Coding for vst

DSP, Plug-in and Host development discussion.
12 posts since 31 Mar, 2019

Post Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:54 pm

How long will it take me to learn code from scratch and make a decent plug to sell

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3737 posts since 22 Jul, 2006 from Tasmania, Australia

Re: Coding for vst

Post Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:07 am

It depends how well your intelligence is suited to it

522 posts since 6 Aug, 2005 from England

Re: Coding for vst

Post Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:12 am

You don't know how to code at all? It's impossible to answer as I think you suspect.
It's all down to your enthusiasm and the need to create. Start by trying this guys stuff:
A bit childish, but technically very good at times.
You need to know if you're cut out for coding or not. Then go on to C++! :)
Plug-in wise it's all about your logic and ultimately your mathematical background.

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DJ Warmonger
3020 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: Coding for vst

Post Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:12 am

Very long. Learning programming at decent level takes many years, same is true for DSP / sound engineering in general. To make an audio plugin you need to know how audio and sound work, in detail.
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

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Full Bucket
572 posts since 25 May, 2010 from Hessisch Uganda, Germany

Re: Coding for vst

Post Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:24 am

While coding is easy I never learned how to sell my stuff. :hihi:

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249 posts since 4 Jun, 2018 from The UK

Re: Coding for vst

Post Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:04 am

Full Bucket wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:24 am
While coding is easy I never learned how to sell my stuff. :hihi:
Maybe by not making everything free? :lol:
Great synths btw, I had a lot of fun with the ModulAir beta during OSC - hopefully we get another Full Bucket synth soon!

Also, regarding the OP question. If you don't know how long it will take to get good at something you don't know anything about, I would assume it takes 10 years! Then ask yourself if you want to go on that journey knowing it will take that long. If you still want to, then you should definitely have a go, but be ready to stick with it when it gets tough! Not saying it will take 10 years, but the instant gratification marketers have trained us with could be a big let down when you realise it takes a lot of work to learn these hard skills.

I'm a bit of a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy, I think it took me about 3 years of self learning from books in the evenings to really get past the initial brick wall and really begin to understand programming, and that's with easier languages like C#. C++ is a different beast all together, it's a very large and complex language! If 3 years of initial frustration just trying to get your head around 'how' to program doesn't put you off, then give it a go :lol:
Now I use my programming skills in my job to do editor scripts for Unity3D and it's been very beneficial for my job. But I have no idea how to approach making an audio plugin, that seems like a much bigger undertaking to me!

555 posts since 6 Mar, 2005 from USA

Re: Coding for vst

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:20 pm

It took me one week to learn how to write very simple programs in a simple programming language, but it took me a semester to be able to solve problems in the language that could do something minimally actually useful. It took another semester to learn how to write somewhat simplistic but useful graphical programs under Windows/iOS. It took me one month to learn about object oriented programming techniques, but two years to learn how to use them effectively. It took a semester to learn basic concepts about signals and systems (after 3 semesters of calculus), but two semesters of graduate courses in DSP and stochastics before I learned it well. Then when I began writing programs for clients (not involving audio VSTs, but using similar technologies) I had about two more years of having many, many "duh! So that's how it works!" moments when I learned why something I wrote didn't work as expected - sometimes stringing together parts of theory, sometimes learning how much of our perception is psychological.

After twenty years of consulting and teaching DSP for a living I still have those moments, just more rarely.

If you enjoy the process of learning, go for it! If you like learning about math and solving puzzles, then you'll like the process, which is a success whether or not you end up selling VSTs. Maybe you'll get side-tracked and work in telecom, or go into control theory, or consult for clients who need help getting real-world data collection systems's all good. But if you're looking only at "how long is the shortest path from zero to earning a living as a VST author", I'd say you are unlikely to be happy, even in the unlikely case you make it there.

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12165 posts since 7 Dec, 2004

Re: Coding for vst

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:04 pm

If the stuff you make is really great and there is a lot of demand you can actually make 100% of your income from giving it away for free and selling add-ons like presets or extensions. See stuff like minecraft or fortnite.

In the world of audio plug-ins we have a similar situation where some of the most successful plug-ins are actually samplers or so on. The main income doesn't come from the core plug-in itself but rather extensions and add-ons, sample packs, presets and banks and so on.

These days with prices dropping so fast and expendable income disappearing you should definitely be looking at how you can leverage an otherwise free product to make your money. This is definitely the future just as it was in the past.

The fact is DSP in audio plug-ins is not a field where you make money. It's a hobby field. Aiming to make a living from an audio plug-in today is similar to aiming to write an "iphone app" to get rich. It just isn't going to happen and you're more likely to win the lottery.

If you want to make money writing DSP code (one of programming's most intense fields among several related fields such as cryptography, compression,) there are plenty of other areas to look for employment where you're guaranteed a significant income.

Why don't you look at entry-level positions writing python enterprise front-ends for web databases or similar at around 80k salary?
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