Knowing how to get help is one of the most crucial aspects of learning how to use any software, and particularly complex environments such as Max/MSP.
Different Ways of Getting Help in Max/MSP
Select an object (see this image to understand the different ways of selecting in Max 4.x). In Max 5.x, single-click to select and move an object, double-click to edit it if it can be edited (e.g. a comment in a comment box).
Choose 'Help on [the name of your object]' from the Help menu, or, in Max 5.x, use command-shift-H.
Alternatively, option-click on an object.
Read the manual: there are a number of these available in Documentation on your machine. Alternatively, you can download the complete set from the Cycling 74 website 4.6 here. Online information about Max 5 is here. Note particularly the reference manual, containing details of all objects and the tutorials, giving many examples.
If none of this helps(!), try looking in the Max Window (Window/Max) or Max Window (Window/Max Window) in Max 5.x to see if any errors have come up
If this doesn't help, and your problem is in making an object work (in other words, there's no problem with the object being there, you just can't get it to do what it's supposed to, or you can't understand the error that is being generated in the Max Window), you should try searching the internet, or Cycling '74's site. You may need to know the version of Max, the platform and the OS details your are using in case there's a known issue with what you're trying to do. Be sure to include the object name (including a tilde (~) if necessary) and the word(s) 'MaxMSP'in your search terms.
There are a number of fora (forums) you can try to ask about the problem - there's a link to one above. HOWEVER, you should be very careful that you have genuinely found out as much as possible first from the documentation (see above) that you have. One of the most common responses to new users (newbies - that's probably you) asking basic questions that are answered in other places is RTFM, or read the f***ing manual. Should you ever want to communicate with the forum again (concerning something more esoteric) you'll be glad you checked the manual first. Also read about How To Ask Questions The Smart Way.
bang & toggle -> easy way to see what's going on in the patch; test; use it to print values
Use print to print an output to the Max Window
Choose an object - preferably one that interests you, but that is not too complex (unless you want an additional challenge - and potentially more points). The object can be from the standard Max distribution, or it can be an external object that you've downloaded from the internet. Choose an object that is at least vaguely interesting to demonstrate.
Create a new patch to demonstrate the object. Refer to the help file if you like but DON'T copy it. Make your own. Refer to the Max/MSP documentation. Quote something from it (the documentation, that is), including the manual name and page number.
Include in the patch references to similar objects/methods and where they can be found.
If the object makes or alters sound, include a short audio file demonstrating the object.
Added value By completing the details of the task you will achieve at least a pass mark. By imaginatively and creatively considering how you might implement the task originally you can add value to your submission, and this added value may increase your mark significantly. Even when making videos of short demonstration tasks try to consider musical and performance criteria.
Zip or Stuff your patches into one file called your_student_number_"Help" (e.g. 0504335_Help), include a readme with your name and student number and, if necessary, how to use or just open the patch, and submit the whole thing, including a copy of the external if possible here.
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The Projects and Tasks
The projects and tasks are designed to help you through the various courses and materials that you'll have to deal with, and also to provide an active and practical element to what could otherwise become a rather dry and technical exercise. Tasks are small exercises - you may be asked to complete one or two per week. Projects are larger and carry a higher percentage of the mark. We will undertake two, three, four or more projects and tasks. The final project is usually an individual choice project, and will be worth significantly more than the others in terms of percentages in your portfolio. We will usually try to set aside a time to perform the projects in a public setting.