I’m gonna derail the thread a bit, because the conversation has devolved into talking about how Max is lacking in a lot of simulation areas…
Obviously Houdini is still the goto for a complete and independent VFX package, but for those who plan to stick with Max, I’ve actually been working on a replacement for Particle Flow, massfx, etc, that should help bring Max back into the 21st century. It’s a complete rewrite of Particle Flow from scratch. Some things already implemented:
- Every operator is fully multithreaded
- Tons of new operators, featuring things like a granular solver, cloth, rope, proper path follow, DLA growth, constraints, etc
- Spline operator and a super fast spline meshing modifier for converting particle trajectories/neighbors/constraints/etc into spline meshes
- Up-to-date PhysX support
- Voronoi fracture, brick fracture, boolean fracture, convex decomosition, etc, built-in
- All of PFlow’s terrible O(n^2) operations that make it totally unusable for productions have been properly accelerated (mesh collisions, nearest neighbor searches, surface lock/bond, etc)
- No more hidden PFlow operator/event nodes in the scene to manage, each flow is fully self-contained
- Tons of extra control has been added to all the base operators, and each operator has timing activation controls
- A C# script operator that executes nearly as fast as native c++ and that supports multithreaded scripts
- VRay instance rendering support, GPU instancing in the viewport (easily display 100s of millions of polys in the view no problem)
- Super fast auto-caching, similar to how Houdini caches things on the fly
- PhoenixFD grid support, PRT import/export
- Simulation retiming
- A custom file caching system that is often hundreds/thousands times smaller in file size than alternative systems like xMesh
It’s basically what PFlow could have been, if development didn’t stop like 10 years ago.
I’ve been posting development tests occasionally here, and plan to release a public beta version once it gets a little more feature complete. Still working towards adding things like crowd simulation support, ragdolls, etc.
Some examples of cool stuff made with it here, here, here, and here.