Forums > MaxMSP

An interactive application for desktop: advice for the best development environment

September 10, 2008 | 11:33 pm

Sorry if this seems off-topic or primitive. I have not really used MAX yet…

I now have a task of creating an interactive application for a desktop, to be delivered on a CD or similar. So, I am thinking what to use to develop it. I am interested to know if you think MAX/MSP/Jitter would be good/adequate for this. Or should I stick to Flash or some such.

The project in question has to combine large, multi-layered 2D images with transparencies that the user will be able to drag/pan and click on. It will include video too. Not sure if images on top of video are a possibility. It might include 3D but I shall try to avoid it. Interactivity will include clicking, dragging, zooming – basic stuff. The logic will include support for several narrative lines, feedback on progress, etc. It would be nice to be able to have the content in a database-like form so that it could be reused in multiple places.

I would rather learn MAX than Flash because I am also interested in more complex, installation-like environments and this could be my excuse to delve into it in earnest. But I need to know that it could support my more conventional needs too.

I would appreciate a general advice on how to approach this is a best way and any pointers to good precedents/examples either as finished projects or tutorials or patches.

Thank you very much for your help,

Maria


September 14, 2008 | 8:18 pm

you can definitely do all of this with max/msp/jitter but i don’t think it
would be as efficient as something like flash or maya.

it is definitely worth while diving into, especially as you say, you are
interested in installation like environments.

check out the open gl stuff in jitter.

Cheers,

Carey

On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 12:33 AM, mabram wrote:

>
> Sorry if this seems off-topic or primitive. I have not really used MAX
> yet…
>
> I now have a task of creating an interactive application for a desktop, to
> be delivered on a CD or similar. So, I am thinking what to use to develop
> it. I am interested to know if you think MAX/MSP/Jitter would be
> good/adequate for this. Or should I stick to Flash or some such.
>
> The project in question has to combine large, multi-layered 2D images with
> transparencies that the user will be able to drag/pan and click on. It will
> include video too. Not sure if images on top of video are a possibility. It
> might include 3D but I shall try to avoid it. Interactivity will include
> clicking, dragging, zooming – basic stuff. The logic will include
> support for several narrative lines, feedback on progress, etc. It would be
> nice to be able to have the content in a database-like form so that it could
> be reused in multiple places.
>
> I would rather learn MAX than Flash because I am also interested in more
> complex, installation-like environments and this could be my excuse to delve
> into it in earnest. But I need to know that it could support my more
> conventional needs too.
>
> I would appreciate a general advice on how to approach this is a best way
> and any pointers to good precedents/examples either as finished projects or
> tutorials or patches.
>
> Thank you very much for your help,
>
> Maria
>


September 15, 2008 | 7:19 pm

Hi Maria,

As you haven’t started learning Max yet, I don’t want to overload you with too much new stuff, but have you checked out Processing? If you fancy going down the coding route, I know that some pretty nice things can be written in it, and that it can then be used to interface with Max/MSP in order to process audio as well…

http://www.processing.org/

G


September 16, 2008 | 2:18 pm

Thanks for the answers.

So, why is Processing more suitable than MAX?


September 16, 2008 | 4:09 pm

I am not an expert in Processing but from what I’ve seen and what I do know,
Processing seems more versatile for visual stuff then max. Max’s strength
is realtime stuff and user-friendliness.

I’ve seen some people put together some amazing stuff in Processing fairly
quickly but they went through a lot of frustration to get there.

It is much easier with Jitter to just throw together some example patches
and get some neat stuff happening.

Cheers,

Carey

On Tue, Sep 16, 2008 at 3:19 PM, mabram wrote:

>
> Thanks for the answers.
>
> So, why is Processing more suitable than MAX?
>


September 16, 2008 | 5:45 pm

If you can swing it, it might be interesting and useful to do it in Flash and Max simultaneously, for learning and comparison purposes (and maybe journal it! :)

There’s some stuff that would definitely be better done in Flash, and vice versa: for example, dragging objects is super easy, as is creating non-rectangular hotspots for dragging or rollover objects, in Flash; but if dealing with lots of images with effects, video, etc., Max is way better for many things (depends on your level of expertise too, of course). For things like user-settable presets for object attributes, changing parameters like effects, creating and using dropdowns/text areas/sliders, saving and loading files of settings, or dealing with program/interface logic, this is where Max shines and Flash would be pretty cumbersome.

As an example, I made a 16-step sequencer using Director back in the day, which would have been pretty similar in Flash, and was so overly excited that I figured out how to write a text file with the current settings of the beats and was able to retrieve/reload it (took the better part of two evenings)! While I learned a lot of coding doing it, this would have taken about 5 seconds in Max (attach preset to matrixctrl)… and this would have been a lot more useful anyway (matrixctrl is amazing)… so you have to weigh these decisions; you’ll always learn more than you need, which can be helpful in a later project, or *not*… maybe your time would have been better spent playing and designing, instead of utilizing preexisting code? that is there for the sole purpose of making your life easier? Do you care how Photoshop alters the contrast of an image, or do you just want to move that slider and have it work?

Zooming would be somewhat tricky in Max, you can do it with jit.rota, but it wouldn’t zoom vectors smoothly like Flash does (unless you can fake the vectors somehow in OpenGL, or use LCD perhaps). Depends on what you’re after—Flash has some built-in zoom for the end user (the .swf viewer), but again, *no* program can "really" zoom bitmaps… that is, the same way you can with vectors, without losing resolution. Probably this isn’t news though.

I’m way more partial to Max, but there are a lot of things Flash also does very well, plus web delivery is a big plus. If this is for CD delivery this is not as much of an issue. You might find that the kinds of interaction you discover via Max are what you’re looking for, maybe not… regardless, I think you’d find lots of other interesting elements there along the way, and there are certainly a ton of other things it can do besides this which you might want to tinker with down the road. Once you start "getting" how the logic and the UI elements can be hooked together, you’ll see a million possibilities…

I’m decent at Processing and there are a bunch of things it also does well. However, I’d definitely take Flash over it (if you have the program) since it has a lot more built-in that you can use, plus the Actionscript will get you plenty of additional script/code power beyond the GUI with the timeline, the drawing tools, morphing, and importing which Flash makes way easier to utilize.

Hope that make things clear as mud!

–CJ


September 16, 2008 | 7:53 pm

I recently had to complete a project in both Max 5 and Flash.

Client wanted an app which ran in a kiosk type situation so I figured a
jitter window running fullscreen would be fine.

Then they told me they wanted it to run over the net, but I had already done
the jitter version.

I think at the end of the day they both pretty much pan out as viable ways
of getting animation done.

I don’t think you’d have any problems doing the sort of things you want to
do in Max, you’ll just have to be more aware of the video hardware power you
have on the machine you want to run it on.

The newish layer support for rendering gl makes things pretty easy in jitter
and I personally am able to work faster in Max than I am in Flash.

I think either way you have to spend some time in a scripting language,
either AS or JS. Max sucks if you want to patch game type logic using
patchcords and standard max objects. Flash is better optimized and runs in
browsers, there are lots more examples of Flash things around you can
decompile too.

:)

-stimpy


September 19, 2008 | 10:22 am

Thank you for the answers. Very helpful!


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