with the frantic development, it seems the next version of blender seems just around the corner. may be i should call it next gen blender.
so what should we expect from it? what will be the new features which will add to the new blender apart from looks and internal rewrite of the codes?
here is my list on the features i am longing to see integrated in blender
1. render api : i love rendering and doing lots of experiments with external engines. i actually started off with 3dsmax. one of the nicest feature like in all modern animation suite is ability to integrate other render engines. like in 3dmax, the new render engine completely integrates itself with the software. new panels, new material settings etc. appear. blender on other hand uses python script that is shown separately and works from that separate window. render api will allows use of all the blender goodies like node, particle hairs etc with renderer. sadly it seems the render api is getting a bit delayed and may not be available in 2.50 but in later 2.5x
2. volumetric : farthary's most anticipated system being developed, the system is almost on the verge of completion and already seems to be porting in the new 2.50. instead of hollow textues, this system will allow the texture to appear more volumetric. the possibilities are endless, like clods, smoke, gas environment and what not.
3. photon map : farthary's another ambitious project, integration of photon-map gi with final gather right inside blender. thus u can use particle, nodes and all those blender stuff with GI renders which is not possible with external renderers until render api appears. the development was going at right speed until the recent bump. chances of this integrated in 2.50 seems slim.
4. bmesh : my most anticipated feature i would like to see integrated asap. i am crying for a long time for this feature. lack of o\it makes box modeling a difficult resulting in lots of deletion and addition in order to change topology. this feature will make modeling tools on par with other commercial softwares. thus will make it the fastest modeler on earth. i can already beat a maya user and and max user with current version.
5. particle : wonder boy jahne is working again on particle system. the guy who brought the initial particle system changes and thus boids, hairs reacter etc appeared. he is now working on new boids, comb able non hair particles and other stuff. i always find in blednerartist that farthary this, farthary that and lot of community help. (two gpus already gifted). i know he is doing good work in a difficult situation, but i think all developer should get such support especially like jahne.
6. smoke : oh its already well integrated and working in 2.50 branch. what more do i need to says. its coming with 2.50. just love it.
7. bump : so what? blender already supports bump mapping. my dear, this is a new bump mapping system being developed and the may i add, is astounding. very powerful
8. freestyle : freestyle is being developed and intergrated for a long time, only recently i have seen it being ported to the new codes or shall i say branch of blender. this hould make those anime/manga cartoons a breeze. its development is a bit patchy, so appearance with 2.50 may not be possible.
9. viewport : developed under GSOC, this will help the super lagging viewport of blender handle mesh objects much fatser. so? whats the point? the point is that this will help adding more details to a model and handling more object. best killer benefit will be the ability to sculpt more easily. nothing on front of zbrush, but still some-what-fast-thing is better than slow thing. this is just a blessing for under power gpu user like me. ( i have 6150 integrated gpu. hmph! plz somene donate me a gpu, i wont mind even its old). already almost complete. this will see the light with the new 2.50
10. raytrace optimize : i was wondering a long ago, blender was suppose to be animation oriented, hence biasness in each render aspect should have helped it render faster. right? wrong. i have been observing that its raytracer was getting just too slow for animation. even external renders could beat it when direct lighting is used. so here it is. developed again under GSOC. the new BVH accelerator plus other stuff will help in make raytracer fast. i m waiting a stable branch so that i can use it in my upcoming movie.
and these are just the most anticipated major features by me. there are just lot of stuff going on with blender. all the rewrites, new look, features. wow. its going to be the best looking OSS out there. also blender is now more future ready. how many times have you seen an oss software going under recode process survive? (well actually i have seen a lot). also expect a huge huge... i mean huge learning curve with the new blender. even 2.40 was hard for me to coup up. but the new blender will definitely a force to reckon with. it will definitely shake up the industry.