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Plugin archeology


What Cinema 4D release should be supported by plugin developers  

20 members have voted

  1. 1. When plugin developers create a new plugin, or when an update is provided to an existing plugin, what would you expect which version of Cinema 4D should be supported.

    • Latest version of Cinema 4D is fine enough (R21)
    • Latest and previous version ( R21 + R20)
    • R19 and above
    • R18 and above
    • R17 and above
    • R16 and above

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  • Silver Contributor

Recently I had to upgrade my development machine in order to be able to install and run Cinema 4D R21, and develop plugins for it.

Up to that point I was still using Windows 8.1 and happily running Cinema 4D R16 up to R20.

In the past I had kept installers for all releases, both on Windows and macOS in order to occasionally have a clean start and reinstall the operating system, development environment and Cinema 4D. Or so I thought ... as it seems I am missing the installer for R17 on Windows, and the R16 installer on macOS. Additionally, when installing R16 on Windows it doesn't update to the latest version anymore since MAXON seems to have removed it from their servers. Luckily I now have also downloaded all updates for R17 and up.


Still, I am missing some installers.

I could start discussing with MAXON support or MAXON SDK support how to obtain an old installer, and/or updates. But knowing this might lead to a dead end, I was simply wondering how far back users would need plugin support?


When I look through my personal plugin sales, I notice most users are R20, some R21. A very few have R19, and one or two are using R18 or R16.

As my plugins were originally created for R16 and above, I intend to keep it this way ... except that with the current situation I will not be able to provide any new updates for R16 and R17.


Hence the reason for the attached poll. How far back to you expect plugin updates to be available?


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  • Igor featured this topic

As the R20 was the first version to seriously break plugins, I need to keep one R19 around.

As R20 was the last version that's not phoning home, I need to keep one R20 around.

As my current version is R21, I need that as well...


Other users may be stuck on earlier versions because they chose to no longer update C4D at all. The needs are quite different, and you may end up losing the old versions anyway... once MAXON drops the legacy support for the "classic API", any old version of your plugins will essentially be a separate project with duplicate effort.


It may also be worthwhile to think about what happens if MAXON changes the API between major releases, e.g. in an April release reserved for subscribers (as opposed to releasing APIs just with the major version numbers that are also available to Perpetual users). If that breaks the plugins, you may end up having to support many more versions. (Currently hypothetical, as there has not been any subscriber-only release at all for the moment.)

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  • Silver Contributor

Thanks for the reply.

1 hour ago, Cairyn said:

... once MAXON drops the legacy support for the "classic API", any old version of your plugins will essentially be a separate project with duplicate effort.


As far as I am concerned pre-R20 plugins already are separate projects with duplicate effort.

Even with support for the classic API, separate implementation is needed for R20 plugins, as the code just cannot be shared. With the change in licensing and the CommandData even R21 plugins require to be a separate project.

For some plugins projects can be combined into a single one for R16, as the resulting plugin remains compatible running in R17-R19.

But for others, each release (R16, R17, R18, R19.) requires its dedicated project.

For R20 all plugins share one R20 project (using the new project tool), for R21 also a separate project for all plugins.

Then duplicate all this for Windows and macOS support.

At best I have at least 6 projects per plugin, at most 12 projects for a single plugin.


As for your last paragraph, I am not even going to consider that for now. Not having a subscription myself I will only be able to handle versions available for perpetual licenses. Besides, one can only handle appropriately when the situation is present. Knowing MAXON's policy they're not going to tell upfront which changes will break plugins.

I know about the MAXON Registered Developer program, as I applied for it the moment it was announced, but have reclined to accept their single-direction NDA policy.

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27 minutes ago, C4DS said:

As far as I am concerned pre-R20 plugins already are separate projects with duplicate effort.


True, I have only recently finished switching all my plugins from R19 to R21 and it was a fair bit of work. In previous release changes, I did not have that kind of issues; most plugins ran from R14 to R19 without major changes (CollieMouse was broken by the new viewport controls), but R21 was a %$§&! (I skipped R20 for the most part.)


I am fairly more worried about future releases though. The changes for R21 were, for a large part, string class and constant naming stuff, and in a few cases new parameters in overloaded classes (mileage may vary with the plugin type). But as far as I can see, the new MAXON style API is altogether different, from the registration down to the base classes. Every time I look at that, I thoroughly despair because I have no idea how to work with that, and the documentation is a featureless mess that right away jumps into cryptic details based on preprocessor chaos.


Fortunately I don't sell my plugins any more, or I would get even more gray hairs than I already have.


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On current harddrive I have R19 and up only, since new PC was build, but on older drive has other versions. R19 I used mainly in time whenn needed some plugins which wasn´t updated/ported to R20 and up...

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