As a bit of background, I've been a loyal FL Studio user since about version 2.5. I absolutely love Image-Line, and I generally direct any aspiring producer I can to FL as I firmly feel that it's the most efficient production environment on the market right now. In just about every use-case that I can think of, there is almost always an elegant solution in FL.
Baring a few stability and CPU use problems, Patcher is a huge step forward in workflow because it finally allows artists and sound designers to save complete and reusable instrument presets with complex FX chains. Essentially, combining mixer presets, channel presets / generators, and customized macros all in one preset is an amazing thing. There is nothing not to love about this functionality.
Unfortunately, there is one area that I feel both Patcher and FL Studio in general falls short on - which, if changed intelligently, could drastically improve workflow and introduce a wide range of new creative possibilities for producers that rely heavily on complex modulation. Much of this revolves around the current process of linking and properly scaling multiple parameters from internal and third party plugins to a single control.
My proposed changes (below) are a rough and dirty attempt to improve upon what I perceive to be a clumsy implementation of parameter linking and input mapping.
1. Every new instance of patcher is auto-populated with six default "special" knobs, or what I've called Macros. The reason they are "special" is because they are always persistent and remain locked to the top of Patcher's main window for easy access and tweakability as you continue to refine a sound. The idea is similar to performance controls that come with many soft synths, I.E. Alchemy, Massive, etc. These wouldn't interfere with or replace dashboard controls, the only difference is that they are persistent and allow for quick multi-linking.
2. Ideally, you can toggle macro visibility by clicking on the button next to the "x" on the top right. This would hypothetically collapse or hide the top section of Patcher to free up real estate if screen space is at a premium.
3. Each macro has a button that will "arm" it. Once a macro has been armed, you are then free to tweak any number of parameters on any plugin inside of patcher that you would like to link to that macro. This essentially would function identically to the "Multilink to controllers" feature in FL itself, except it would just link directly to the armed control instead of popping up a series of remote control dialogs. With this change, you can now easily chain-link very large numbers of parameters - from any number of plugins - to a single control, in seconds.
Macro Controls / Mapping Editor Window:
1. A new tab was introduced to the patcher interface, dedicated to editing and refining the mappings created from macro multi-linking. Basically my vision here is a version of the remote control settings window, but on crack.
2. Each parameter link would auto populate inside of this window and allow you to customize its mapping to its assigned macro. I've included quick minimum and maximum sliders as I believe this is the most common tweak that most people would like to perform on the standard input mapping formula. There are also quick linear and exponential toggles that would remap accordingly within the min/max range. This would be extremely helpful when dealing with FM synthesis as it can be very touchy (hence my screenshot of FM8).
3. To remove a link, simply click the x on the right of the listed assignment.
4. To filter links by macro, you can toggle the display by selecting any combination of numbers next to "Filter:". This would help with large amounts of links.
5. Alternatively, if you would prefer to use your own mapping formula for any input, you can select the formula toggle, and it would then use this rather than the quick minimum / maximum sliders (see the first link on the screenshot for an example).
And that's it. As UI/UX is my profession, I also want to mention that these were put together rather quickly (about an hour) - and they aren't without flaws. For instance, having more than six macros on top would be awesome if it could be done somehow. I'd also love to see something like this built in to FL itself - not just patcher, I.E. an enhanced version of the dashboard with the same parameter linking feature set.
So in conclusion, if you feel like this could be useful to your workflow - please speak up!
Edit2: Fixed screenshot order / phrasing.
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