When did you start the process of developing Superior Drummer 3? I think, from my own design point of view, it was roughly three years ago. However, the planning and thinking started much earlier than that.
What was your ultimate goal going in? We wanted to create a complete production environment for percussive sound design. One that would incorporate tools for anything from mixing detailed acoustic drums for any genre to easy-to-use features for elaborate sound design, drum audio to MIDI conversion as well as thorough support for e-drums. All this while also incorporating the songwriting features we already have associated with other products. Still, we wanted the design to be easy and let the user decide at what layer of complexity to work. At the surface, Superior Drummer 3 is designed to be easy to grasp while “under the hood”, it’s really a monster.
Looking back on this pretty long development phase, how much actually changed from when you first started drawing it up to the version you are releasing in now? The nature of software development is trial and error, so both minor and major changes happen on a daily basis. Lots of details, controllers and areas have been redone, changed and rearranged over the development phase, all to as efficiently as possible allow the users to achieve their goals. However, even if details change, the initial goals shouldn’t. We’ve always worked with one mindset: make a product that is extremely deep and complex on the inside but very easy to work with. And last, but not least, make working with Superior Drummer 3 a fun and inspirational experience!
What are some of the biggest challenges when developing software? From a design aspect, finding one solution that fits lots of different users. No one should feel intimidated when opening the program – it should be easy to navigate on the surface. Aside from that, the software has to work on different computers with different hardware, screen sizes, external controllers and so much more. But all this also makes development fun. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be a challenge! 🙂
Like always, software never really gets “finished”. Are there any features you’ll be implementing in the immediate future? Yes. Although there’s a lot of new features in Superior Drummer 3, we still have plenty on the drawing board. Developing a product of this scope is a massive undertaking. The more advanced you make it, the more it allows for new features to add. It’s also a good thing that we have a very active beta testing community that continuously suggest new ideas and suggestions. We always take into account what customers have to say as well, so it will be interesting to hear everyone’s feedback now that it’s available!
Tell us about a regular day at the office for the Toontrack software team! We arrive in the morning, have a coffee (if the machine is in a good mood and works). We have a very open climate regarding new ideas and thoughts about the program, so lots of discussions occur where everyone with an idea can participate. We build and test versions all the time and process feedback from our testers from around the world. An advantage we have is that most of us are musicians and songwriters, so we try to look at every feature from both a practical and musical approach. I think that, in the end, if everyone on the software team likes what we have created, there’s a good chance we have made a very good and useful product!
Finally, now that the product is finally ready for release, how does it feel? Is there any separation anxiety involved? Well, it’s like building a hot rod in a garage. It’s really fun to do it, but the real reward comes when you can start the engine, back it out of there and let other people see and hear the result.