where do you take a product like this?
Pretty sure the no.1 priority right now is getting up to date with compatibility and stability. They aren’t messing around with win32 or even Windows 7 any more, so that narrows it down. Then again it depends because I’m not sure how many of the original code programmers are still working on the project. There may be one or two or none at all. I haven’t looked. It’s quite an important point.
Maintaining old code from someone else isn’t something any super-hot programmer likes to do, unless he/she is being paid enough. And this will need one or two super-hot programmers to bring it up to speed. All IMHO, of course. That is just for maintenance. It depends how well the old code base was commented, and/or if they can still communicate with the original developers should any bottle necks occur. Hopefully there is at least one of the old team on the new team. I really don’t know.
Super-hot programmers prefer to work on their own projects, and you really have to tempt them to take on the drudgery that is maintaining someone else’s code. I may be wrong. Maybe a super-hot programmer isn’t needed, but a merely competent one. It depends on what methodologies were used and how much focus was put in to maintainability. I’m sure it was well written enough that any decent programmer can keep it up to date, but like I said, it might need someone super-hot if communications have been cut, if it was poorly commented and if there is just one person who is trying to sort out the whole ‘mess’. All this is speculation on my part, so don’t give it too much credence.
We’ll find out soon enough when these teething problems are fixed; and to be fair, things have probably gone better than a lot of people could have expected with the transfer. At least there are people at the helm who want this to work, and want it to work with a passion. That counts for a lot. So I think people should be a little forgiving still for a little while yet.
After that, who knows. I don’t think it would take that much effort or cost to bring things up to speed. But it would still be a massive amount of effort and cost, if that makes sense. I mean it’s doable in a given time frame given adequate resources and application. I don’t have any insider information and I’m not a software engineer, so again, all this is just conjecture, and just for fun!
But I’m also sure the team, should they meat this goal within a reasonable time frame, say, the next year or two, then they would be sufficiently ahead and on top of things to really go that bit further. That would take looking at where the competition is, where they are heading, making sure they are not left behind, still playing catch up really. And then from there it would be offering new functions, better graphics in a UX (user experience) sense, and maybe in a GUI (graphical user interface) sense. Or probably just refining what they already have, because it’s already pretty good. Once they get it stable and working well, do they really want to mess too much with how things work, to just have to start over again?
Most people don’t mind a few extra steps or bits of klunkiness in the user experience. And most people can live without flashy graphics as well. You have to remember that this type of software is on the very cutting and bleeding edge of technology with regards to all of this. A massive amount of work will have already been done, and it’s probably not so easy to undo it and reinvent the wheel without seriously prohibitive costs. Back to those super-hot programmers again…
It’s fun to speculate and to muse on the subject, but reality comes back in to the picture soon enough. It will take some serious work to get all this working flawlessly again, perhaps even working better than it did before. I’m sure the BFD team would like that better than anyone. That is the first hurdle and milestone to achieve. And from there, like I said before, they are sitting on that massive pile of IP (intellectual property) that must have already had a very serious investment in it, in both form of time and manpower and money spent to make that come about.
If they can achieve that hurdle then things will get easier from there for them, I think. Those expansions will start flying out the doors a whole lot faster as people come to know this is software that ‘just works’ and can be trusted to work for some time yet. They can recoup a lot of those costs that have already been outlaid and make even more of a profit, which is the idea when you run a going concern and company like this. I really don’t know. Just mindless speculation on my part.
I think that a product like BFD could benefit from a bit of diversification and maybe even try to cover new ground. There’s a few more expansions I need to get to see how it all works, and to be honest I’m not massively familiar with the program anyway. I think I’ll probably get the 8-Bit Kit: Junk Percussion Sounds - 8 Bit Kit Expansion Pack for BFD3| BFD
That has some drum machines and beatboxes included from what I can tell. I think that might be a very interesting avenue to pursue and I might even have a go at making up my own kits for it (BFD). But I can’t compare with world class studios, world class drummers, world class recording engineers. As always this would be a labor of love for my own use, and I’d probably give it away for free if the concept worked.
I realise that BFD is a program people turn to when they want real drums. And I’ll let the experts handle that. But there are so many unexplored avenues and concepts within the BFD paradigm that I’m sure it could be a very interesting left turn or alternative to the more standard fare it provides. There are so many subtle nuances and articulations that this program allows for, it seems a bit of a shame to at least not try to apply that to drum samples. Drums are drums at the end of the day.
The LinnDrum is considered a beat box by most measures these days. But back in the day, it was seen as a Drum Computer, one that could real drummers out of work. And it did! Listen to Lindsey Buckingham’s programming on it - Tango in the Night - plus Tusk. It’s basic stuff, but it was ‘good enough’ to put Mick Fleetwood out of a job, though I’m sure he played a lot on top. I don’t know.
Fast forward to today and we are orders of magnitude ahead with real Drum Computers, running software like BFD. Imagine what Lindsey could have done with one of them! Lindsey used the Fairlight CMI as well to program his drums. 8 Bits! And it was good enough! Most people couldn’t tell the difference. The sounds, the articulations, even back then, were ‘good enough’.
We had the main man from Fairlight bring in one of his machines to Matrix in London back in the day and he programmed drums for us on ‘Page R’. He’d also worked with Prince. It was a mystery to us. He also brought in his brand new Roland D-50, and I can tell you that Fairlight got sent to the back of the room for everything but drums!
But Prince took the LinnDrum as well and made it funky. And he didn’t do it by pretending to be a real drummer. Those were very obviously samples in the way they were conveyed and processed.
Drums are drums at the end of the day.
And I don’t know how anyone else works, but I always layer my drums. I’ll mix in beatboxes with real programs like BFD. Or I’ll use samples and breakbeats. Filtered and EQ’d the hell out of to sit in a mix. The beat is the beat, and sometimes even when it’s straight, it’s funky. Prince knew that. Cameo knew that. Pretty Girls. And sometimes it’s just that millisecond delay to the snare that gives it that funk. Producers wasted thousands of dollars of studio time for days on end trying to get the perfect millisecond delay to their ‘real’ drum sample. While everyone else looked on in horror, because, yeah, it’s kinda important, but it’s not that important.
Anyway, if you are still looking for standout expansions, have a look at the 8-Bit Kit I linked to above. I’ve listened to the demos a fair bit and it definitely stands out as not yet another drum pack. Which may or may not be your thing of course. Personally I’d love to see more of this type of stuff.
There really are a lot of places this software could still go.