There's been a lot of talk about how most sample developers and library buyers/users are unimaginative, and I tend to agree to a point, since I understand making/using sample libraries of established instruments is what sells. However, if a developer feels adventurous enough, I'd love to see a library that's truly imaginative and exciting. I have a hypothetical library idea, and since I'm no sound programmer, I'll just give the idea away to anyone that wants to give it a shot.
Alternate Reality - A sample library/physical modeling/synthesis hybrid VST instrument that contains purely instruments born of the imagination, or maybe from an alternate reality. Exotic and exiting instruments that sound nothing like anything you've heard, yet sound and perform as if they really exist in reality. You might ask, "Can't you do that with Hartmann Neuron?" or "Isn't that what synthesizers like Absynth does?" Well, yes and no. Synthesizers do have totally imagined sounds, but they way the patches are designed, they always play like synthesizer sounds--not instruments that sound like they could really exist in reality. There aren't really articulations or extensive performance techniques with synth sounds. Although you could rig a bunch of controllers to control various parameters in realtime, synth parameters are quite different from articulations of real instruments, both in control and sound.
Here are a couple of possible imagined instruments:
Alien Black Box - A metallic box made of alien material that can be shapeshifted in realtime. You can squash the box, twist it, pull it, fold it..etc like clay, and it will snap back to its original shape if you let it go. With the other hand, you have a resonator rod that's charged with energy, which you can use to strike the box or rub against it like a bow. Attached to the box is a foot pedal that controls the actual pitch of the instrument, while shapeshifting the box alters its timbre/tone.
Hydro Slap Slab - A long piece of board divided into equal sized rectangle wells, all filled with a liquid substance that could change its vicosity in a fraction of a second--from oily to pure water, thick tar, liquid plastic, mercury..etc. To play the Slap Slab, you use two sticks that have a cup-shaped beater on the end of each stick. The cup-shaped beaters can produce sound by filtering the liquid substance through a chamber, which when pressurized by force will produce sound (simlar to slapping a cupped hand on the surface of water, but much more complicated). The beater's pressure chamber has the ability to repel the liquid substance instantly, so even when the liquid is thick, it will not stick inside the pressure chamber. How thick or how slick the liquid is will change the sound the chambers produce, as does the amount of pressure you use to slap the liquid rectangles. The liquid's viscosity is controlled by a blow controller hooked up to the board--more blowing pressure will make the liquid more fluid, less pressure will make it more dense.
So how would you go about designing these sounds without having them just end up sounding like synth patches? Like I said, I'm no sound programmer, but my educated guess would be to actually build some elements of the sound source out of real material, sample them, then combine the samples with physical modeling and synthesis techniques. For example, to design the Alien Black Box patches, I would guess you'd go and sample an actual metal box being struck and bowed by something. You could rig some type of electronics inside the box, and then charge whatever you're using as the rod with electricity so that the electronics inside the box will react to the rod contacting the box. Then, you could use other types of metal of varying sizes and shapes for different timbres/articulations. After getting the source material, you could then use the data with physical modeling and synthesis. For the Slap Slab, actually sample various liquids being slapped by various sized cups, bowls, tubs..etc with various sized openings, then use organize the source material into various corresponding pitches, timbres..etc for further physical modeling/synthesis.
So, is my idea worth trying, or am I just being an insomniac with a runaway imgination?