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Fluid Dynamics Simulation

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Suppose I wanted to create a fluid dynamics plug-in for a program like Maya. I understand the basics of 2D fluid dynamics using a grid model, but I'm wondering how I use this to simulate cool effects like you see in movies of oceans. I guess that for an ocean you would just use a heightmap that takes values from the desity value in the fluid grid. My real question, however; is on simulating free moving water. By this I mean simulating rain drops, splashes, and fluid that fills a volume such as a glass, bucket, or bowl. I know it can be done, because there are plugins for maya that already do this, but I just can't fathom how. Thanks.

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