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MaxMSP Tasks

The Making Mistakes Task

Task Name: Set: Due: Weighting: Courses:
Task Summary All CMP tasks

While it may sometimes appear that you are entirely at the mercy of luck as to whether something works or not in Max, there are things that you can do to help diagnose why things aren't working.

To cover:

Calling files by the names of objects:
If you name a Max file with the same name as an object it contains, 
(or include a sub-patch with the same name as the patch or another
object), when you quit and reopen Max you will find an error message 
(in the Max window).  

Your only option is to quit Max, rename the file and 
reopen the programme.  Be careful with this as any connections to 
the object will be disconnected.

Object Loading Itself
Right to Left Priority False Positives, False Negatives etc... (Types of Error)

This also has ramifications concerning:

All other software environments
External Objects

The Task

  • In advance, sorry for the convoluted nature of the first part of the task. We're trying to generate errors, and you can take some consolation from the fact that this isn't as easy as you might think!
  • Download this zipped file, save it somewhere and unzip it.
  • Within the resulting folder you'll find a file called sfplay~. This is important.
  • Open the file called mysfplay in Max/MSP. This is a text file, so you'll need to drop the file on the Max/MSP icon (in the dock) or open it from within Max/MSP. Double-clicking on the file will probably just open it in a text editor. However, if you have done this, you can probably just select all, copy and from within Max choose File/Open New from Clipboard (or just open a new patcher and paste the text into it).
  • Within the patch, you should see an object called sfplay~.
  • Without saving the patch at any point, change the name of the object in the patch to mysfplay~.
  • The object should become improper, and if you...
  • ...look in the Max window...
  • ...you should see an error like this: Object Loading Itself
  • This is because you had an object already called mysfplay~ in the folder and the patch itself is called mysfplay.
  • Now rename the object in the patch mysfplay~ to sfplay~. The object should become proper again. You may need to reload Max at this point.
  • Now quit Max/MSP and in the directory you've just downloaded change the name of the max object itself called mysfplay~ to sfplay~.
  • Reopen the patch mysfplay.
  • You should get a similar error to the above - that the patch 'tried to load itself'. Without saving, quit Max/MSP and change the name of the object itself back to mysfplay~.
  • Open the file MaxMakingMistakes in Max/MSP and you should notice that the patches now work correctly. This is a relatively common error because people tend to want to name patches by the name of the object they're studying. If the name of your patch is the same as an object contained within it, you'll receive this error and the object won't work.
  • Open the patch MaxMakingMistakes in Max/MSP and solve the problems there.


  • Zip or Stuff your patches into one file called your_student_number_"Mistakes" (e.g. 0504335_Mistakes, 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 here.

You might also be interested in:

  • Not making mistakes

The Projects

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.