Hear me out.
As I understand it in my limited knowledge, the role of a physics solver like the nucleus in Maya is to take the position of every physics element on frame X, then compute the next positions for frame X+1, and so on. Everything is time-dependent.
However, it seems there are specific situations where the actions can be resolved without time, and therefore without a solver - for example, basic soft collisions. Say a character wants to grip a rigid object tightly - the deformation of their skin around the object can be found knowing only the depth of the base position inside the object’s collision field, and the repulsive strength of the collision field. Unless you want to model the flexing skin as having mass and inertia in springy motion, there is no need to include time.
Please let me know if I am wrong in any of this, and please let me know if there is a way to achieve this in Maya without creating a full physics solver. Thanks very much.