Hey hey hey! Don’t skip the bullet!
That “C++ for TD’s” course is a thing… we want you on that… even more than how much we want you improving Alembic and USD… and we want that a lot…
I totally understand the PyPy thing, and I also understand that it may not be worth the effort, specially with Function Nodes coming, many things will be possible with nodes and the performance will be better than Python for sure.
But also I don’t think C++ to modify Blender is so hard to teach/learn, If someone knows C# or Java or Python, it’s not so complex to learn C++ itself, it’s just a bit of syntax change and having to understand a pair of concepts that are slightly different (do you know how much time I’ve been wondering what a Vector was until some simple book told me that it was basically the same as an Array?! ) and that made with an actual practical course with some targets, like hunting fixing some simple bugs, or improving some already existing tool.
So I like your idea of focusing more in the C++ side of things, because the other side is going to improve (we still lack an idea to give function nodes some interface, but that will come with time) but we need some documentation or even better, a small course that can bring Addon/Script developers near C++ side of things, and yes, things can go into custom builds, or maybe not the whole feature would be accepted, but some interesting and useful patches can be extracted from that full feature, there is a long etc of possible situations, but I’m all into making people understand the C++ side of things much more.
Right now it’s too difficult, even for experienced C++ programmers, the structure of information in code it’s super specific (which is normal) and the documentation available scratches the surface, so a TD cannot go directly into the C++ code and modify improve things easily, a TD or a TA are part artists part programmers, and some course in the same fashion to the one you did could be very beneficial in general
Regarding the proprietary software side of things, I don’t really think being more into the proprietary world is a good thing, with that I mean, being inside any of the 3d indsutries that use proprietary software is good, complying with them is a whole different story, and the trend I think is to do things more and more open and free, specially for bridges, so I relaly don’t think it’s a need.
But with that said it’s true that in Blender some things evolve at a slow pace and allowing other developers to chime in and give solutions that don’t require custom builds it’s a good thing, because for example Cycles is a bit stagnated, and I know some new object types are being developed, and that’s super exciting, but performance wise and render engine feature wise is stagnated, I won’t mention all the things because there are many threads about that and it’s clear that more funding can help, but since there is no clear way of stablishing priorities we cannot wait 2 years until we get more rendering speed with som GI cache because now we are getting a point cloud object, don’t take me wrong, it’s super hard to stablish priorities and it’s normal that internal devs have their own priorities, but if we need a third party render engine we need it at full speed, LuxCore is doing a super good job on that using as less python as they can and as much C++ as they can, but even with that there are situations that are simply limited by Python being slow, and that’s the part we need a solution for, the parts of Python that are slow, and when you work with big scenes (actual production scenes) even renaming objects in batches or creating new objects is slow.
So IMHO it’s a matter of giving solutions so addon developers can do their thing, because I doubt 5 different render engines can get accepted in master, no matter if they are open source like Lux, and also maybe developers don’t want it INSIDE master, they want to maintain an addon development, and I think that’s something that should be respected too, there is no need to make Blender a mamooth with ALL the tools in the industry, that’s why Addons are great, and we need them, but we need them with high performance even with complex scenes
And while we can hire a developer, the true thing is that not all of us can hire a developer that charges proper hourly rates, the idea of “fund it yourself” don’t always work (sometimes work ), and some developers simply have their own render engine or their own addon and want to develop it in a different way
My 2 euros here (because all this is a bit more than 2 cents hehehe)