Working with CPU-intensive particle systems can stress even the most robust of computers, so Particle Flow includes a Cache operator that lets you store the results of computation for faster playback during development. This operator provides basic functionality, which is extended significantly by additional Cache operators included with Particle Flow Tools: Cache.
The Cache Disk operator works much like the original Cache operator, except that it lets you store the cache on the hard disk, separate from the main 3ds Max scene file. The entire cache doesn't need to fit into a single, bloated file because each frame's data is stored in a separate file. This results in faster response: When you jump to a particular frame, Particle Flow needs to pull only a single relevant file from the hard drive. Also, you can rearrange the animation or shift it in time by modifying the file indices.
As with the original Cache operator, Cache Disk lets you pre-calculate and store all the activity in a particle system so that you can play or scrub the animation quickly without having to wait for calculations. The main benefit is that the only limit on the size of the cache is the amount of free space on the hard drive, rather than system RAM as in the original Cache operator.
Particle Flow Tools: Cache also includes the Cache Selective operator, which lets you exclude certain types of data from the cache. As with the Cache Disk operator, you can specify post-cache operators. You define the most calculation-intensive properties of a particle system (usually the motion), pre-calculate it once, and then work with other particle system properties via post-cache operators (shape, size, orientation, mapping, color etc.).
In addition, this package provides the Express Save operator, which speeds up saving of scene files, and the included Repair Cache System utility can resolve misbehavior of the caching system after merging scene files.
The Particle Flow Tools: Cache plug-in comes in two flavors: Stand-alone and Network. The Stand-alone edition is for the stand-alone version of 3ds Max, while the Network edition is for 3ds Max with network licensing and has an unlimited amount of licenses for a specific network license of 3ds Max. There is no need to buy extra licenses for rendering; the rendering can be done "for free" with an unauthorized copy of the PF Tools: Cache plug-in.
The Particle Flow Tools: Cache plug-in is compatible with all versions of 3ds Max from 6 to 9, but it works only with the 32-bit version of 3ds Max 9. 3ds Max 9 64-bit is not supported.
All licenses (standalone and unlimited network) are time-restricted and are issued for a one-year term.
Note: The product is discontinued. There are no new versions coming; the last 3ds Max platform supported is release 9 32-bit.