Jump to content

Photo

"Jaytrax"Great Synthesizer & Mod Tracker / Sort-of Jaguar Related (Sort-of)


12 replies to this topic

#1 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:15 PM

It's been some years since I composed any music so what I'm posting is a bit of a throwback for me... Attached to this post is a zip that contains a musical sequencer in tradition to a mod tracker... Actually it was my first mod tracker before I even knew what a mod tracker was. Although it doesn't support mod tracker files, it's very much based off of the way the mod tracker works internal; the only difference is the way the actual tracks are arranged. It functions almost like a piano roll only not as flexible; more like building building blocks. The track is placed in a module you can name and the blocks are assembled together in the "Song Editor" much like a piano roll. What makes this program different from the typical mod tracker is that it has a subtractive polyphonic synthesizer created by a man name "Reinier VonVliet" who actually gave me the program for free at a time when he was selling Jaytrax for profit "great guy". He originally created the synthesizer on an Amiga computer and moved it over to the IBM compatible PC where he expanded on it. It was made to run on a 386 or higher, but required more CPU power as the synthesizer become more complex at the user discretion; the more stuff you added to your synth sound, the more cpu was needed so you composed at your own risk or the program would crash so saving often was golden rule back in the late 90s. Bottom line I've used this old program cause for me it got the job done despite becoming dated over time; I only with it could've been ported over to the Jag some kind of way, but it's wishful thinking at this point. However, considering that keyboards from the early 80s like the "Casio CZ Series" used only 8-bit NEC processor (4mghz) versus the Yamaha DX that had customized YM chips in them to do all of the synthesis, the Jaguar can handle a complicated synthesizer with some bells an whistle.

     

 

     What makes this topic Atari Jaguar related is I composed music for Starcats "Jagmind and Jagworm" a few years back... I've included both song files including some work I did for "Jason Greene" for a SHMUP game that was never finished for the Atari Jaguar CD platform; probably some of the finest work I've done using Jaytrax. All of the songs can be found obviously in the "Song Folder"... Like the mod tracker, some songs have multiple sub-songs in them you can access by clicking the "Sub Song" drop-down button at the opening of the program.

 

     Well very few even heard of "Jaytrax" let alone ever used the program; it's very well capable to use today to compose music... It can still crash on you from time to time even on a modern PC, but I had fun using it over the years making music. For the record hope this work will kind-of fill you in on some things I've done in the past; I don't use the program anymore like I use to. These days I collect synthesizers, the "Roland JD-XA" being my most recent one in hopes to getting back to tinkering with music again. Maybe one day I'll make a tutorial on how to actually used "Jaytrax"... The interface was fairly decent for the time I used it until I found better programs.

 

In the mean time here's a picture of how to access "Sub Songs" circled in red once a song is loaded. In order to open a song, just click "Project" then "Open Song" to browse to the "Song Folder". Once the song is loaded, simply click the "Play button" at the bottom to hear the music and the "Stop Button" to stop the track from playing. Sometimes certain instruments will continue to play in a loop even after you click the "Stop Button"; if that happens, simply press the "Space-Bar" bring the song to a complete stop. It is a very early and last version of the program before it got moved to mobile apps in the early 2000s.

 

I hope you enjoy; be blessed.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Jaytrax SubSong Red Circle.jpg

Attached Files



#2 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:21 PM

Ok here go some videos some one posted of Jaytrax including a couple of music files I composed... They most likely got it from JS3 on Facebook. A big thanks to the moderator for putting me on over there. Great guy real polite fellow.

 

 



#3 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:33 PM

Ok here's some song not included with the files I've uploaded I composed using "Jaytrax Sequencer"... I have tons of music I've done over the years that very few know about until now. It's kind of the nature of thousands of mod files people create that never seem to make the light of day. Think of all of the Atari ST and Amiga mod files that never really got the recognition it deserved or the composers. Mod tracker composers really are the most widely known and unknown people on earth; for you mod tracker composers, I feel your pain. Keep composing my friends. lol :D

 

"Pacman Intermission"

 

"Sound So Good"

 

"The Old West Spirit"

 

"Atomic Breakdown"



#4 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  

LinkoVitch

    River Patroller

  • 2,548 posts
  • Location:Manchester UK

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:16 AM

It's been some years since I composed any music so what I'm posting is a bit of a throwback for me... Attached to this post is a zip that contains a musical sequencer in tradition to a mod tracker... Actually it was my first mod tracker before I even knew what a mod tracker was. Although it doesn't support mod tracker files, it's very much based off of the way the mod tracker works internal; the only difference is the way the actual tracks are arranged. It functions almost like a piano roll only not as flexible; more like building building blocks. The track is placed in a module you can name and the blocks are assembled together in the "Song Editor" much like a piano roll. What makes this program different from the typical mod tracker is that it has a subtractive polyphonic synthesizer created by a man name "Reinier VonVliet" who actually gave me the program for free at a time when he was selling Jaytrax for profit "great guy". He originally created the synthesizer on an Amiga computer and moved it over to the IBM compatible PC where he expanded on it. It was made to run on a 386 or higher, but required more CPU power as the synthesizer become more complex at the user discretion; the more stuff you added to your synth sound, the more cpu was needed so you composed at your own risk or the program would crash so saving often was golden rule back in the late 90s. Bottom line I've used this old program cause for me it got the job done despite becoming dated over time; I only with it could've been ported over to the Jag some kind of way, but it's wishful thinking at this point. However, considering that keyboards from the early 80s like the "Casio CZ Series" used only 8-bit NEC processor (4mghz) versus the Yamaha DX that had customized YM chips in them to do all of the synthesis, the Jaguar can handle a complicated synthesizer with some bells an whistle.

    

 

Just regards the Jag's synth ability...  The jag has NO synth hardware built in, as such all synthesis has to be done purely in software, which is a lot more CPU intensive than having a synth.  Most likely the reason other systems have a synth device in them (like the YM2149, which I have actually partially emulated on a Jag :) ).  Physical synth hardware takes a few configuration values and then does all the waveform generation, leaving the CPU to do absolutely anything else.  Setting a few values in the synth obviously takes nothing from the CPU in real terms.

Software emulation however requires the CPU generates and manipulates at least one waveform from scratch.  In the case of the YM2149, this isn't too complex as it is a simple squarewave based synth.  Even so, the CPU needs to generate sample data, and manipulate it to adjust frequency, and amplitude fast enough that the sample can be played back.  Depending on the sample rate you choose, depends how many samples per second are generated.  So a single tone on an ST would require setting a few registers once, to make the same YM2149 tone on the Jag at 16kHz requires 16,000 samples be generated per second, that's one single continuous tone, one one channel.  YM2149 has 3, so multiply that by 3, we also need to mix those together, so there is a bunch more CPU time needed.  Each channel is likely to be at a different frequency, so we need to track period sizes for each channel too, there is noise, volume and pitch effects, etc etc etc.. and this is just for a SIMPLE synthesiser, no sample playback yet.  A more complex one is likely to use other waveforms other than square, and likely more complex effects on those waveforms, perhaps mixing different waveforms per channel, delay effects, reverb etc.   Each effect added requires more CPU.

I agree that the Jag can do a more advanced synth than my little YM2149 experiment, but not a hugely complex one, and certainly not to the level of what could be achieved on a PC.

Now if we look at traditional mod's with sample playback, that is fine, however the Jag has finite memory bandwidth, the DSP only has a 16bit bus to that memory and is bottom of the pile almost in terms of processor priority.  It's own RAM is too small to be used for much caching, so only a few samples per channel can be cached to help with bus access.  Each channel of mod player you add increases the amount of memory bandwith the DSP needs to replay that module.  The samples must be fetched from RAM to be processed, each channel has again it's own frequency and timing settings as well as amplitude and other modifiers, all of this being handled in software as the Jag doesn't have any hardware assist with this.  The more channels added mean the less bandwidth for Object Processor and Blitter, unless your game is a static screen and just music.

As with most things in Jag there are challenges and a balancing act to be had.  Sound wise there is certainly more room for improvement, (well certainly from my offerings :D) beyond the trusty old 4 channel Amiga tracker mod days, but I doubt anything like a full Jaytrax mod is going to be possible in a useful way on the Jag, perhaps with some limitations on the features and channels etc, but you also need to get someone with the time to code up the player too!



#5 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:25 AM

As with most things in Jag there are challenges and a balancing act to be had.  Sound wise there is certainly more room for improvement, (well certainly from my offerings :D) beyond the trusty old 4 channel Amiga tracker mod days, but I doubt anything like a full Jaytrax mod is going to be possible in a useful way on the Jag, perhaps with some limitations on the features and channels etc, but you also need to get someone with the time to code up the player too!

 

Yea I figured that out years ago Jaytrax uses full 16bit mono sounds at 16 sound channels; not to mention that each synth sound can use 1 oscillators and 2 source per synth controlling the output sounds... The program did, however start off as an Amiga based synth before being moved to the PC with probably less channels, less sounds, and less bit depth. The Jag doesn't the bus width or the cpu power handle Jaytrax. It's shame that the bus bottleneck hinders cause so much conflict of interest with the processors; if the DSP could at least pull off SNES style music, that would be a thrill, but even the SNES sound chip sat on it's own separate bus with it's own dedicated memory. Old keyboards like the "Casio CZ-1" (which got the CZ 5000 about a year ago) uses 2 oscillators sitting on a board separate from what the CPU sits on controlling up to 8 sounds simultaneously. It was suppose to be a cheaper alternative to the Yamaha DX series. I just found it interesting the keyboard is controlled by an 8bit NEC processor that's only 4mghz; not custom chip like the DX keyboards did. Those were dedicated machines unlike the Jaguar DSP setup. I could go on and on about that kind of think like the 1986 "Sequential Prophet Vector Synthesizer" being controlled by a 68000 processor... I like to see more than 8 channels of sound come from the Jaguar even if the sounds are cheap and low bit-depths. Here are some examples of some cheap synth or sound sample manipulation using 8bit processors to produce music except for the C64 cubase example.

 

 

This one uses 1bit synthesis of stacks of click sounds the Spectrum would naturally produce in the form of synth.

 


Edited by philipj, Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:27 AM.


#6 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  

LinkoVitch

    River Patroller

  • 2,548 posts
  • Location:Manchester UK

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:36 AM

Synth generation should (assuming it's truly generating waveforms and not using huge LUTs or something) require no bus to function, as everything is synthesised.  It does require CPU to generate however, and a bit of RAM.  So you can probably get quite a lot of synth action going from the DSP.  If a good synth was made for the Jag and tools built for composers to use, I imagine you could probably get some pretty awesome music on the Jag without swamping the bus.  Likely to still need the bus for SFX tho



#7 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:18 PM

Well... I had a lot of fun making songs on Jaytrax. It was the very first synth based software I worked on before I even knew what a synth software or mod tracker was. By the time I found out about mod trackers and I tried my hand with composing with a tracker, it felt like I was going backwards. Before then I was using a midi program called "WinJam" and found that my music didn't sound the same on every PC. I consistently used the program from 99 to about 08 until I moved on to "FL Studios", to ultimately investing in synthesizers so I'm somewhat in a transitioning period music wise thus I haven't really composed anything in a while. If you ever decide to make a user interface for your sound engine, go with a piano roll style interface like the one used in Jaytrax or FL studio. The guy who made Jaytrax once asked how to improve on his software because of the songs I was making on it and I wish I'd gave him the advise I'm giving now. To this day I've yet to use a classic mod tracker; doesn't feel very natural, but I guess the learning curb must always be overcome. The way the mod tracks can be arranged in Jaytrax made for the UI almost as seamless as a piano roll style interface only you place the modules in place like building blocks; I might do a tutorial on how it works for better or for whatever. I think the best way to reach people is in layman's terms and Jaytrax was a very easy to use.

 

It's still a great program in its own right... The only reason I posted this in the Atari Jaguar forum was to archive the work I did back in the day for a couple of games including an entry I did back for a "Protector SE" contest I did when Songbird were holding for the release of an old Atari ST or Amiga game Carl Forhan ported over; very exciting times back then. I knew it was a shot in the dark, but you work with the tools you know how to use. I've included "Protector" contest entry music file in the downloads; not my best work, but it's all there for the listening.

 

I tell you what... I'll load one of the last songs I worked on in Jaytrax back in 07 called "Ghost... AAAhhhh!" to illustrate what was possible... It almost fully utilizes Jaytrax synth capabilities and I still never fully utilize all that Jaytrax could offer. The song features "Microsoft Sam" in a very eerie voice at the end. I had a lot of fun making it. Jaytrax was a great program, where I had to learn sound editing from scratch in order to get results. I hope the post shine some light on the old program, I'd hate to see it fade into obscurity without some way to archive it. Tutorials could be in the future for this topic (Stay Tuned).

 

"Edited"

Ok... I just added a song called "Bump-N-Non-Stop", which is one of the first if not the first songs I did back in 99 or 2000... Perhaps you can hear a comparison of how far along I'd came with the program over the years. It's a shame I didn't get off into the Atari ST stuff early on; I wish I had TBH. I was still learning how to use Jaytrax when I did this one.

Attached Files


Edited by philipj, Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:54 PM.


#8 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:33 PM

To talk about "Jaytrax", for me, is to sort-of go back in time to give a bit of a back story, foundation to how I got started into using Jaytrax or at least give some idea as to the driving nature of using the sequencer/synth. Take it back to 95 around my high-school graduation year; one day I visit the old arcade at the mall and run into a slew of games that would really showed you what was to come with the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and N64. There was this game called "Soul Blade" that we all know today as "Soul Caliber", but by the time they released for the PS1, they renamed it "Soul Edge"... The way I remember, it was Soul Blade on the arcade cabinet. Anyways without being too long-winded, it was very fun and different in game-play thus bought something new to the table, but what impressed me the most about the game was the music. Now the SNES music from various games back in the 90s really offered a very refreshing alternative for non PC owners that was used to hearing the bleeps of the NES and the 2600; the 16-bit era was a bit of fresh air musically... The fact it can play more than four channels was audibly obvious and appealing. I always dabbled with a music keyboard in those days, but the music content coming from the 16-bit games, I knew if I wanted to get into gaming at some point in time, I'll have to make music outside my musical box thus some of the music I was hearing from "Soul Edge" was highly thoughtful and certainly outside of my knowledge base. Fast forward to 98 when I got Jaytrax I decided to revisit the old arcade as a source of inspiration for trying my hand into making music that's appropriate for a game scene as an experiment to see if I can make music similar to what Namco did so I chose "Mina theme song" having worked with a TS-404 emulator thus I used a music loop I created with the program, saved as a wave file and imported it to Jaytrax and created my song called "KUNG FU STYLE" just to see if I could make that kind of stuff.

 

So without further or do here's "Kung Fu Style"... A song inspired by Mina theme on Soul Blade and for kicks, I'll post a YouTube of Mina's original theme song for a comparison to see if you hear the differences. A little later I'll post another song I made inspired by the martial arts and maybe I'll talk a little bit more about the "TS-404 emulator" I was using; I had a very good workflow and tool set I developed back in those days. Also I was very much inside my musical box, which I'll probably get into... Until then, I hope you enjoy.

 

 



#9 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:47 PM

Ok I'm back... Today is Friday Sept 28 of 2018... Back in the day there use to be a TV marathon called "Kung Fu Friday" so this topic is perfect for I'm going to bring up next... No doubt I use to love to watch this show on Friday evenings, sometimes it would show on Saturdays. One of the shows I use to watch that I have great memories is called "Wu Tang Deadly Strike" back when me and my pops use to watch it together. Other movies like "The Last Dragon, Big Trouble In Little China" are movies that would stylistically set the tone for games like "Pit Fighter and Mortal Kombat" thus it certainly hit a nerve with me concerning the idea of making a Street Fighter style game of some sort. "Konami's Yie Ar Kung Fu arcade game" was a favorite of mine long before the whole fighting game craze hit the scene in the 90s as well as a slew of other beat-em-up genera of games; It was out around the time Deadly Strike was playing on TV... it was only a matter of time before I tried my hand in coming up with some kind of fighting game concept... I also have some hand drawn art works I might post later, however I would often make music first before I got into designing something thus if I ever get this programming thing, I'll at least have something to work with... And I will get get it eventually. It's always fun to look back at what I did... i usually finish what I start when I do things like for legacy sake; live and learn right?

 

Before I make this post too long (I can go on and on), here's a song I made, among other songs I haven't made public, concerning a fighting game concept that's been sitting on the back burner; it's probably the one the best of them all... I made this probably about a year before I did some music for Starcats "Jagworm". The song is called "Face Off "Kung Fu Madness" and was inspired by the movie "Deadly Strike" and one of my favorite hip hop artist "Ice T's Tibetan Jam". I hope you all enjoy.

 

 

 


Edited by philipj, Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:07 PM.


#10 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:47 PM

Just to follow up on my last post... I know it isn't Jaytrax related, but for a proof of concept, below are some pencil art works of me dabbling around with a fighting game concept. I could give a back story on the drawings, but to keep it short and to the point, the following is a ninja, a shaolin monk, a couple of street brawlers and a cyborg gorilla. All of these drawings I did in various points in time to kind of keep the idea around, the gorilla I did in high-school as a comic book art, but later decided to include him in a final concept. All of them I'll probably redesign or just scrap and start a new. These were all rough sketches.

 

With all sincerity, I hope these old drawings inspire others to keep working on your game projects and don't let anything discourage you... A delay isn't always a denial, just keep working on your stuff... Learn from mistakes, get smarter and keep moving.

Attached Thumbnails

  • My Fighters 1.jpg
  • My Fighters 3.jpg
  • My Fighters 5.jpg
  • My Fighters 4.jpg
  • My Fighters 2.jpg
  • My Fighters 6.jpg
  • My Fighters 7.jpg

Edited by philipj, Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:04 PM.


#11 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Mon Oct 1, 2018 3:29 PM

First off let me thank Jeffery for posting this music on YouTube and Starcats for giving me the opportunity to do giving me the opportunity to make music for his game. When I started composing the music for Jagworm, it was really at the height of the buzz around the game at the time... I didn't know Lars personally, only through game forums (AA & JS2). I liked some of the graphic works he was doing and I wanted to put my work our there as well. I think at the time he had a contest for music talent similar to what "Songbird Production" did for Protector SE, which I also participated in. I just made time to do those things while attending school at the same time around 04 and 05; it was work, school and then music making on my spare time. Looking back today is nostalgia and it was fun to try and make cartoon music on my first try. I hope this music inspire others to keep chasing your dreams and keep making Jaguar games.

 

I'm also going to include the Jaytrax music file of Jagworm, which has all of the songs located in the "Sub Song" dropdown box... To access them please read the topic instructional I posted.

 

Best regards.

 

Attached Files



#12 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Sat Oct 6, 2018 1:38 AM

Ok... Here's song I made called "Teen-E-Bebop" featuring samples from "Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers" hence the reason I gave title of the song its name. The inspiration came from a song LL Cool J, a legendary hip hop artist, created called "The Do Wop". Now I grew up listening to LL and can remember the mid 80s when he first came and then created the song "I'm Bad", which just totally ripped Micheal Jackson's song "BAD" a new one; both songs were released the same year in 87, but it was the LL Cool J song that was the most popular among me and my playground friends in the 80s. Anyways when I made Teen-E-Bebop, I really wanted express the great memories of an era when hip hop was still very young, fresh, and still very much underground before it went mainstream. To make a long story short, I looked at the song "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" by the Teenagers, which to me, is the most recognizable do wop song I know. One thing I want to quickly note is the fact at how talented the Teenagers were, the harmony from them was flawless, I didn't hardly have to add any music to the song... They were that good. I felt like I was cheating just using their vocal harmony through out the majority of the song, to bring some level of originality to it, I added some music towards the end of the song using the Teenagers baritone singers voice as a bass instrument that plays in a continues loop to help make the music blend with the Teenagers harmony. Almost most of the instruments, except the samples and the drums are mostly synthesized sounds from Jaytrax... I had a lot of fun make this song

 

I'll leave links to both songs for comparison... I hope you enjoy.

 

 

 


Edited by philipj, Sat Oct 6, 2018 2:20 AM.


#13 philipj OFFLINE  

philipj

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
  • 503 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, Alabama

Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:57 PM

Ok... This song is very much Jaguar related. I don't know if anyone would remember; a while back I guess around 2001 or 02 "Songbird Productions" released a game called "Protector SE". Prior to it's release a contest was being held for musical content with downloadable mod file with instrument. It would probably be one of the first times I dealt with mode files considering at the time I was still fairly new at composing music via computer. Of course by that time I had already spent a couple of years using "Jaytrax Synth Sequencer" and another music program called "Winjammer", a PC sound card based sequencer and had only heard of mod trackers on and off over the Internet. Most of the instruments in this song comes directly from files Songbird had posted on their website thus the rules at the time was that it had to be in mode tracker form and submitted within a deadline. At that time I didn't have much time to figure out how a mod tracker worked so I almost didn't enter the contest. However out of enthusiasm for the release, I made the decision to compose the music and enter the contest during a time when I was still experimenting with different musical styles trying to find my sound.

 

     The inspiration for this song came from wanting to make "House Style" music with an Atari retro feel... Also some of the cool art works from Songbirds website, which you can still download from the site, also help to inspire the making of the song. Basically internalized my experiences with some of the aesthetics from what I experienced with the Atari 2600 from games like "Asteroids, Defender (which Protector is in essence, Defender clone)" and other space shooters like Space Chase, Yars Revenge, and so on... I basically put all of those good feelings into the song thus I choose "House genera" of music to do so; the style is very lite yet very celebratory, nothing too off the wall. This was before I actually played T2K for the Atari Jaguar and heard the music for that game... When I heard it I was like "OH...! OK... Bad@zz techno / house music...I see now. lol" thus looking back over time, I had second thoughts about the style of the music I was making. In all in all I had fun making this song and was a great learning experience, lessons I would use later on down the road especially for another Jag game that never got released called "Metro Blaster", which I'll post later. In reference to the music actually used in "Protector SE's" game-play, I here a little "funk element" in the song, which I thought was pretty neat. Kind of made me wish I'd gone in that direction myself, I'd probably have better sounding song than the one I actually made... Live and learn right.  :lolblue:

 

I'll make the Jaytrax available for download... I hope you enjoy and it inspire future Jaguar game development.

 

 

Attached Files






0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users