “Blender 101” for high school kids.
- Viewport project, including a PBR quality engine/editor that could replace BI and GE render.
- A better designed integration of physics simulation in Blender
- Invite the GE team to rethink game logic editing, to use viewport and new physics
- Don’t add the half finished Gooseberry targets but take the time needed to code it well:
Particle nodes, hair nodes, simulation nodes, modifier nodes…
- Asset managing and browsing, linking, references, external files in general.
- Integration in non Blender pipelines.
- Move development to special 2.8 branch(es)
- Module teams are empowered to cleanup quite radically and get rid of legacy code.
- The 2.8 series is allowed to be not 100% compatible with 2.7x. (Physics, particles, games).
- Spend time on organizing ourselves better, agreed designs should lead to more empowerment.
And some core principles to agree on:
- We reconfirm and where needed update the 2.5 spec docs.
- Stick to existing Blender data structures and code design for as much as possible.
- Make Blender ready to survive until 2020, but…
… start collecting the list of bigger redesign issues we need to for a 3.0 project
- Bring back the fun in Blender coding! 🙂
The code.blender.org article for the roadmap of 2014-2015 is still valid in my opinion. We just need to take a break of 9-12 months now, to make it work for real.
Blender 2.8 Workflow Sprint (not yet scheduled)
In the coming months we can discuss and review the plans and make sure we’re 100% aligned on the 2.8 targets and for other work during the coming years. We should also meet and have good feedback sessions on it. This we can further discuss during the Blender Conference as well.
- Four days of workshops and design sessions.
- Travel and hotel covered for by BF (and Dev Fund, or a new fund raiser?)
- We should try to get someone from every (active, involved) module team on board. Also key user/contributors have to be on board. But it’s also more efficient to keep it compact.
- Proposal: we do this invitation-only: First we invite the 5 most active contributors of past years. Together they then invite persons more, until we have 12 (?) people.
- Sprint sessions can be in parallel too – UI, Viewport, Physics, etc. Let’s make it public as good as possible.
- The Sprint results get presented and reviewed during further on sessions during the Blender Conference.
Seven years ago, back in 2008, we also took a break for more than a year, to get the 2.5 project started up. It was a very exciting period where a lot of new things were possible and could happen, even though we didn’t finish everything… it gave us quite a solid foundation to build on, attracting a lot of new developers and great features.
I realize we have to be realistic now, not everything will be possible. But we also shouldn’t stop dreaming up a good future for Blender. Let’s take a break from our demanding release cycle, rethink it all, but not for too long. Let’s cherish what we agree on and enjoy the freedom of a configurable workflow that will enable you to do what you think is best… for making 3d art, games, film and animation!