Native Echo support in trackers?

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djcouchycouch
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Native Echo support in trackers?

Post by djcouchycouch » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:38 pm

Just wanted to throw this out there because I keep thinking about it...

I'd like to use a tracker like VGM MM or DefleMask for my development because they're specifically geared for the Genesis sound hardware. And I'd like to use the Echo sound driver because it's current and actively supported (and it has a C API!). But getting content from a tracker into Echo isn't as smooth as it could be, if it's possible at all.

For me, the ideal solution would be to have native support for Echo formats in VGM MM or DefleMask. Get a true what-you-hear-is-what-you-get workflow. I'd compose in one of those trackers, export to Echo formats, compile in my SGDK project and run! Beautiful.

What would it take for this to happen?

Yes, I'm totally ignorant of any technical issues it might have.

I also realize there's not much incentive, but Echo appears to be a pretty serious project. There doesn't appear to be any comparable sound drivers publically available. (GEMS?) And it would be a real shame if it's adoption would be hobbled by a lack of supporting trackers.

Maybe I'm just an optimist, but it would sure be nice.

That's it!

Shiru
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Post by Shiru » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:24 pm

I think it is just wrong to support every particular engine in every tracker. It is up to creator of a library to provide an easy way to create content, through converters, export plugins (if a tracker has them, like FamiTracker) etc.

VGM MM has text export that dumps songs in a human readible, easily parseable text format. I don't think it is too difficult to use this data in a converter for any engine. Of course if you use arbitrary sound engine, it won't be fully featured, you would need to write music with certain limitations defined by the engine.

I also made an alternative that barely interested anyone - 1tracker, an universal tracker. You can write a rather simple script engine that'll allow to hear what you doing in the frontend by generating a VGM file (front end supports this and many other formats), and export data in any format you'd want to use in your programs.


A side note regarding general purpose sound libraries for consoles. There is a problem that almost no one wants to use them. Yes, you are an exception, but most people just want to do sound code by themselves. So a lib waits for years until someone finally try to use it.. then he founds major bugs, and the lib author already forgot everything, not interested anymore etc. It just does not work well. From my experience, it may only work if it'll be included into a SDK. People who use SDKs don't want to deal with low level, so they won't want to code sound part as well.

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Post by Chilly Willy » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:07 am

There's really only two open trackers for the MD: TFM and Echo. He's not asking for support for EVERY tracker - just ONE of the open ones.

Shiru
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Post by Shiru » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:21 am

TFM is a ZX Spectrum device. TFM MM is a tracker for the device, which is not open in any sense - not open source, and it is a year already since it was obsoleted with VGM MM and not supported anymore.

Echo is not a tracker, it is a sound library.

Chilly Willy
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Post by Chilly Willy » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:09 am

Shiru wrote:TFM is a ZX Spectrum device. TFM MM is a tracker for the device, which is not open in any sense - not open source, and it is a year already since it was obsoleted with VGM MM and not supported anymore.

Echo is not a tracker, it is a sound library.
You KNOW I was referring to open tracker PLAYERS, not the tracker EDITOR. VGM is not a valid player for games as the songs take WAY too much memory. We're talking about tracker music for games here, and the useful PLAYERS available to games are TFM and Echo. As you mentioned, TFM is no longer supported, so it makes sense to ask for editor support for Echo instead of TFM. THAT is what I meant. I hope that clears up any confusion. :wink:

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Post by Shiru » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:26 am

No, I don't know. No one uses term 'tracker' as a replacement for 'player', since 'tracker' is a kind of user interface and has nothing to do with players. For example, TFM MM does not use tracker format as output, and I doubt that 5-15K per song that it produces is 'way too much' memory, considering how much features it provides and how complex an actual player with full support of these features would be.

Try to use even more occasional caps here and there for better understanding next time.

djcouchycouch
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Post by djcouchycouch » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:18 pm

Interesting, I didn't realize that even if a tracker composition program was geared for the Genesis's sound capabilities, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's data it's optimized for playback on the actual Genesis hardware. Noted!

Chilly Willy
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Post by Chilly Willy » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:32 pm

Shiru wrote:No, I don't know. No one uses term 'tracker' as a replacement for 'player', since 'tracker' is a kind of user interface and has nothing to do with players.
Are you kidding? EVERYONE in the business calls the type of music "tracker music", and the player is normally called a "tracker player" or often just a "tracker". It has NOTHING to do with the editor (which have many different interfaces) and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that the music is split into tracks of patterns. Very strange, but maybe you're too young to know all this. Anyone who lived through the era and programmed on the Amiga would know this instinctively. 8)

For example, TFM MM does not use tracker format as output, and I doubt that 5-15K per song that it produces is 'way too much' memory, considering how much features it provides and how complex an actual player with full support of these features would be.
I said VGM used too much memory, not TFM. VGMs tend from several hundred KB to MBytes in size for a decent length song.
Try to use even more occasional caps here and there for better understanding next time.
OKAY! :D

TmEE co.(TM)
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Post by TmEE co.(TM) » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Tracker is an editing method, just like a Sequencer is. Most music tools are sequencers.
People call MIDIs tracker music too, though MIDIs are most commonly sequencer related, though there's few trackers that do MIDI.
Perhaps the stuff is different over the pond...?

Here in EU land there's a very clear distinction.
Mida sa loed ? Nagunii aru ei saa ;)
http://www.tmeeco.eu
Files of all broken links and images of mine are found here : http://www.tmeeco.eu/FileDen

Chilly Willy
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Post by Chilly Willy » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:07 pm

Yeah, quite probably. Over here, the music sets the name because it's all based on tracks, while the editors come in all flavors. Sorry about the fuss.
:oops:

Shiru
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Post by Shiru » Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:25 pm

Wow, now it is personal insults to prove your own crazy vision of things. Very nice and clever.

Now I motivated enough to close VGM MM too. I'm tired of this.

djcouchycouch
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Post by djcouchycouch » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:08 pm

This has obviously gotten out of hand.

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Post by mic_ » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:37 pm

DefleMask appears to be geared more towards just creating music, it's not a complete kit that includes replayers for inclusion of songs in a game/demo in an efficient manner (yet). You could try bugging Delek about it, but he might not be interested in moving in that direction.

djcouchycouch
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Post by djcouchycouch » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:04 am

This is what I think my music production pipeline will look like:

- compose song in OpenMPT (Oerg's recommended software. Looks pretty powerful and well supported)
- use instruments that hopefully sound like Genesis sound hardware, if they can be found. If not, find something reasonably close. Failing that, use anything within reason and hope for the best.
- save/export song to .xm format
- convert .xm song to Echo's esf format using xm2esf tool (there's also a GUI version)
- open VGM Music Maker and create Genesis-sounding instruments using the instrument panel
- export VGM MM instruments to the .vfi files
- convert .vgi files to Echo .eif instrument file format using vgi2eif tool
- import .eif and .esf files into SGDK project and use

As you can see, there're quite a few steps there, using four different tools and many different file formats. I think it should be obvious why I'm looking for something a little more streamlined :)

Any advice, hints or tricks to improve this, will be most welcome!

sega16
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Post by sega16 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:19 am

Speaking of OpenMpt I was converting a midi file to XM and for some reason it did not save the last instrument and it glitched the saw wave sample I just thought I would give everyone a heads up about that. Note: I have not done extensive testing with other midis I just upgraded from the old Modplug to the new OpenModplug tracker and yes djcouchycouch that is currently the best way to go about composing in echo.

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