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Encyclopedia > Fast Tracker
Fasttracker 2

Fast Tracker, specifically Fast Tracker 2 (FT2), is a program that was one of the most widely used trackers in the world. It was created by Fredrik "Mr. H" Huss and Magnus "Vogue" Högdahl, two members of a PC demo group called Triton (now commonly known as Starbreeze Studios) which set about releasing their own tracker after breaking into the scene in 1992 and winning several demo competitions. Fasttracker 2 screenshot This is a screenshot of a copyrighted website, video game graphic, computer program graphic, television broadcast, or film. ... Fasttracker 2 screenshot This is a screenshot of a copyrighted website, video game graphic, computer program graphic, television broadcast, or film. ... ModPlug Tracker in Fast Tracker 2 colors mode Tracker is the generic term for a class of software music sequencers which, in their purest form, allow the user to arrange sound samples stepwise on a timeline across several monophonic channels. ... The demoscene is a computer art subculture that specializes itself on producing demos, non-interactive audio-visual presentations, which are run real-time on a computer. ... Triton (TRN) was a demo group active in the PC demoscene from 1992 to about 1996. ... Starbreeze Studios is a computer game development studio in Uppsala, Sweden. ... The demoscene is a computer art subculture that specializes itself on producing demos, non-interactive audio-visual presentations, which are run real-time on a computer. ...

Contents

History

In 1993, Triton released Fast Tracker (generally referred to now as "FT1"). This tracker was able to load and save standard four channel MOD files, as well as extended MOD files with six or eight channels (identical to standard MOD files, aside from the extra channel data and ID markers "6CHN" or "8CHN"). It was only compatible with Creative Labs' SoundBlaster series of sound cards, which were most popular on the PC at that time. The whole editor was a single 43 KiB DOS executable. Year 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses, see Mod. ... Creative Technology Ltd. ... The Sound Blaster family of sound cards was for many years the de facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible system platform, before audio has been commoditized. ... A sound card is a computer expansion card that can input and output sound under control of computer programs. ... According to the International Electrotechnical Commission a kibibyte (a contraction of kilo binary byte) is a unit of information or computer storage. ... The DOS executable format is the executable file format used for . ...


Through 1994, the musicians in Triton released some songs in a new multichannel "XM" format, accompanied by a pre-release, standalone player. In November 1994, Fast Tracker 2 was released to the public, with support for the Gravis Ultrasound soundcard. Year 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar). ... The GF1 chip Gravis Ultrasound or GUS is a sound card for the IBM PC compatible system platform, made by Canadian-based Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd. ...


FT2's biggest "rivals" in the scene were Scream Tracker, and in later years, Impulse Tracker. ("FT2 vs IT" is a common and still ongoing debate among musicians, usually involving IT users complaining about FT2's mouse interface while FT2 users commending the very same, and pointing out that every mouse feature has a keyboard shortcut as well.) Scream Tracker 3. ... Impulse Tracker 2. ...


Fast Tracker 2 was discontinued after the release of version 2.08 in August 1997, though a beta version of 2.09 was leaked to the public in 1999. On May 23, 1999, Starbreeze productions announced on their website that "FT2 has been put on hold indefinitely. [...] If this was an ideal world, where there was infinite time and no need to make a living, there would definitely be a multiplatform Fasttracker3. Unfortunately this world is nothing like that," signed by Vogue. [1] Year 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1999 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 143rd day of the year (144th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1999 Gregorian calendar). ...


Today, many contemporary trackers, such as Milky Tracker, ModPlug Tracker, Skale Tracker, Renoise, and MadTracker 2 are heavily influenced by FT2. Modplug Tracker ModPlug Tracker is a tracker for Windows developed by Olivier Lapicque. ... Skale Tracker is a tracker software created and coded by baktery with graphics-support from Awesome. ... Renoise is a contemporary software package based upon the heritage and development of tracker software. ... Madtracker screenshot MadTracker is a tracker software for Microsoft Windows. ...


Architecture and features

The FT2 interface is largely inspired by the looks of Amiga's Protracker. The screen consists of a pattern editor in the lower half, while the upper half features an instrument selector on the right, and the general module settings and some oscilloscopes. The pattern editor can be changed to sample and instrument editors screens. The program also features a little Nibbles clone. The original Amiga 1000 (1985) with various peripherals The Amiga is a family of personal computers originally developed by Amiga Corporation. ... MOD is a computer file format used to represent music, and was the first module file format. ... Screenshot of a multiplayer game in Nibbles Nibbles is a simple video game, and is likely the reason that the very similar video game Snake is a popular game on todays mobile phones. ...


Patterns

Patterns are essentially sheets of music where the musician is able to compose the actual musical score. A pattern consists of several rows (64 by default) and is divided to columns ("tracks"). Each row can have one note in every track. A note can look like the following:

 C#4 02 20 R11 

This means the note is a C#-note on the chromatic scale, played at the 4th octave (according to the scientific pitch notation), with instrument number 2. The next column is the volume setting on a 0x00-0x40 hexadecimal scale, and the last column enables a variety of effects to be applied to the sound (in this case, retriggering). The chromatic scale is a scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone or half step apart. ... This article or section may be confusing for some readers, and should be edited to be clearer or more simplified. ...


A song consists of a collection of different patterns which can be played in a user-defined order to create the final song structure.


Samples

Samples are generic raw sound data to be played back at various frequencies, much the way normal musical samplers do. Samples can have a loop start and end point which enable the sound to repeat endlessly, either repeated continuously or in a way which is called "ping-pong loop" in FT2, and essentially means the sample played back and forth as soon as the replay gets "stuck" in the loop. (This is also called a "bidirectional loop".) The musicians are able to either record samples or load existing ones, manipulate them by cutting and/or pasting parts, or just drawing them by hand. There's also a feature to crossfade the sample with itself, thus allowing the loop points to be seamless. An AKAI MPC2000 sampler Playing a Yamaha SU10 Sampler A sampler is an electronic music instrument closely related to a synthesizer. ... In audio engineering, a fade is a gradual increase or decrease in the volume of a source, such as when a song is gradually reduced to silence at its end (fade-out), or gradually increases from silence at the beginning (fade-in). ...


Instruments

Instruments are essentially arrays of samples with additional convenience features. A musician can assign different samples to different pitches of the sound, thus eliminating the possibility of a sample sounding bad if played too high or too low. Instruments support various loopable envelopes to be set on either the sound volume or the stereo panning, as well as built-in vibrato. It is also possible to set the generic settings of the instrument here: finetuning, default volume, default panning and relative starting note to C-4. Vibrato is a musical effect where the pitch or frequency of a note or sound is quickly and repeatedly raised and lowered over a small distance for the duration of that note or sound. ...


Effects

Effects Column
0xx Arppegio
1xx Portamento up
2xx Portamento down
3xx Portamento to note
4xx Vibrato
5xx Tone portamento + Volumeslide
6xx Vibrato + Volumeslide
7xx Tremolo
8xx Set panning position
9xx Sample offset
Ax0 Volumeslide up
A0x Volumeslide down
Bxx Jump songposition
Cxx Set volume
Dxx Pattern break
E1x Fine portamento up
E2x Fine portamento down
E3x Set glissando control
E4x Set vibrato control
E5x Set fine-tune
E6x Pattern loop
E7x Set tremolo control
E9x Retrig note
EAx Fine volumeslide up
EBx Fine volume slide down
ECx Note cut
EDx Note delay
EEx Pattern delay
Fxx Set speed / tempo
Gxx Set global volume
Hxx Global volume slide
Kxx Key off
Lxx Set envelope position
Pxx Panning slide
Rxx Multi retrig
Txx Tremor
X1x Extra fine portamento up
X2x Extra fine portamento down


Volume Column
+x Volumeslide up
-x Volumeslide down
Ux Fine volumeslide up
Dx Fine volumeslide down
Sx Set vibrato speed
Vx Vibrato
Px Set panning position
Lx Panning slide left
Rx Panning slide right
Mx Tone portamento


Files

Fasttracker 2 supports a variety of file formats, though often only two were used by musicians: XM (Extended Module) and XI (Extended Instrument). XM was and still is one of the most popular module formats nowadays, because of its compact and well compressible file structure. XM, standing for extended module, is an audio file type introduced by Tritons Fast Tracker 2. ...


Compatibility

FT2 ran with a custom made DOS 32bit-extender and it supports Gravis Ultrasound as well as Sound Blaster, Covox and the simple PC speaker. This rendered the software rather flaky to use nowadays, as the recent Windows versions generally do not allow DOS applications to access hardware directly, let alone the fact that most of those compatible cards are built for ISA slots, which are absent from recent motherboards. Due to this, hardcore musicians who still want to use FT2 often build "oldskool" PCs with the optimal (and nowadays rather cheap) hardware for the tracker, just to be able to track with it again. The GF1 chip Gravis Ultrasound or GUS is a sound card for the IBM PC compatible system platform, made by Canadian-based Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd. ... The Sound Blaster family of sound cards was for many years the de facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible system platform, before PC audio became commoditized, and backward-compatibility became less of a feature. ... The Covox Speech Thing (also known as Covox plug) was a piece of computer periphery used to output digital sound. ... Microsoft Windows is the name of several families of proprietary software operating systems by Microsoft. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


An alternative way of getting FT2 to run is by using DOSBox — this, however, as accurate as is, has speed and latency problems, and one needs quite a muscular PC to be able to use it as comfortably as on a native environment. The release of DOSBox 0.7 in March 2007 substantially improved speed/performance problems. Other methods of usage include GUSEMU or VDMSound. DOSBox is an emulator which creates a DOS-like environment intended for running MS-DOS-based PC computer games which may not run properly on newer PCs. ...


Clones

The success of FT2 has driven many people to attempt to duplicate the software to other mainstream platforms, when the original version became tedious to utilize. Although there were numerous variations of the software concept on a multitude of platforms, many in the tracker world are still waiting for the "perfect FT2 clone".


Freeware clones

  • Perhaps the first try for an FT2 compatible tracker for Windows was ModPlug Tracker, a tool which was compatible with many other DOS trackers at the time as well. Its native GDI user interface, however, alienated many musicians who were used to a custom GUI. Modplug is currently opensource. [2]
  • In 2000, a year after Fasttracker 2 was put on hold officially, Spanish demogroup Chanka decided to take on the weight and boldly presented a software which they called "Fast Tracker 3". The software looked and felt like the original, but it lacked various quintessential features and even though it was announced as a beta, it never made any progress. Some years later the same development team came out with a beta version of Skale Tracker, which was essentially the next version of FT3. Skale is currently a very popular tracker, because it provides the basic functionalities of FT2 with a similar look-and-feel, although some critics point out that it still doesn't support all the FT2 effects. [3]
  • Another clone is MilkyTracker, a tracker currently available in Windows, Windows Mobile, Mac OS X and Linux. Milkytracker provides all functionality available in the original FT2 (except for the Nibbles game), and provides various others. The GUI looks close, but intentionally different from the original. The sound replay system advertises itself as "100% FastTracker2 compatible". [4]
  • SoundTracker (not to be confused with Ultimate Soundtracker) is a free (GPL-licensed) FT2-style tracker program for Unix-like operating systems. For many years, it was one of the very few mature Unix-based tracker programs.

Modplug Tracker ModPlug Tracker is a tracker for Windows developed by Olivier Lapicque. ... Demogroups are teams of demosceners, who make computer-based audio-visual works of art known as demos. ... Skale Tracker is a tracker software created and coded by baktery with graphics-support from Awesome. ... MilkyTracker running on Windows XP MilkyTracker is a multi-platform music software, more specifically part of the tracker family. ... SoundTrackers were the first tools of the computer-only music era. ... The Ultimate Soundtracker, or SoundTracker for short, is considered by most to be the grandfather of all tracker programs. ... Clockwise from top: The logo of the GNU Project (the GNU head), the Linux kernel mascot Tux the Penguin, and the FreeBSD daemon Free software is a term coined by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation[1] to refer to software that can be used, studied, and modified without... The GNU logo The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a widely-used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU project. ... Diagram of the relationships between several Unix-like systems A Unix-like operating system is one that behaves in a manner similar to a Unix system, while not necessarily conforming to or being certified to any version of the Single UNIX Specification. ...

Non-freeware clones

  • Renoise also takes a portion of FT2's basic GUI- and featureset-design, even though there are various major changes in its concept.
  • MadTracker can also be considered an FT2 clone.

Renoise is a contemporary software package based upon the heritage and development of tracker software. ... Madtracker screenshot MadTracker is a tracker software for Microsoft Windows. ...

Notable Fast Tracker Musicians

  • Elwood

Elwood (real name Jussi-Matti Salmela) is a demoscene musician and electronic tracker from Kankaanpää, Finland. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Fast Tracker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (771 words)
Fast Tracker, specifically Fast Tracker 2 (FT2), is a software product that was one of the most widely used trackers in the world.
Fast Tracker 2 was discontinued after the release of version 2.08, though a beta version of 2.09 was leaked to the public in 1999.
Many contemporary trackers (Modplug Tracker, Skale Tracker, Renoise, MadTracker 2) are heavily influenced by FT2.
Tracker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (958 words)
Tracker is the generic term for a class of software music sequencers which, in their purest form, allow the user to arrange sound samples stepwise on a timeline across several monophonic channels.
Curiously, most early tracker musicians appeared to be from the UK and the Nordic nations, probably because the tracker was heavily related to the demoscene, which grew rapidly in Scandinavian countries.
Tracker music was a fantastic training ground for a generation of electronic dance musicians, many of whom saved up for an Akai sampler, a multi-effects unit, a mixer and a microphone, thence to storm the charts.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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