Coming updates and 2018 summer roadmap

Recently, the development pace of AudioNodes shifted a little, and this is the reason we didn't publish an update in June.

Instead of focusing on releasing new major features (such as new Nodes), we are now working on improvements to make using AudioNodes more productive and convenient in general. We are also working on internal architecture changes, in preparation for some epic new features coming later this year (like, really epic features), as well as a systematic eradication of countless newly discovered bugs.

Long story short, we want to make AudioNodes easier and less restrictive to use (after all, it's AudioNodes that's for you, not the other way around).

General Productivity Improvements

We took some time to sit back and think about AudioNodes from the large picture, and sketched up a lot of productivity/convenience improvements, which are now under development, and will go live soon.

While there is no definite list for these changes currently, a significant part of them is for the Timeline. We strongly feel that working on the Timeline is not at all intuitive (perhaps this is an understatement), as you have to keep switching back to the Patcher to carry out even the smallest changes to your audio setup.

This may or may not be an issue for you if using the experimental multi-screen feature for the Timeline, but it's now definitely changing for the better: we'd like to solve most of these problems by allowing common tasks to be carried out from the Timeline directly. This includes the option to drag-and-drop content (e.g. audio files) on the Timeline directly.

Internal Changes

We've been spending a lot of time with internal architectural improvements recently. These are changes which are, for the most part, not directly observable in AudioNodes at all, except perhaps for a slight increase in performance here and there, depending on your project sizes.

In any event, these internal improvements are an important part for a healthy development lifecycle, as they enable us to add better and more features faster in the future, as well as to track down bugs easier. We're putting a lot of effort into this part of the development currently, which may make it seem like the development progress is slower than usual. It's not, it's just in part about internal changes which are not so obvious on the surface.

ETA on the Next Update?

We'll be sure to keep pushing out an update soon, as the development on these changes is progressing quite fast. However, due to the scope of changes we are currently working on, we couldn't ready up an update this month. One is coming in July for sure.

The rest of this post will go through some of the more important changes anticipated, although not all of these are guaranteed to land in the next update. If there is something you'd like to see, please don't hesitate to post a comment about it!

VST Plugin Node Improvements

As mentioned in the 0.2.1 update notes earlier, a remarkable set of improvements will be coming to the VST Plugin Node soon, of which the most notable are the following:

  • Massive stability improvements and much less glitching
  • Parameter automation
  • Better plugin crash handling (we'd like to make it so that a crashing plugin does not crash AudioNodes entirely)
  • Support on Linux and mac (it's not entirely certain when these will be available)

"Per-Note" Audio Effects

Currently, most effects and automation can only be applied to an entire audio signal wholesale. We'd like to make it so that audio effects can be applied to individual notes as well, including a straightforward way to apply any desired automation in place.

This is likely going to be done in the form of a library of per-note, ADSR-envelope driven effects (gain is something that already exists in this form on several Nodes, such as the Melodic Oscillator Node). We currently have a working prototype internally for this, it looks something like this at the moment:

It's nowhere near finished of course, and this is most likely not how it will end up, but it's in the works.

Subpatches

One of the key features of AudioNodes is modularity, i.e. the possibility to compose effects and other Nodes with complete freedom. However, re-using a group of Nodes isn't really possible beyond manually copy-pasting or cloning them.

We are currently working on Subpatch support, which is the name of the functionality to group two or more Nodes into one, and then use the group as a single unit (a single Node). We anticipate this feature to be a major productivity improvement, as you can very easily re-use complex logic with it. It's not yet clear how the Timeline would be affected by this.

A large portion of the work is already completed here, but there's still a lot to do, and it's still pending in-depth testing. We really want Subpatches to be an immensely powerful tool, something you can ultimately use to even build your own Nodes.

Timeline Improvements

A few things we are currently working on, in no particular order:

  • Drag-and-dropping files on the Timeline directly, without having to tinker around with connections on the Patcher
  • Adding and assigning Envelopes to Segments on the Timeline directly (although it is not yet decided how exactly this would work for all cases)
  • Adding or changing some effects on the Timeline directly
  • More tools to arrange content
  • Automatically adjusting project duration

High-Resolution Audio Analyzer Tools

We'll extend the functionality offered by the current analyzer Nodes (such as the Spectrum Analyzer Node) to offer more accuracy and higher resolution. They are receiving an aesthetic design pass, a full-screen view (similarly to the Graphic Equalizer Node), and some additional settings to customize how they work.

Closing Words

So, as mentioned above, these are mostly generic all-around improvements, and not exactly brand new boxed features. We expect to finish these soon, and publish an update somewhere during the second half of July. It may come a little later, it's quite hard to tell at this point, simply because of the sheer scope of the changes.

In the meantime, if you have anything to add, please don't hesitate to share your thoughts in a comment below!

Posted in Roadmap.