Our core technology (RCSDK) has undergone some changes in its foundations to become fully Unicode-ready during the past week. These changes were planned a long time ago, although it hasn’t been until now that they have become mandatory (due to 3dsMax 2013).
Getting ready for Unicode consists of a mix of changes in the compiler rules combined with a (massive) cascade of changes in the codebase to make sure that every routine where texts or pathnames are involved is aware of the new character set. This has taken (literally) several days of intense work.
The 3dsMax 2013 SDK has turned from ASCII-only to Unicode-only, so to make our MAX LIVE plugin compatible with MAX 2013 we’ve had to carry out all these changes. The plugin itself has required many charset-related changes as well.
For those of you who are not familiar with the term Unicode, it is a solution to support text expressed in non-latin character sets. Traditionally, computers have used the ASCII code to encode text. In ASCII, each character is stored in 1 byte, allowing for 256 different characters only, which is enough for latin-derived languages (particularly English). Unicode is a standard which uses more than 1 byte per character (typically 2 or 4), making it possible to handle text strings expressed in most of the world’s writing systems, including those with hundreds or thousands of characters, such as japanese, chinese, etc…
Wikipedia page about Unicode: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode.