Weekly Development Notes #57 – Adding support for the Apple Silicon M1 Chip

Covering the week of May 3rd – 7th, 2021.

Welcome to our 57th development update for the FLIP Fluids liquid simulation addon for Blender! Recent work mainly involved adding support for the Apple M1 Chip, and we’re looking for feedback.

Apple M1 Compatibility

Recently I had learned that there is a new branch of Blender that adds native support for Apple Silicon M1 systems. You can find this version of Blender on https://builder.blender.org/download/ labelled as Blender 2.93.0 Beta MacOS Arm 64 bit:

In the latest FLIP Fluids experimental version 9.0.9.21, we have added support for the ARM 64-bit architecture so that the addon will be compatible with this version of Blender.

The latest stable version of our FLIP Fluids addon (v1.0.9b) is only compatible with Intel or AMD 64-bit processors and cannot run natively on the Apple Silicon processor which is based on the ARM architecture. Attempting to run this version of the addon with the Arm Blender build will result in this error when starting a simulation:

Engine Library Error

This error is generated because the simulation engine library is not compatible with this version of Blender. Our FLIP Fluids simulator is built for the x86_x64 architecture (64-bit Intel/AMD) and not for the ARM 64-bit architecture.

Feedback Wanted

In order to add support for Apple M1 systems, we needed to make a few changes to how we build and package the MacOS side of the addon. We are looking for feedback on whether this new version is working for you, on both Apple M1 systems and Apple Intel systems. More details below in the release notes.

Experimental Version 9.0.9.21

Want to try out the latest fixes and improvements? They can be tested in our Experimental Builds Package in the latest version!

Release Notes v9.0.9.21 (13-MAY-2021)

  • This version adds preliminary support for the Blender 2.93.0 Beta MacOS Arm 64 bit version of Blender!
    • The MacOS ARM build of Blender is for native support on the Apple Silicon M1 processor.
    • This version of Blender can be downloaded here: https://builder.blender.org/download/
    • The way that we build and package the MacOS side of the addon has changed and we are looking for feedback:
      • Please let us know if you encounter any error messages.
      • If you have access to a MacOS M1 system, feedback on whether you can run a simulation using this addon version and Blender version would be greatly appreciated.
      • If you do not have access to an M1 system, we would also appreciate feedback on whether the simulator still runs on your MacOS Intel system.
      • A ‘Yes, it runs‘ answer is just as valuable to us as a ‘No, it does not run‘ answer.
      • Feel free to let us know on the Blender Market, on our GitHub thread, social media pages, or through support at flipfluids.com.
  • Bug Fix: Fixed a FileNotFoundError when using the FLIP Fluids Helper > Generate Batch File if the render output location was set to a relative path.