I've noticed that the most supported physics engine for jME is ODE, like many other engines. I'm curious why more things aren't switching over to bullet (I know someone's working on that here). From what I've seen bullet seems a superior physics engine which is actively being developed why ODE seems rather dead. Can someone explain why ODE is still rather prevalent? Am I missing something?
ODE is actually pretty powerful. I just beat a game that I was surprised to see in the credits used ODE (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl). I think each physics engine has its strengths and weaknesses and that's one of the great things about jME-Physics is that you can easily switch between JBullet, Bullet, PhysX, ODE, JOODE, etc. without much (or maybe any) change of code in your game. I would argue PhysX is a better engine for my desires, but the great things is that we don't have to just choose one.
Would you might clarifying on ODE's strengths? It looks like it might have had some, but I imagine it fell behind quite a bit in the time (years?) since it was developed.
One of the main reasons so many Java games rely on it is because of the JODE binding that exists that people could use. It was the first high-performance physics engine to be available for Java I believe. I think the main thing that ODE touts is the advantages in car type games where you have wheels that turn with friction. Irrisor could probably give more details on strengths though.