I looked at their blender_nif_lugin progress:
It turns out they have been working on 2.6 which should work with Blender >= 2.77
This looks promising. Anything to get us out of the 2.49b era.
I've also been talking with cc9cii, he snuck in some extra NIF bits from Oblivion and above:
- Loading new NIF formats. Most NIF records types are loaded but not all are handled (i.e. new type of particle effects, animations, etc). This is based on the current OpenMW framework and I am not 100% happy with it (or some of the existing implementations). The new files in "components/nif" will need to be cleaned up a bit before it can be merged - and probably will generate some discussions.
- Handling of the NIF models. There are two types for the newer NIF versions, visible mesh/triangle/skin and physics shapes (well, there might be more that I'm not aware of). These are not done well at all, I just hacked and hard-coded to get stuff working. I'm currently looking at the physics part and it it taking a very long time because I'm having to rewrite constantly as I learn more stuff that invalidates my earlier assumptions... Still, all that could be cleaned up without too much trouble for merging (since the functionality of the newer NIF's don't overlap the old in most cases)