About Collectives
Collectives are files that contain all of the necessary resources to use a patcher. These resources can include abstractions, external objects, image files, or audio files. Making a collective allows you to give someone else a project you've created in Max with the confidence it not be missing something it needs in order to work properly. That is, with one caveat: collectives, unlike patcher files, are generally platform-specific, because they contain platform-specific external objects.
When you build a collective from a patcher, Max analyzes patcher to find its dependencies (the resources the patcher needs). You can use the collective editor or write a collective build script to include files in a collective that are not added automatically.
While collectives include the necessary resources to be opened in Max, they still require either Max or Max Runtime to operate. A standalone application is a collective that is combined with a copy of Max Runtime. Standalone applications, which are always platform-specific, can eliminate all external dependencies for others to run your patch.
The process of creating a collective
When you create a collective, you’ll follow three basic steps:
You can open the resulting collective as you would any other Max document by choosing Open... from the File menu or by double-clicking on the collective in the Finder on the Mac or Explorer on Windows.