Every once in a while, I have the privilege to reveal the secrets about what we've been working on. A new software release is the big milestone for us. We don't have an office anymore, so we can't announce the construction of our new Spaceship Campus or even a pretend office made out of Lego.
Today we released Max 6.1.8. This is an exciting update for two major reasons:
- it provides massive increases in Gen loading performance, especially when loading multiple instances of the same Gen patcher
- as of this version, Gen editing is now free for all Max 6 users
6.1.8 also provides a nice set of the usual bug fixes and improvements. I recommend checking it out even if you aren't yet a Gen user.
I am also happy to announce that this fall we will be releasing Max 7.
From now until the Max 7 release, you can purchase Max 6 for 20% off and get Max 7 for free. We've also lowered the price of the Max 6 upgrade — including Gen — to the Max 7 upgrade price of $149.
Now I'd like to tell you a bit about what's coming in Max 7 and why you might be interested in it.
- The authorization experience — The first thing you'll probably notice is a new account-based authorization system. No more serial numbers or challenges to deal with: just log into your Cycling '74 account and you're done. The purchase process (including upgrades and add-ons) happens within Max and authorizes the software immediately. The authorization can either be permanent for a computer that's offline a lot, or online, so you can work with Max on any computer you happen to be using.
- Teaching and learning — Whether you're teaching Max or trying to learn it for the first time, we think you'll appreciate Max 7's new interactive lessons that introduce patching with step-by-step projects. The documentation has also been beautifully streamlined and thoroughly updated. We've also integrated the Vizzie and BEAP high-level patching environments into the software in a way that makes these amazing resources immediately accessible.
- Audio — We’ve integrated pitch shifting and time compression / expansion into most objects that deal with sample playback. It's now possible to use Max for Live devices within Max and we'll be including some amazing new devices that use Max 7 technologies. VST and AU plug-ins weren't ignored with integrated parameter saving and restoring, as well as a vastly improved generic editor view.
- Jitter — We've dramatically improved Max 7's video rendering performance with modern APIs and direct render to texture. jit.world is an easier-to-use entry point into Jitter that provides an all-in-one starter context for video, physics, and 3-D rendering. Our OpenGL support now includes shadows and post-processing such as depth-of-field and tone-mapping effects, as well as a new text engine.
- Patching workflow — We now save your patch as you're editing it, so in the event of a crash, you won't lose all your work. We've introduced a fast new way to save useful bits of patches called snippets. One immediate benefit of snippets is that every example in the documentation can now be pasted directly into a patch. We’ve also added object and patcher styles for fonts and colors.
- The patcher frame — Professional chefs talk about the concept of mise en place, where you arrange your tools and ingredients in a way that permits almost automatic access during the preparation of a dish. Inspired by this concept, we've created a toolbar frame that extends around the entire patching area with logically grouped tools and resources. Want an audio sample or a plug-in? Just go over to the left side of the patcher window and drag it in. Need an object? Now there's a palette (revived from older versions!) at the top of the window. The patcher frame can be customized as you like it, and it can even stay out of your way until you need it.
- Browsing and content patching — We've retired the file browser and replaced it with a new browser that's focused on powerful searching capabilities. Users testing early versions of Max 7 have described it as "their new best friend." Second, as I've indicated above, we've put the elements of patches — such as objects, media, snippets, and high-level Vizzie and BEAP modules — into a the new patcher frame. But access alone is not enough. Using media files in Max before required a lot of tweaky steps — it's a conceptually simple operation that frustrates new and experienced users alike. To address this challenge, Max 7 includes audio and video playlist objects that let you manage and play media files as easily as you would in, say, a DAW application.
There's much, much more about Max 7 I would love to share with you right now. But I need to get back to work so that we can put the new release in your hands. Rest assured, we won't be able to contain our excitement and we'll be sharing more specifics over the coming weeks. On behalf of all of my co-workers, I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to develop Max over the past couple of decades. We hope you find our latest work worthy of your continued support. Cycling '74 just celebrated its sixteenth birthday. I guess that means we can finally get a driver's license.