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What is used instead?

Fluid simulation; see https://developer.nvidia.com/particles and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gp7-ejkwBQ

Metaballs are way too expensive.

From the associated article for that video:

> SPH ... with 500 000 particles ... about 2.5 fps on my GTX 1070

Still slower than what CNCD & Fairlight demonstrated in 2011 with "Numb Res", at 120fps (stereo 3D) on a geforce 280:

> The demo features up to 500,000 particles running under 3D SPH in realtime on the GPU, with surface tension and viscosity terms; this is in combination with collisions, meshing, high end effects like MLAA and depth of field, and plenty of lighting effects


Metaballs would not be for simulating fluids but for creating the simulated fluid's surface. In your youtube link it would be a step between "simulating particles" and "meshed result".

"Fluid simulation" was a bit of a nonsense response to that question, but there are similarities between metaballs and fluid simulations. The kernel functions used to interpolate Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics samples are basically the same thing as metaball functions. The main difference is that you probably don't need the isosurface during simulation.

On a related note, one of the annoying things about metaballs for fluid surfacing is that there's some spooky action at a distance. Two drops of water will reach out towards each other as they come closer together, which makes no physical sense at all.

Totally right. I meant to say "fluid dynamics," as in, approximating Jacobians, etc.

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