HOW? – PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
CHALLENGES AND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
Josh: "We went through countless drafts and revisions so it's hard to pinpoint which areas were the most difficult. But the biggest challenge was to make such a feature-rich instrument simple to use. We always try to squeeze in as many features as possible to cover all use cases, because our customers are usually pretty nerdy people (like us). So we forced ourselves to find a clever way to pack in the detail without it getting in the way of the basic workflow."
Igor: "If you think about it, there are thirty-two samplers/voices active in Polyplex at all times and everything can be changed on the fly without interruption. It was definitely challenging to figure out a system to share eight maps flexibly across thirty-two layers, create kit variations that recall instantly without glitches, and to add eighteen effects on top – without compromising usability."
The initial POLYPLEX prototype based on a MASCHINE style pad interface.
An early sketch for a simplified view that also included a preset system.
An early wireframe of initial layout ideas.
Later versions of the layout introduced the style of Twisted Tools’ S-Layer instrument.
An early GUI test implementing the POLYPLEX feature set.
One of several brainstorm sessions before sample map sharing across all POLYPLEX pads was made possible.
An early GUI sketch of the single Units now available in POLYPLEX.
WHAT? – FAVORITE FEATURE
Josh: "The best feature in Polyplex has to be the randomization, which almost always results in things that sound good. We worked hard to make sure that when you load a kit and hit random, you’ve got a new, unique, and great-sounding kit in seconds.
I also like the User Map functionality, which allows you to add your own samples to the Instrument without saving over the default sample maps. Pretty handy stuff. I think Robert at NI came up with that idea."
"There are also some smaller tricks that go a long way:
- Save loaded effects with a Kit Variation. Although this is deactivated by default, you can activate this if you want to. Open the REAKTOR structure, change the value from 0 to 1 for the constant connected to the 'fx?' input. This makes kit switching smoother, as different effects and settings are recalled with the Kit Variations.
- Double-click a slider to isolate it from all randomization.
- Assign all sound slots to the same MIDI note to make a mega layer of 32 sounds on one pad.
- Copy and paste sounds between Snapshots for increased complexity."
THE FUTURE OF TWISTED TOOLS AND MUSIC SOFTWAREJosh: “People often ask us when we’ll do a Twisted Tools synth, but unless we can come up with something unique that fills a void or solves an existing challenge, you’ll have to wait. We’ve got some ideas, though.
As for the future, I’d like to see Reaktor become a serious, standardized development platform for professional software instrument design. I hope that in some way, we can contribute to making that happen. Reaktor is a fantastic way to visually develop tools – it can make instrument design accessible to people who would otherwise avoid programming.
The other thing I’d like to see is an easy way to visually build, develop, and produce reliable hardware instruments that run Reaktor using 3D printing technologies!”
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