Developer mode for the Tracker Mini?

Looking at the Tracker Mini form factor, proposals like Conditional steps on Tracker, and also seeing how open source developer communities expand some pieces of musical software and hardware… what would happen if the Tracker Mini would have a Developer Mode? With that ASCII/terminal-like interface and all the capabilities, an expandable Mini could become an object of cult. :dark_sunglasses:

Imagine a convoluted combination of USB connection and keys or whatever… that a regular user would never hit or be aware of, that opens the device, voids the warranty, and lets tech-savvy users add modules, scripts… software expanding the officially supported features. Some kind of userspace.

I have no idea about the technical implications. This wouldn’t be about opensourcing Polyend’s software, which sounds cool but also opens many cans of worms for a platform that wasn’t designed to be open, leave alone the company trying to make a sustainable business out of it. The official software would be there and untouchable. The developer mode would have a big disclaimer saying that if you brick your device it’s only your fault. Given that the firmware is flashed via SD card, I guess there is only so much harm you can cause.

Why not the Tracker and Play? Of course, the more the merrier, but their platforms are consolidated and they seem to be squeezing the hardware as much as they can. The Mini as announced comes with a new hardware platform that is more generous, and I guess the roadmap is more flexible at this point.

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That’s an interesting idea. I personally have immediately two approaches, that i can think of:

  • the obvious one would be to open the firmware, so devs could really get into the meat of things and have a go at either adding new features or optimizing whats already there.
  • the other would be to implement an API or Hooks into the different running parts of the tracker. The obvious ones being the sequencing data and the audio path/data for manipulation.

As you say though, opening the firmware, as cool as it might be, may not be feasible, depending on what Polyend is planning for the future. Maybe you could have some form of vetting program for devs that are interested.

However! Knowing that eventually there is going to be a divergence between the OG and the Mini, maybe opening the firmware for the OG Tracker could become a great testing bed to see if this is actually a worthwile undertaking.

That would leave us with the API/Hooks approach for the Mini. Which would require a lot of work and planning ahead of time, for it to be a useful addition. Time and resources that may just be a bit high for a company the size of Polyend.

For what it’s worth - i love the idea :heart: , but as a dev, looking at it realistically, i have doubts :laughing:


Disclaimer: us devs are always skeptical though :joy: