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PlanMixPlay release early 2016
Monday September 7, 2015

PlanMixPlay is undoubtedly the biggest undertaking I've ever undertaken. This is both a positive and a negative in a number of ways. Things of such big scope are hard to complete all alone, because there's no group mentality to keep you working, only the gratification of accomplishing something. The feeling of accomplishment seems quite distant however, when you're at the starting line looking at what seems to be a horizon stretching for eternity. It isn't eternity really. In fact, it's pretty close - but because it is beyond what you can see, it might as well be eternity.

Despite this daunting outlook, these things keep me motivated:

  • If I don't do this, nobody else will. Don't get me wrong - there are lots of people who can do this, and if I don't do it - it will eventually be done I figure. But probably not the way I want it to, and probably not as fast as I want it either. I'd argue that there's a reason 'art' and 'technology' are often separated, and I'd say it's because people often lean into either. It's rare to find someone into both these things beyond a certain degree, than just one. If this is true, it means there are fewer people around who would have the motivation to do this.
  • It's something I'd like to use myself. I know I cannot possibly compete with commercially available performance software. They're building on a legacy of decades with a sizable team, as well as funding to boot. But if I can cook up something that has enough unique appeal to be worthwhile without all the bells and whistles. Well then my friend. We may just have something.

I've decided to post this in order to try and layout some sort of road map for the future. By writing what I intend to build, I'll hopefully get better at sticking to it. So without further ado, let's look at the features I expect to be able to manage before the first official release of PlanMixPlay.

  • Media Engine Re-Write. PlanMixPlay relies heavily on BASS internal timing currently. This is simple and works well, but also means that portions of audio code permeate the video engine code. This is bad, and counter intuitive. A custom built internal timing system is needed.
  • Audience feedback re-integration. This feature needs to be re-introduced in a stable and more workable manner. All the code is basically there, but it needs refactoring to its proper working condition.
  • Audio/Video Handling. Audio should be manipulatable, similar to vinyl. Video should be streamable and not entirely contained in memory.

That's as much as I dare to promise for now. The devil is in the details of creating these features. They're not particularly tricky on their own (apart from audio time stretching), but to integrate them well and without crashing... That's the challenge.

I hope you'll stick around to see me make good on these goals.


PlanMixPlay.com Pre-Release
Sunday August 9, 2015

Hey there,

You are among the very few - and I do mean very - who will cast their eyes upon the pre-release of PlanMixPlay.com. Let me just namedrop that domain one more time so it sticks:

www.PlanMixPlay.com

Now that you're here, grab a glass of complementary imaginary champagne, and let me tell you a little bit about my vision. It is at this point that you're free to pretend that you've suddenly spotted someone you know in the party crowd and quickly excuse yourself. You, you... you meanie! OR - you could do the honorable and respectable thing, which is to take a small sip of air and put on your best 'I'm super interested look'. You chose wisely.

Now where was I? Oh yes... The vision. No wait - let's call it an idea. `Vision' sounds too gauche.

A few years ago, I noticed touch surfaces were growing in size, and thought 'Hey - why don't we make a cool DJ interface on that?'. The end.

 

Well - I did think a few more thought's but that's basically the original motivation for PlanMixPlay. But the whole goal, you could say, is to try and push nightclubs and social gatherings forward. Nightclubs are such an interesting social concept. There are a lot of things that seem weird to me about them. For example, we go there with people we already know, talk to people we've met before, and socialize with as few new people as possible. Depite the fact that nightclubs seems like the ideal place to meet new people. It's rarely the case anymore I feel. Perhaps because clubs used to be run by eccentric party people who did it for the sake of the party, and these days clubs are mostly run by people who do it for the sake of money. I'm not here to dump all over clubowners though. I don't envy anyone running a struggling club as I'm sure it's a seemingly endless battle to stay relevant and popular. To the best of my knowledge, most places (around 90% or more) tend to last for a few years and then are mandatorily shut down, re-tooled and re-opened six months later. All for the sake of `newness' in an ever desparate chase for the ever elusive customer crowd.

Nightlife has become standardized. DJs, bars, dance floors, VIP sections, bouncers, you name it. There's a blueprint for what makes a club and another blueprint for what makes an event.

So why don't we see any new cool stuff in nightclubs? Interaction, live voting, networked socialization, casual gaming. Well. I'd argue there are two reasons for this:

  • There's not enough drive. As a species, we've solved the mystery of how to run a succesful nightclub, and none of it involves anything beyond promotion, events, go-go-dancers, DJs and booze.
  • The average party person is satisfied. Could they be more satisfied? Sure. But why bother if what's on the table is enough?

I bother. That's why. Imagine if we could dissolved the barrier between the performer and the audience a bit. Not remove it completely, but make it permeable. Make it so that you could reach through and they could reach back?

We live in a time where the vast majority has been well catered to for the past decade. Business' like Amazon.com have realized that it's well worth going after the long tail. The endless line of niches that follow their top sellers. There's no reason we can't apply the same mentality to live performances. A portion of your audience wants to interact with you.

Encourage that.