dropping Pluggo was probably the crazyest and stupidest thing Cycling ever did. apart from that, i adore all their products.
Max for Live is like next generation Pluggo, in terms of how it works and what it is capable of, as well in terms of: Cycling '74 dropped Pluggo in favour of Max for Live, and all that technology went in to that product. it is the closest thing to Pluggo, except you need the bloated price tag Live. it is fantastic though.
Whilst Jamoma 'Plugtastic' is exciting, why oh why they decided to concentrate on Mac only AudioUnits (or 'pointless shit units' as i like to call them) is beyond me. Surely what we need is cross platform VST support? it is amazing work though. Also, the specific patching environment is more like gen~ than Max patching per se, in that you use specific modules. Although the DSP Audio Graph is a beautiful thing that it would be fantastic to have natively in Max.
The best thing to do is: become really good at 'stuff' by becoming really good at Max, then learn C++ and roll your own. This is not as far fetched as it seems. Max really helps with learning C if you are not used to it. i can vouch for its success.
Then, there are more helpful things around the corner: Oli Larkin's 'iPlug' libraries / environment have got to be the most amazing thing to have ever come out for plug in coding, especially for slight wonky heads like me. it is a triumph. check it out.
but my favourite post-pluggo method that is reliable and brilliant? JACK. period. especially 0.89 or later. now, if only Cycling would make Max audio driver that is jack-native...
p.s. - if you are Roman Thilenius you use Max 4.0 on OS9 with Opcode DAW and convince yourself it is the best option. he crazy. (sorry, couldn't resist!)
Pid: Your comments are exactly in line with my own thinking. JACK is a true revelation. iPlug will consume what little spare time I have. My background includes some amount of oo, so c++ is not terrifying.
Good to know I have backup when I get further along
for the record i didn't make IPlug... I just extended it a bit.
other options instead of Jack include soundflower, Rewire (if max is just generating audio, not processing), or if you use Reaper as your DAW i know people have successfully used reaper's reroute ASIO driver with Max (win only). But i'm not sure how well any of those options work bi-directionally.