Renegade Soundplay has booted the classic computer and video game sounds of High Score onto Kickstarter in the hope that nostalgia and a love of chiptune will bring their project to life.
Update: Kickstarter was successful, they raised over twice the goal and it’s now available for general sale.
This is the first product from David Harris Molnar, founder of Renegade Soundplay, and designer of products for Line 6 and Moog Music. His love of 1980s video games inspired him to create High Score a lo-fi chiptune virtual instrument and library for Native Instruments Kontakt Player. It certainly looks the part!
High Score has 3 wave generators which you can use in unison, detuned or set to intervals for instant chords. Along with the raw waveforms there’s a bank of retro computer speech sounds. They are all modulated by envelopes and LFOs before routing through the filter section. A step-arpeggiator throws in some patterns and movement with 2 channels of 16 steps which are also chainable to 32 steps. At the end there are some effects with Note Delay and some era-appropriate TV and handheld speaker emulations. If you run out of ideas the randomiser options with generate new ones for you.
In the video the sound is spot on and it comes packed with all the most familiar presets for instant video game satisfaction. High Score totally nails the vibe and feel of those classic game consoles.
Update: High Score raised £8,011 on Kickstarter and so that goes to show what I know about anything. You can get buy it now on their website for £39.95.
Here’s what I wrote back at the start of the campaign:
High Score looks brilliant and could be a really useful chiptune sound source. The goal is £3,900 which is relatively modest but with a pledge price of £29 you’re going to have to sell 134 copies to reach it which for something this niché could be a struggle. David says the reason for the fundraising is to cover the cost of making High Score and then the licensing and encoding for Kontakt Player 6. Arguably the only real cost in creating software is your time because it’s not like hardware where you’ve built a prototype and now need money upfront to start production. The cost of embedding an instrument into Kontakt is $1,000 according to Native Instruments which feels like the sort of money you could invest in yourself if you have a product you believe in. Preorders are always useful though and for a £250 pledge you can get your voice immortalised into the speech bank.
I’ve no idea how big the chiptune market it for these sorts of sounds and David seems very confident with stretch goals at £15,000 and £25,000 which is a shed load of backers! I hope he makes it because it’s a decent looking instrument and I’ll be watching with interest.
(originally published 9th September 2020)