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Creating a plug-in from the Helloworld template

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This tutorial explains how to create a new audio plug-in from the Helloworld template included in the VST 3 SDK.

Part 1: Getting and installing the VST 3 SDK

For downloading the SDK, see the section "How to set up my system for VST 3".

You have the following possibilities to start a new project:

  • You can use the helloworld template included in the VST 3 SDK and duplicate the folder into a new folder. Adapt each file where the comment mentions it.
  • Or, which is easier and recommended, you can use the VST 3 Project Generator application included in the VST 3 SDK. The following steps show how to use it.

Part 2: Using the helloworld template

The SDK provides a HelloWorld example which you can use to create a new VST 3 plug-in:

  • Just copy the folder VST_SDK/my_plugins containing the HelloWorld example into your development folder.

    • For example: copy VST_SDK/my_plugins to D:/Users/Me/Desktop/development/my_plugins
  • Now you have to indicate to cmake to add this new location to the projects. There are 3 possibilities:

    • Search in VST3_SDK/CMakeLists.txt for the comment "# Here you can add your VST 3 plug-ins folder" and specify the path to the folder, for example:
     set(SMTG_MYPLUGINS_SRC_PATH "D:/Users/Me/Desktop/development/my_plugins")
  • Or when using the CMake GUI App, you can specify the new location by using the browser for the variable SMTG_MYPLUGINS_SRC_PATH.

  • Or call cmake with the option

    • -DSMTG_MYPLUGINS_SRC_PATH=D:/Users/Me/Desktop/development/my_plugins
  • You can duplicate the helloworld folder for your plug-in, for example:

    • copy D:/Users/Me/Desktop/development/my_plugins/helloworld to D:/Users/Me/Desktop/development/my_plugins/MyDelayPlugin
  • Adapt the CMakeLists.txt files:

    • Open the plug-in CMakeLists.txt file with a text editor: D:/Users/Me/Desktop/development/my_plugins/MyDelayPlugin/CMakeLists.txt
    • Change the target name:
      • set(target helloworld) => set(target MyDelay)
    • Open the folder CMakeLists.txt file located in my_plugins with a text editor in order to add your plug-in to the project:
      • D:/Users/Me/Desktop/development/my_plugins/CMakeLists.txt
    • Add this entry (your newly created folder):
      • add_subdirectory(MyDelayPlugin)
  • Generate the project by using the command line or the cmake editor (cmake-gui) as described here: How to use cmake for building VST 3 plug-ins. Your new plug-in should appear in the project afterwards.

  • Now you have to adapt some uids and naming to make your plug-in unique (and not a duplicate of helloworld!)

    1. Rename all strings for your plug-in from HelloWorld to MyDelay for example:

      • HelloWorldProcessor::HelloWorldProcessor to MyDelayProcessor::MyDelayProcessor
    2. Open the file MyDelayPlugin/include/plugids.h and create new uids for processor and for controller: you can use GUID creator tools like https://www.guidgenerator.com:

    static const FUID MyProcessorUID (0x2A0CC26C, 0xBF88964C, 0xB0BFFCB0, 0x554AF523);
    static const FUID MyControllerUID (0xB9DBBD64, 0xF7C40A4C, 0x9C8BFB33, 0x8761E244);
    1. Open the file version.h and adapt the strings like this:
    #define stringPluginName "My First Delay"
    #define stringOriginalFilename "MyDelay.vst3"
    1. Adapt my_plugins/MyDelayPlugin/resource/info.plist by renaming:
    <string>helloworld</string> => <string>mydelay<string>
    <string>com.steinberg.vst3.helloworld</string> =><string>com.steinberg.vst3.mydelay</string>
  • Now you can start to code for your effect/instrument (see Generate a new plug-in with Project Generator for a step-by-step explanation)

    1. Add parameters in plugcontroller.cpp
    2. Adapt your process algorithm in plugprocessor.cpp
    3. Add persistence in plugprocessor.cpp
    4. Add UI (check SDK examples using VSTGUI)
  • Happy coding!