Friday, May 5th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Blender’s simulation nodes are coming in Blender 3.6

Blender’s long-awaited node-based simulation framework has now reached the main branch of the software.

On Wednesday, developer Jacques Lucke tweeted that the expansion of the existing Geometry Nodes system to support particle-based simulation would become part of the next daily build of the software.

That means that basic simulation support should be available in the next major version of the open-source 3D software, Blender 3.6 – the stable release of which is due in June.

Part of the ongoing Everything Nodes development project
First proposed in 2019, Everything Nodes is one of the most eagerly anticipated changes to Blender.

The development project proposes a new node-based architecture that makes it possible to create new tools and procedural content by wiring nodes together, in much the same way as is possible in Houdini.

Its first public showing was in the Geometry Nodes system introduced in Blender 2.92 in 2021, and updated steadily in subsequent releases.

While Geometry Nodes open up new workflows for modelling and scattering, the design goals are much wider, and include a node-based particle system – and, ultimately, a new unified simulation framework.

A flocking simulation created by Shahzod Boyhonov with the original experimental branch of Blender to feature simulation nodes. You can now download the scene file from GitHub: it should open in Blender 3.6.

Wait… haven’t I heard this somewhere before?
The new simulation features were originally rolled out in an experimental branch of the software last year, at which point, they were scheduled to be merged into the main branch for Blender 3.5.

As it turned out, when Blender 3.5 shipped in March, the simulation system wasn’t part of it, but the new timescale looks considerably more certain, given that Jacques Lucke links to the actual commit in his tweet.

The current implementation is described as “initial support” for simulation with “very primitive baking”, but you can get some idea of what it is already capable of from the – now quite old – demo video above.

The sample file for the demo scene shown at the top of the story is also available to download from the work-in-progress Blender 3.6 release notes.

By the time you read this, the simulation features should be available in the current daily build of Blender 3.6, which is presently in alpha.

Release dates and system requirements
Blender 3.6 is due for a stable release on 27 June 2023.

The current stable release, Blender 3.5, is available for Windows 8.1+, macOS 10.13+ (macOS 11.0 on Apple Silicon) and glibc 2.28 Linux, including Ubuntu 18.10+ and RHEL 8.0+ and equivalents.

Download the current daily build of Blender 3.6