I am working on a sound design patch in max incorporating lots of different bits and bobs. I plan to have a separate line generator for each parameter available. My idea to add a little random function to this has got me lost in numerous metro, random, and drunk objects.
My question is, what is the best way to get a completely random output with respect to the specific parameters? And how deep is it worth getting in to?
"How deep is it worth getting?" you ask.
Randomness is too important to be left to chance.
If you are serious about randomness, I cannot recommend the Litter Power Package highly enough. It uses state-of-the-art algorithms for generating random numbers and provides practically every random number distribution known to mankind (uniform, Gauss/normal, log-normal, Poisson, Cauchy, binomial, beta, etc. etc. etc.) as well as a few that are only known to Wikipedia.
All of this is with the caveat that I authored Litter Power. Nevertheless, I am convinced that it is objectively fair to say that no one in the Max world has put more effort and thought into randomness than I have.
The random-number-generating objects bundled with Max (random, drunk, prob) only scratch the surface of randomness. And, although it pains me to say so, the core algorithm used by these objects is just not very good. (David Zicarelli documented the algorithm several years ago on the list, it is taken from _Numerical Recipes_ and is notorious for its flaws.) But if they’re good enough for your purposes, fine.
The commercial Litter Power Pro Bundle is UB on Mac. There is a Litter Starter Pack that is free, but in the Mac universe it is currently only available for PPC (ie, up to Max/MSP 4.5.x). This limitation is irrelevant for Windows users.