Simple tracker/music software recommendations

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by Mark Sheeky, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. Mark Sheeky

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Has anyone got any recommendations for easy to use tracker-type music software? When I started with music I used Protracker on the Amiga which was great. Now a friend would like to note down musical ideas so I'd like to suggest something simple on PC.

    Mark
     
  2. joe

    joe
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    For someone who has no experience with musical software I think a linear sequencer would be easier to use at the beginning like Cubase or Logic.

    But if he has experience using Protracker or any other tracker he should give Renoise or Madtracker a try. They are very similar to Protracker or Fasttracker but with many more features.
     
  3. Christian

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    0
    Try modplug, its very simple and powerfull.
     
  4. Barlok

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, ModPlug - really cool product :) But, i think, little unstable ( MIDI bad worked ).
     
  5. NO9

    NO9
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2004
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    20
  6. PoV

    PoV
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, what the heck is with that Milky Tracker? If I've read correctly, it's basicly a modern FastTracker clone. So is Skale, but at least it does VST's.

    Renoise all the way ;). Compared to FastTracker decendants, I think the interface much better layed out. MadTracker is an alternative, which has a freaking built in IRC client. Crazy. It at least writes XM's, unlike Renoise, so it's on my list if I ever need that.
     
  7. mahlzeit

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2004
    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    0
  8. jetro

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Fans of the classic Scream Tracker or Impulse Tracker will love Schism Tracker.
     
  9. Artinum

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good grief! When I first found this thread I thought I was the friend Mark referred to. Then I noticed it dates back to 2006!

    I've been using MadTracker for a little while, and while I find it perfectly competent at creating songs (and able to export them as ogg files, which is useful, though it tends to cut off the end) I am coming to the conclusion that I don't actually like it. I'm finding it somewhat unfriendly.

    • I struggled to actually make any music at first, because instructions on the basics were minimal. Thank heavens for the internet!
    • I keep trying to use Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V to copy/paste. These do not work as I expect...
    • ...I also keep modifying or pasting sections in the wrong place because the selection method is counter-intuitive. This wouldn't be so bad except...
    • ...THERE IS NO UNDO OPTION. If I screw up with one of the above, I'm forced to restart/restore.
    • There are numerous effects (like a erverb to soften those hard notes) that I cannot fathom out. Again, no proper documentation.

    So I'm curious. What else is out there for me to experiment with? I'll take a look at ModPlug but I'm slightly concerned by the mention of stability issues.
     
  10. Artinum

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have now sampled (ho ho!) ModPlug. It's as if they predicted my earlier list and provided all of it - user friendly interface, save as MP3, cut/copy/paste, undo feature... marvellous! And it comes with a sample library - not exactly superb quality, but fine for my current needs.

    I'll have to see what I can do with this one. So far, I'm impressed!
     
  11. Olofson

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    What's wrong with C/C++/<your favorite here> and a good code editor...? ;)

    (Yeah, I know; I'm seriously brain damaged from having coded weird stuff for 25+ years. :D)
     
  12. Bad Sector

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes Received:
    3
    Unless you plan to convert the files in MP3 and never use them from any other editor, stay away from ModPlug Tracker. It has mutilated the formats badly and many players cannot play the files properly. Especially with MOD files the tracker is a disaster.

    I recommend MilkyTracker. Beyond being simple to use it also contains a bunch of interesting generators for waveforms. Also it is very accurate with the the formats it supports (especially XM). Personally when i wrote my Flash MOD Player i used MilkyTracker as a "test" for the MOD playback and so far i had only badly formatted MODs not playing (like most of the MODs produced with ModPlug because it uses linear frequencies for the notes :p).

    Lately i'm looking into writing a "music programming language" which is basically a mix of customized MML (for the note notation) and my LIL scripting language (for the score layout). It basically looks somewhat like this (i wrote this before i did much of the implementation so there are some differences).

    This has some advantages. The obvious one is that it is more programmer friendly :p. Others are that since LIL is a complete programming language, i can write functions which process and/or generate notes. An example would be a series of repeated notes which are generated using a single note as a base and using it as a "pivot" for a background pattern. And since LIL is also a dynamic language, pmusic (the current implementation of the above) provides a command-line shell where these definitions can be changed interactively either by issuing direct commands or sourcing external files. And of course functions (and patterns) can be shared between different music scripts.

    Of course at this point this is more of an experiment than anything else :p
     
  13. jetro

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it's enough if one just verifies that the tunes play correctly with the library one is going to use.


    Coincidentally, some are still using module music in games, even big names. For example, PopCap's latest, Bejeweled 3, ships with over a hour of unique music or so, but all of that is still packed in one .mo3 which takes less than a megabyte. .mo3 is the optimized module format of BASS audio lib, which plays stuff quite correctly.

    The Bejeweled 3 tune is an impulse tracker .it module originally, and uses even some more advanced features like instrument filters. There's a good chance they used ModPlug tracker to make the tune, since I remember Skaven (one of the tune authors) mentioning a long time ago that he uses ModPlug to make music. :) Personally I like Schism Tracker more though.


    I challenge anyone to come up with "better" way to ship a hour of music in a game in less than 1 MB. :)

    "Better" meaning that the subjective sound quality must be at least as good as in the above mentioned example, and there still must be chance to use basically any kind of instrument.

    A big win would be something which would still integrate better with the modern workflows of audio/music artists. That is, something which maybe allows them to use their favorite tool to compose, perhaps even some .vst instruments they like, etc., while still crunching the end result to a small file with almost as good sounding result than the original. (I know, this is a lot to ask, there must be compromises at least somewhere...)
     
  14. Bad Sector

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well first you have to find someone who is as good as Skaven. Skaven is one of the best module musicians :p. And i see that another artist is Alexander Brandon who also is a top modmaker :p.
     
  15. Mark Sheeky

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow I posted this in Aug 2004! Since then I've written my own tracker which began a bit like that cool LIL one but ended up more like protools.

    Nice resurrection Andrew. Some good ideas here.

    Mark
     
  16. speeder

    speeder New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0
    Most of the tunes on my game are made with Milkytracker.

    The exception are those coming from Xaimus and Siren (Alexander Brandon), since they use ModPlug.
     
  17. Olofson

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey! MML... *remembers MSX on the SVI-728, and GW-BASIC on 4.77 MHz PCs* :)

    There's an idea for my ChipSound experiment...! Although it's quite possible to code everything in the sound definition language, I was planning on using MIDI files or something for the actual music. But, some sort of MML would fit nicely in the source files, along with the instrument definitions. It would also compile into the same sort of VM code that runs the voices, making it integrate seamlessly. Just a parser hack providing an alternative syntax.

    Interesting thread, this! :D

    *runs off to hack*
     
  18. Artinum

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    So far I can choose between an unfriendly tracker that works well or an easy to use tracker that doesn't. Given my current level of expertise I'm going to stick with ModPlug until I find something that combines utility and user friendliness - if it exists!

    At the moment one tracker and the option to mpeg the results is abso-diddly-lutely fine. When I get to writing more impressive tunes, I'll worry about compatibility!

    I'm curious. Does it have an undo option and cut/copy/paste? Can I use sensible menus and tweak the options to make it work my way? Does it have a manual?

    What do you mean by linear frequencies? I'm still quite the novice here.
     
  19. Olofson

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    This usually means something like "analog" MIDI note numbers, or 1.0/octave, as is commonly used in modular synths and the like. (I use it too; 1.0/semitone in Audiality and the more generic 1.0/octave in all newer code.) The idea probably originates from analog synths before the days of MIDI, where many used 1 volt/octave control signals.

    It's quite practical, as you can just add/subtract a fixed value to change the pitch up or down in terms of octaves, semitones or other (logarithmically) fixed intervals. Makes arpeggios, slides and all that trivial and independent of actual pitch!

    The "period" values used in many module formats originate from the Amiga hardware. It was probably a good idea at the time, as the calculations involved were trivial - but the side effect is that slides change rate over time unless continuously recalculated, arpeggios need table look-ups, and various drawbacks like that. And of course, the period values themselves make no sense at all when playing on a software sampleplayer resampling to some arbitrary output sample rate. Thus, many modern trackers have switched to various linear frequency formats.
     
  20. Bad Sector

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yeah, what Olofson said. Note that this affects only the MOD and S3M formats, not XM and IT which were designed with linear frequencies from the beginning. Still when i asked around for MOD artists for a game i was making (which used my Flash MOD Player), a few gave me MOD files which were obviously made with ModPlug and were unusable.

    This is an interesting quote because FastTracker 2, from which MilkyTracker copied the UI, was (and still is) considered one of the most friendly trackers and many modern trackers are modelled after it even if they go beyond that (like renoise).

    Dunno. I have only tested MilkyTracker and a few others but i don't think you'll find something better. Trackers aren't made as they used to.

    Yes, it has cut, copy, paste, undo, redo, etc, it is configurable (although i was always ok with the default config so i'm not sure to what extent) and while it doesn't have a detail 200page user doc and it won't teach you music, there is a manual which lists all the shortcuts, options, etc. Also there are many tutorials and related docs and the FT2 manual is good too since the effects and format are the same. All of them can be found in the documentation section of MilkyTracker's site.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer