It’s five years in the making, and easily the most important touch controller app release in a decade. It’s the all-new TouchOSC, and it’s a touch controller that runs basically everywhere.
We’ve been waiting for this one. Hexler really launched the genre of touch apps in 2008, by making the original TouchOSC for iOS (later Android). At the time, Lemur was still a hardware-only solution. TouchOSC was inexpensive, enduring, well-supported, and so for a great many musicians and visual artists became the tool that allowed them to make their own computer rigs more like the LCARS touch system we grew up watching on Star Trek. It was in a very real sense science fiction made part of everyday life.
The basic idea – use new multi-touch capabilities to take control of music and visual software. Use OSC and not just MIDI for high-resolution messages and easier integration with live visuals. And then make whatever layout you need to perform or work with in your favorite software.
That original TouchOSC, now dubbed TouchOSC Mk1, will remain “as long as humanly possible.” That’s because it is essential for older, low-power devices and a lot of existing workflows. So maintenance and fixes are still coming, according to Hexler.
But it’s clearly time for something new. TouchOSC’s interface options seem restrictive in 2021, editing is a bit clunky in light of more dynamic systems, and there’s a new diversity of systems to support.
So, now there’s the next-generation TouchOSC, rewritten with cross-platform GPU support, embedded scripting, more stability, and a new foundation. And wow:
- Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android – iPad Pro, iPhone, Raspberry Pi, Windows Surface whatever you’ve got this runs
- Multiple simultaneous connections
- OSC over UDP and TCP
- Wired, wireless MIDI, and MIDI over USB on iOS and Android
- Multiple instances of TouchOSC with network-synced editing (uh, whoa)
- A new “lightweight and fast scripting engine” for further customization
- Local messages for wiring up controls quickly
- A new editor you can use on all platforms (this alone to me sells it, but hey, all the other great stuff is cool too)
- New shapes – round, triangular, hexagonal (finally, since the company is Hexler, huh?)
- Multi-line text with Unicode support
- Nested containers (finally!)
There’s still a TouchOSC Bridge application, but of course some of the connectivity options here mean you don’t need it. And while you can use TouchOSC with anything, there’s also new TRAKTOR support by Andrew Norris so you can celebrate the release with a new DJ set.
It’s a great chance to see what TouchOSC can do, generally, in this new release:
Check out the new site and full user manual:
It’s still eminently affordable. You can get a buy-once, run-everywhere desktop license for 18EUR including VAT / US$18 international/non-VAT.
And even with all this new stuff, buying a new TouchOSC license from the app stores costs just US$9.99.
(Mobile is separate from desktop because, well, actually that’s kind of why Apple is in court right now…)
Hope to do an in-depth look at this soon. I know I need it for some jobs.