The work-in-progress proposal for the Blender 2.8 version plans for caching, nodes and physics is progressing steadily. If you are an experienced artists or coder or just want to have a sneak-peek, you can download a recent version from the link at the bottom.
Feedback is appreciated, especially if you have experience with pipelines and complex, multi-stage productions. The issues at hand are complex and different perspectives can often help.
For the 2.8 development cycle of Blender some major advances are planned in the way animations, simulations and caches are connected by node systems.
It has become clear during past projects that the increased complexity of pipelines including Blender requires much better ways of exporting and importing data. Such use of external caches for data can help to integrate Blender into mixed pipelines with other software, but also simplify Blender-only pipelines by separating stages of production.
Nodes should become a much more universal tool for combining features in Blender. The limits of stack-based configurations have been reached in many areas such as modifiers and simulations. Nodes are much more flexible for tailoring tools to user needs, e.g. by creating groups, branches and interfaces.
Physical simulations in Blender need substantial work to become more usable in productions. Improved caching functionality and a solid node-based framework are important prerequisites. Physics simulations must become part of user tools for rigs and mesh editing, rather than abstract stand-alone concepts. Current systems for fluid and smoke simulation in particular should be supplemented or replaced by more modern techniques which have been developed in recent years.
The proposal is managed as a sphinx project. You can find a recent html output in the link below.
If you are comfortable with using sphinx yourself, you can also download the project from its SVN repository (*):
svn co https://github.com/lukastoenne/proposal-2.8.git
make html in the proposal-2.8/trunk/source folder to generate html output.
(*) Yes, github actually supports svn repositories too …
For the Python node scripters: The node mockups used in the proposal are all defined in a huge script file. Knock yourselves out!