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kisrael

Introducing atari-riff-machine (browser based looper/tracker)

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Hi there!

 

I spent the last few weeks making https://alienbill.com/2600/atari-riff-machine/ - a simple browser-based looper/tracker for making Atari music.

 

 

It generates batari Basic code for the Atari - though I'm worried there's some glitch and the two tracks get out of synch in some circumstances (help appreciated!)

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I’m not using the export (my project is on the 7800 and in assembly) but this particular way of experimenting with TIA audio is just what i needed.

 

Thank you for sharing it!

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Glad at least someone finds it useful :-D 

 

I'd be willing to talk about different formats for output, easier than hand transcribing... but I suspect someone who is technical enough to be doing assembly work could even manipulate the relevant chunks of batari Data statements, it's a pretty obvious format.

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6 hours ago, kisrael said:

Glad at least someone finds it useful :-D 

 

I'd be willing to talk about different formats for output, easier than hand transcribing... but I suspect someone who is technical enough to be doing assembly work could even manipulate the relevant chunks of batari Data statements, it's a pretty obvious format.

I'm making sound effects that are musical (a concept that was verbalized by one of the well-known developers, but I unfortunately can’t remember who), not really tunes or riffs. So I’m going to code it manually, but that’s not as onerous as “hand transcribing” implies. I’m not worried about coding at all.

 

For me, the value is in sequencing different combinations and hearing them immediately. I have several other ways of making TIA audio (including your own Sound Forger), but Riff Machine provides the most control and convenience.

 

If you’re planning to enhance it I can make some suggestions, but it already does what I really need it to do.

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It will come handy for sure.

Really nice, thanks for sharing.

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I love this. One of the areas I am wanting to improve on is music/sound creation. Any tools are helpful and I absolutely love the appearance as it may make things more accessible, especially if you are familiar with similar. 

 

I am planning on playing around with this as soon as I get the chance. 

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Hm, I'm not sure the riff-machine is mobile friendly right now 😞 but the sound-forger is...

 

25 minutes ago, KevKelley said:

I love this. One of the areas I am wanting to improve on is music/sound creation. Any tools are helpful and I absolutely love the appearance as it may make things more accessible, especially if you are familiar with similar. 

 

I am planning on playing around with this as soon as I get the chance. 

 

Great. Yeah, ease of use was super important to me- like I don't know how to make Tia Tracker actually DO anything useful. So as I build my stuff, I try to balance "it's a fun easy to use toy to hear stuff right away" with "you can hunker down and make serious tracks with it"


Hopefully too the guided video helps give people the idea of it.

 

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1 minute ago, splendidnut said:

So what about a desktop version with MIDI support?  :)

hahahno.gif.4686e89202aa31ba878b174a1ceab2aa.gif

 

(sorry, just looking for an excuse to use that GIF 🙂 )

 

But for reals, I like stuff on the web because it works for both Windows and Mac.

and it's on Github so even if something happens to me someone can stand it up elsewhere 

 

MIDI... like for the inputs? Outputs? 
I dunno, is Tia Tracker or work by Paul Slocum closer to what you want?
This is definitely trying to find a certain sweet spot of complexity, ease of use, seriousness, fun, and my willingness to put in time, and while it would be fun to hook up my MIDI keyboard, I think the key jamming in https://alienbill.com/2600/atari-sound-forger/ (its sibling app) is about as close as i will get.

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That's what I thought you might say.  I was asking about MIDI specifically so I could use one of my MIDI keyboards for input.

 

TIA Tracker is what I've been using.  And has been working out alright so far... If I could take what you've been doing, merge it with TIA Tracker, and add MIDI support, I'd probably have everything I needed.  I know, I know... I'm a bit demanding of the tools I use.

 

Just thought I'd ask since you seem very enthusiastic about making tools.  :)

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I couldn't get much traction with understanding TIA Tracker, tbh; not helped by having to run it on a horrible plastic old Windows laptop. (I didn't try that hard tbh, but there wasn't much feedback sound or otherwise if I was doing things right)

Besides ease of use (at least easy for the guy who wrote it) what does atari-riff-machine cover that is missing from TIA Tracker? And what is it most missing?

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Good questions.  But you're killing my potential answers by stating "Besides ease of use..." being as that's the key thing you have got here, and the thing I would attempt to correct with TIA Tracker.

 

TIA Tracker has the power and flexibility (ex: Instrument Editor for editing envelopes), but it lacks the approachability.  There's a learning curve, but I think that's mainly because it's a Tracker style editor and they all have that initial learning curve  (Create instrument, then you can start making music by adding notes into a list).

 

Atari-Riff-Machine has the nice piano-roll style editor which you can throw notes onto.  Makes it quick and easy to throw something together.  BUT it would be better if both channels could be displayed on the same roll, instead of the user having to scroll up and down.  Also it would be nice to have a piano key display to go with the piano roll.

 

There's a lot more you could do with this.  As I said before, you seem very enthusiastic about making tools, so I thought I would stop by, make some suggestions, and try to gauge how far you want to go with this.  I do enjoy playing around with your tools especially since they are web-based and I can access them anywhere.  But I would also like to see you push them a bit further and polish them up a bit...

 

..... then combine them together with a text editor.... and viola, a new Visual bBatari Basic...  Yes, I know, easier said then done :)

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Fair enough! "Ease of use" is a huge one. I never came from the Tracker community. Even GarageBand confuses me sometimes :-D The suggestion Random Terrain made was Mario Paint music mode like which is probably where I landed, albeit the appearance is more tracker like, and I was proud to realize I could do a nice visual display of the envelope. (always wondered if I should color code based on distortion..)

 

If I do upgrade this, envelope editing might be part of it... also the idea of making an envelope that fits on two tracks at once, though the UI for that gets gnarly. I'm not sure if there are any other tips and tricks in "making cool sounds" I could build a UI for.

 

In retrospect, I should have modeled the two tracks closer together (not just on the screen). But this thing turned out to be rather more complicated than I thought. 

 

I do appreciate the nudging and encouragement, but I got a little fried on this one. I want to move on to - you know, actually making an atari game at some point :-D along with other javascript project. I am indeed an enthusiastic tool builder, but unless I get evidence that I'd be making life better for a big pile of users, I'm content with a usable tool (I am worried there's some glitch in my cheap bB engine for the two voice, that they will drift after a while, and want to dig in for further isolation of the issue)

 

For your final suggestion of a "new Visual batari Basic" I'd try to throw in with Atari Dev Studio - already cross platform and I think html-based - like they have that one sprite editor, but I don't know how well-integrated it is. 

 

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Wouldn't it be possible to map a MIDI keyboard to keys on your keyboard, so you could kind of control the soundforger with a controller without directly adding midi support?

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Just got a chance to play with it real fast before bed.  In just a few minutes I was able to make a fun little loop.  Seeing how quick and easy it was to make something with a beat and simple rhythm, this can definitely be of some value in the near future!

 

While I find the other audio tools cool, there always seemed to be a steep (or maybe steep to me) learning curve to get something good out of it.  The tools are great but I always seemed to have a hard time making something other then some little beeps and boops.  This was fun and I cannot wait to make more with this when I have more time and will love to see if this is updated further, although I think it is amazing as is right now!

 

Here was a the quick loop I put together -  I plugged it into one of my WIPs just to hear it with a graphic on the screen in Stella.

 

 

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@KevKelley I like it!

 

yeah my mojo wound down before I had full real time keyboard reading w/ quantizing. i wonder if a MIDI to keyboard thing would introduce any lag

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That was the only thing that slowed me down - lack of real time editing. But it was still real easy and the colors horizontal and vertical bars to show where your note is was very helpful. I still need to play around with it some more, as the setup makes it ideal for the type of music I want to make.

 

My kids loved the music it made too and I plan on putting it in their hands to see what they make.

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