So I started with the UI clean up. I had some ideas and simplifying was the main aim. Slice is a loop tool, sure it does a LOT to the loops but loops are what it uses, so I moved the loop selection to position 1A (top left) of the UI and shuffled everyone to the right. In terms of workflow it felt right. Next was those “in slice” buttons, there are 5 displayed under each slice pad at any time. I managed to get the buttons integrated into the pads themselvesso they didn’t look like they were floating about in space waiting for a bus…, this had the added advantage of the pads being bigger – sure you couldn’t press the pad that was “under” the 5 buttons but it looked nicer.
Then of course it was a simple realisation(and letting go of it) that allowed me to change the rule for displaying these 5 buttons. In Version 4 of Slice you EITHER had the Voice buttons on display OR the Sound buttons. I changed that rule to: EITHER the Voice buttons OR the Sound buttons OR NEITHER. So if you are not working with Sound or Voice than they are hidden and the UI looks a lot simpler, AND there’s more pad space to press…
Finally whilst doing all this I managed to work out a kind-of design pattern for the UI. This is a simple set of rules for background section definitions, and ALL buttons are dark when off and light when on etc. Skinman design attached.



OK, so first to be brutally honest about the reality facing me on day 1 of development. As some of you may know I have a product(currently) called Slice. It’s been called “Grid Machine – Slice” and “GM-Slice” in the past, but the last version I released (in the second half of this year) was essentially version 4 of Slice. So I’ve been working on a loop/slicing tool called “Slice” for over 8 years now.
Frankly sales of this version have been terrible. This was the first time I’d not used one of the distributors to sell a product, but I had a pretty good email list so I thought it might be good to give it a home-site approach. Silly me. A handful of sales only, and I mean a handful – not even double digits.
Those 8+ years of effort have meant that the product has a LOT of functionality, and every beta tester and every demo producer who has worked with the product has been really really nice about how good it is. So some logical part of my brain should have said “well its just a distribution issue” and caved-in and gone with Kontakt Hub or similar. Of course I’m a developer so some other part of my brain rejected that idea in favour of “well its just not got the right/enough functionality or the right UI, I can fix that myself!”
Yeah, delusional, so possibly silly me, we have yet to see. I may eventually go with one or more of the distributors, but as I haven’t reached the “Great! functionally done!” in the developer part of my brain then it’s not released and we don’t know.
You know what? This feels weird, I feel like this is the marketing personality writing this, and the developer personality who doing the work – split personalities already…and they are not listening to each other!…..grief.
So the developer in me wants to tweak a couple of things at least. One is the UI – Slice has had progressively improving UI’s but even the latest looked busy – It’d be nice to clean that up even further. There should be an image attached of the design layout of the existing UI so you can see where I started. Also there’s a long-standing issue when you slice loops. Slice is mainly used for drum loops, and if the loop isn’t precisely played/recorded in time then some slices have issues. For example if the beat is played early then Slice will “miss” some part of the start of the beat, and worse include the start of the next beat at the end of the slice, giving either little clicks and bumps when playing slices out of order. Now these are infrequent and can be good, but it’d be nice to work out how to optionally remove them…. so off we go.



Kontakt Developer Diary

So I’ve been doing a bit of a strange thing lately… I’ve been observing myself, well more specifically watching myself build iterations of Kontakt instruments. Building instruments is (for me at least) a long series of small incremental steps, some work out and get to stay in the end product some don’t. But I started to try and define a set of guidelines for myself about when(and if) to work on a feature I think up. Should I add things in straight away? Wait a bit until I have a clean(er) plate, and I’ve done more thinking? When? As part of this process I realised that (for me at least) it might be useful to document the build out process for one or more instruments, so I can see whats working and what might not be.
I don’t have an all new product to use right now as my guinea pig, but I do have the next version of an existing product(Slice), so I decided to use that. Now like many things (and here already is an admission) I got the idea for doing this after I’d started building the next version of Slice, sigh. So yes it may have been better to start day 1 with this (huh) “diary”, but I didn’t have the idea at the ideal time so I’ll do a few weeks of backtracking here, and try to be as honest as possible about what went on. Look for “Part 1 – REALITY” where I look at the situation I was/am faced the next week.