I'm creating this post because I couldn't find any previous information anywhere on this issue and I want to provide help to others in case they run into the same situation.
TL; DR - the same exact control surface, loaded into different instances of Patcher, sometimes won't share global links. Make sure you always add your control surface first, before any other generator/effect, and you will avoid this problem
You're attempting to use a control surface in Patcher as an intermediary between your hardware controller and a VSTi that has parameters normally controllable by MIDI only. This seems like a good workaround for FL Studio's apparent unwillingness to have global links for MIDI CC's, right? So you make a control surface which mirrors your hardware controller and start linking to your heart's content, saving some templates for later. No more having to re-link controls to your MIDI controlled VSTs all the time!
Except you run into some weird behavior - you load the same exact control surface into multiple instances of Patcher.... annnnd sometimes they respond to your links, and sometimes they don't.
I'm not 100% certain, but it seems this is because the "override generic link" is technically going to your instance of Patcher initially. Patcher seems to have its own parameter inputs which then just ferry the data to the generators/effects contained inside. Which generator/effect is assigned to which of Patcher's parameters *seems* to be determined by the order of creation. So if you make a new instance of Patcher and the very first thing you add is your new control surface, that control surface will be hooked up to Patcher's first parameter. However, if you add other generators/effects first and add the control surface after? It seems like it may get assigned to a different parameter within Patcher.
You can confirm if you have this problem by looking in the *.flmapping file created by FL Studio when making links (on PC it's in [your fl studio install directory]\system\config\mapping\generic\local). Opening that up in a text editor, look for <![CDATA[Patcher]]> and then, right below that, <windowparam> and a number. If you have two instances of your controller that won't share a link, you can see the difference here - when you break a link with one controller to establish it with the other, this number will change, to reflect that the input from your hardware controller is now being routed through a different parameter in Patcher.
There seems to be no way to directly control this, except by paying attention to the order in which you add generators/effects to Patcher. In a future release, it might be nice if there were a setup option for Patcher where you could remap its input parameters. In the meanwhile, I hope this information helps someone.
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Thanks for posting this, I can confirm everythi...