I have a couple of days off from work, and I'm going to try to pull a Ton and emerge next week with character animation working for BlenderPeople.
It may happen. It may not.
I expect that the GUI will be limited for this second phase, as I have little desire to code it once with the really hard-to-manage Draw module, then do it again when Python panels are introduced later this year.
But, the good news is that (almost) all of the pieces are finally in place: Matchbone, action baking, fixes for bone flipping problems, an almost complete Action Strip python API. I'll have to modify the Py API a tiny bit to accomodate Multiply NLA mode and Matchbone, but that should be trivial.
In addition to getting character animation working at a basic level, I'm also playing around with the orders system, so that commanders can "publish" different orders than they follow. Currently, if you give an "attack" order to a commander, it passes right down to its subordinates. I'm modifying things so that a commander can, for instance, have a "target" order to get him to follow another Actor, while giving his troops a "regroup commander" order so they follow him.
The bad news is that all of my character animation modifications and fixes to the Blender sources are on hold for official inclusion. Ton has stated that the character animation code and math are kind of like spaghetti to him, so he's going to have to really review everything and understand it well before he lets it in.
So, you'll have to use a special build of Blender to run BP, just like in the old days.
On the up side, I'm probably going to SIGGRAPH this year and should be showing BP at the Blender booth. Maybe I'll get a few minutes to sit down with Ton and go over the code with him.
And now... off to work!