Ohmforce is going through great changes behind the scene. For a while our path has lacked clarity which made it difficult to make any announcement. Not anymore! Catalina update for Mac OSX is our occasion to tackle those important decisions and tell you about it.
We’re going to develop over the next years a new generation of our existing plugin collection. Ohmboyz Infinity (Q1 2020) will be the first installation. That new generation will be both a replacement for the previous one and bring edgy new possibilities. It will be Catalina compliant as well as many other general benefits (better on laptop screens, security and install stuff, quick to update, etc.)
Current plugins (save for Ohmboyz infinity, which is the first next gen one) will be rebranded as “Originals”. Owning them will unlock fairly priced upgrades to new versions as they arrive. Ultimately those original plugins will also be discontinued, ending in some case 20 years of support. Is that the longest support ever provided for a plugin? It may well be!
Good news is that they’re still working under Catalina albeit they may need some manual actions.
Ohmboyz was initially released in early 2000. In apps development, you build those on libraries that you can reuse for new apps/plugins. Sure enough, we had our own set of libraries that we were pretty proud of at the time (like most of our peers with their owns, no doubt). The graphical part especially has still some pretty cool features such has subpixel animations that brought that much more smoothness.
But 20 years is an eternity in development and Ohmboyz, who was initially seen as too big on 2000’s screens, had, for instance, become too small The addition of many new constraints by DAW/OS makers had also taken its toll and it became increasingly difficult to just update anything.
In the meantime we had been completely focused on Ohmstudio, then Irisate. Old plugins are generally stable and we were happy to support them – it was easy enough, and there was still a demand. But as we wanted to go back to our initial interest in making cool sound manglers and started Ohmboyz Infinity, it became irresistible to just do a giant redo. New library, new features, new look, new names: the full monty.
When you do that you’re never sure of how much time it will take / if you’ll be able to pull it / how much you want to commit. First, we knew we wanted to go JUCE, but we had to take a deep dive to see exactly what it entailed for us. In a way, though, it was taking a deep dive in our own legacy code that was the biggest adventure (don’t laugh). Simon Ardon, our new head of dev for plugins, was taking the reign out of Laurent de Soras (who still coded the DSP side of Infinity) and there were a lot of intimidating challenges to solve and knowledge to transmit.
Ultimately we did well enough at it to feel confident in our ability to feed you audio needs for a few more decades 😉 Well, we better had to be sure about that cue in Catalina, the biggest event we ever had since we’re making plugins.
See, our first rule is that what matters isn’t our apps but what you do with it. Being able to open old projects and still run them always was a guideline to us, which is one of the reasons we have such an long supported catalog (the other reason being those plugs are still fricking cool to this day, from the sell of it). You can guess it took quite some dedication to make sure that free Frohmage went from PC VST32 / PC Direct X / Mac VST 32 / Winamp / BeOS VST to PC VST 32/64 AAX, Mac AU, VST, AAX with many things in between such as RTAS or Carbon. You can still install an old Cakewalk on Windows 10 and 2000’s Direct X Ohmboyz will likely still run.
Catalina wipes all that retro compatibility dream on Mac. Sure, the plugin itself can still run but they require a brand new installer which doesn’t make sense to create when you’re already moving the catalog on a new tech.
Good thing is we could validate the design philosophy of Ohmboyz Infinity based on user’s feedback. That’s macros², new modulation, and the extra stuff that’s cooking (new UI, new browser) as part of the new libraries. It’s also clear that we have to make sure Ohmboyz Original sounds can always be recreated on Ohmboyz Infinity – and same for the other pairs.
Unfortunately it wont go up to the point where next gen plugin X will be able to automatically replace original plugin X in your Catalina run DAW. That’s simply not feasible. Actually, plugin format is also changing so, for now, loading say an Ohmboyz preset into Ohmboyz Infinity isn’t available either although we’ll certainly consider developing a wrapper if there’s a demand for it.
We also had to decide how to deal with Originals license owners vs the new ones. We ruled for a sensibly priced upgrade (it’s a third of full price for Infinity) if you have the original plugin. Making it free was neither sustainable nor in line with the value delivered, but we also realize some of you are happy with those plugins as they are and are de facto forced to pay an upgrade for the same use. Hopefully, that compromise will make sense to all.
And that’s how we decided the road map of our future releases. Hang in tight, people, new ohm stuff is coming!
Ohmboyz Infinity will open that new lineup very soon. We’re currently aiming at Q1 2020. We’ll then follow with Frohmage and proceed to Ohmicide. Obviously, as those are not just a Catalina update it will take some time even wityh the common library handling compatibility. Still we’re aiming for 1 year before the new Ohmicide is here.
PS: Similarly, our website also needed rework. It’s another funny adventure we’ll talk about soon enough!