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YannAros

Editor for Intellivision Music Tracker Library

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Hi,

 

I'm looking to integrate music into some Intybasic games I'm creating and was wondering if there is a way to create tracks using "Arkos Tracker 2" https://www.julien-nevo.com/arkostracker/

And then save them into a format that can converted to be used by the Intellivision Music Tracker library?

 

May be there are other tools / tracker available for this?

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Posted (edited)

I downloaded this software before (for another purpose) but despite having 30 years experience in similar tracker programs, I didn't make heads or tails in this one, at least not without studying the manual in detail. Unfortunately the ASM code exported even with the generic AKG format is a mess of .db constants and a lot of labels and automatically generated comments that would take quite some time to figure out what those mean. For instance there doesn't seem to be a single note encoded as such, only byte values with special meaning. I'm sure it can be done, perhaps even port the Arkos Tracker player to CP1610 and Intellivision, but that is something else than using the editor for making Intellivision music with current routines.

 

Unfortunately I don't know about another preferable tracker. The music I've composed, I've used OctaMED on the Amiga, print the music blocks to text file and then various tools to extract tracks and blocks. There is a ton of hand patching though, and many effects such as instruments etc need to be created within the player routine format. Given what I wrote above about not making heads or tails, I fully expect others to fail as much taking this route, or at least if your attention span is ever the slightest shortened, you'd give up halfway.

 

But the topic is good, and perhaps we can find other trackers or a way to use the above one to output or print music in a slightly more human readable format that makes it easier to convert to the desired format.

 

Edit: Aha, the AKR raw format is slightly easier to parse than the AKG/AKL formats. One would still need to convert db 23 to B-1 etc and skip a lot of extra info but a little step closer to what we need.

Edited by carlsson

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I'm not attached to any specific tool.

I'm mainly looking in a easy to put in place and as automated as possible workflow to generate Intellivsion Music Tracker files from a user firendly editor.

 

 

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Yeah, me too. :) The question is which tool that would be, if it exists or needs to be written. There should be more AY based trackers out there, plus of course Famitrackers, SID trackers etc. Actually something like GoatTracker might be possible to use, depending on how easy to parse the binary source files are. On the other hand I haven't studied it, so it might be just as binary tied to the built-in playback routine as the above program appears to be.

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27 minutes ago, YannAros said:

I'm not attached to any specific tool.

I'm mainly looking in a easy to put in place and as automated as possible workflow to generate Intellivsion Music Tracker files from a user firendly editor.

 

 

My goal was always to support that sort of interoperability, but I haven’t found a tool that generates output that aligns in a straightforward way to the Intellivision Music Tracker capabilities.

 

Also, since I am not a musician, I didn’t want to spend the trouble of building a converter for a tool nobody would use.

 

One tool that I had hoped for was Deflemask.  But turns out it is not open source and the developers pick and choose which platforms to support.

 

I made a case to support the AY-8914 of the Intellivision, and they seemed interested in doing so, but it is not clear when they will get around to it.

 

All that to say that if you or anybody has a preferred graphical tracker that they find useful (or a data format that they could export into), I could see into building a converter for it.

 

    dZ.

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I just checked Vortex Tracker. It has a mode to save as text:

https://bulba.untergrund.net/vortex_e.htm

 

[Pattern0]

....|..|B-1 1F.. B..1|B-2 2F.. ....|R-- 3F.. ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|F-1 4... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|C-2 .... ....|C-3 2... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|F-1 4... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....
....|..|--- .... ....|--- .... ....|--- .... ....

 

This looks promising, and something we could work with!

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Posted (edited)

Well, you guys let me know if you think the Vortex Tracker itself is useful, and I’ll work on an converter for it.

 

I just didn’t wanna go through the trouble of building this sort of tool if nobody’s going to use the Vortex Tracker because they prefer a different one.

 

   dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay

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I agree. First see if the editor is good and exactly what kind of content it outputs, then identify the format and how to convert it. We might come up with additional candidates, and since the as1600 assembler anyway will convert human readable music data to Intellivision binary, a conversion script might as well convert Z80 binary data to CP1610 binary data like in the first tracker linked to, although at first glance it seemed rather complex in its data format.

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3 minutes ago, carlsson said:

I agree. First see if the editor is good and exactly what kind of content it outputs, then identify the format and how to convert it. We might come up with additional candidates, and since the as1600 assembler anyway will convert human readable music data to Intellivision binary, a conversion script might as well convert Z80 binary data to CP1610 binary data like in the first tracker linked to, although at first glance it seemed rather complex in its data format.

Is the data format documented somewhere?  Legacy formats descending from XM, MOD, and FT2 are sort of trivial to convert, and are fully documented.

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Hm. Vortex Tracker saves files in ProTracker 3 format or text file, and exports SNDH (Atari ST) and with built-in ZX Spectrum player.

 

Arkos Tracker 2 saves files in own format AKS, and exports in assembly language formats AKG (generic), AKY, AKM (minimalist), AKL (lightweight), AKR (raw), YM, WAV, events only, AKX (sound effects) and samples.

 

I've got a feeling there are more tools out there, which we need to find, pinch and evaluate before we have settled what works best.

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Posted (edited)

I tried another very bare-bones like tracker called 1tracker by Shiru, but it only exports in VGM format. Otherwise it was straightforward to work with.

 

Sure there are tools like Fast Tracker, Pro Tracker etc as well that I overlooked, and if output from those programs is known how to handle, perhaps we don't need to look into tracker programs specifically meant for chip music.

Edited by carlsson

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That is the website for @Arnauld who developed the original version of Intellivision Music Tracker Library, improved upon by DZ-Jay and others during the development of the Voyage demo.

 

Back to 1tracker, I realized that if one saves the music in native 1tm format, it looks like this:

 

[Song]

0000 .. A-2... ...... ...... .....
0001 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0002 .. A-3... C-5... ...... .....
0003 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0004 .. E-3... B-4... ...... .....
0005 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0006 .. A-3... A-4... ...... .....
0007 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0008 .. A-2... ...... ...... .....
0009 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0010 .. A-3... C-5... ...... .....
0011 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0012 .. E-3... B-4... ...... .....
0013 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0014 .. A-3... A-4... ...... .....
0015 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0016 .. D-3... ...... ...... .....
0017 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0018 .. A-3... D-5... ...... .....
0019 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0020 .. A-2... C-5... ...... .....
0021 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0022 .. A-3... B-4... ...... .....
0023 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0024 .. D-3... ...... ...... .....
0025 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0026 .. A-3... D-5... ...... .....
0027 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0028 .. A-2... C-5... ...... .....
0029 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0030 .. A-3... B-4... ...... .....
0031 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0032 .. E-3... ...... ...... .....
0033 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0034 .. B-3... B-4... ...... .....
0035 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0036 .. B-2... A-4... ...... .....
0037 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0038 .. B-3... G#4... ...... .....
0039 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0040 .. E-3... A-4... ...... .....
0041 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0042 .. B-3... B-4... ...... .....
0043 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0044 .. B-2... C-5... ...... .....
0045 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0046 .. B-3... B-4... ...... .....
0047 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0048 .. A-2... A-4... ...... .....
0049 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0050 .. A-3... C-5... ...... .....
0051 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0052 .. E-3... D-5... ...... .....
0053 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0054 .. A-3... E-5... ...... .....
0055 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0056 .. E-3... F-5... ...... .....
0057 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0058 .. D-3... E-5... ...... .....
0059 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0060 .. C-3... D-5... ...... .....
0061 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0062 .. B-2... B-4... ...... .....

 

I'm not sure if this tracker operates in terms of tracks and blocks, or just tracks one line at a time, but it is very close to the output we want.

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, carlsson said:

That is the website for @Arnauld who developed the original version of Intellivision Music Tracker Library, improved upon by DZ-Jay and others during the development of the Voyage demo.

 

Back to 1tracker, I realized that if one saves the music in native 1tm format, it looks like this:

 

 

[Song]

0000 .. A-2... ...... ...... .....
0001 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0002 .. A-3... C-5... ...... .....
0003 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0004 .. E-3... B-4... ...... .....
0005 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0006 .. A-3... A-4... ...... .....
0007 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0008 .. A-2... ...... ...... .....
0009 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0010 .. A-3... C-5... ...... .....
0011 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0012 .. E-3... B-4... ...... .....
0013 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0014 .. A-3... A-4... ...... .....
0015 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0016 .. D-3... ...... ...... .....
0017 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0018 .. A-3... D-5... ...... .....
0019 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0020 .. A-2... C-5... ...... .....
0021 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0022 .. A-3... B-4... ...... .....
0023 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0024 .. D-3... ...... ...... .....
0025 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0026 .. A-3... D-5... ...... .....
0027 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0028 .. A-2... C-5... ...... .....
0029 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0030 .. A-3... B-4... ...... .....
0031 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0032 .. E-3... ...... ...... .....
0033 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0034 .. B-3... B-4... ...... .....
0035 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0036 .. B-2... A-4... ...... .....
0037 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0038 .. B-3... G#4... ...... .....
0039 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0040 .. E-3... A-4... ...... .....
0041 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0042 .. B-3... B-4... ...... .....
0043 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0044 .. B-2... C-5... ...... .....
0045 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0046 .. B-3... B-4... ...... .....
0047 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0048 .. A-2... A-4... ...... .....
0049 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0050 .. A-3... C-5... ...... .....
0051 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0052 .. E-3... D-5... ...... .....
0053 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0054 .. A-3... E-5... ...... .....
0055 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0056 .. E-3... F-5... ...... .....
0057 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0058 .. D-3... E-5... ...... .....
0059 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0060 .. C-3... D-5... ...... .....
0061 .. ...... ...... ...... .....
0062 .. B-2... B-4... ...... .....

 

 

I'm not sure if this tracker operates in terms of tracks and blocks, or just tracks one line at a time, but it is very close to the output we want.

To be honest, I am not so much concerned about the output format, as long as it is documented or we can reverse engineer it.

 

What I am more concerned about is having a tracker that supports -- to some extent at least -- the feature set of the Intellivision Music Tracker, which is itself a subset of the capabilities of some chip tune trackers out there (e.g., instruments, envelopes, drums, some effects, patterns, play lists, etc.).

 

The trick is to make music that exploits the capabilities of the tracker, not just put notes together.  That's why I defer the selection of the tracker to those who make music:  if there is a preferred or good enough tracker program out there that allows some of the features of the Intellivision Music Tracker to make interesting music with effects -- and that people would use -- then I am willing to spend the effort in making a converter -- whatever it takes. :)


It also allows us to expand the capabilities with Glissandos and other effects in the future, if the composing tool supports that already.

 

   dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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Yeah. I'll keep playing around and looking for options.

 

1tracker can divide music into logic blocks but doesn't seem to have a track structure. It also has 40++ different player routines of which the majority is for ZX Spectrum beeper. Most of those routines implement 2-8 virtual channels, some with PWM and envelopes that are interplexed on the speaker when played back. For instance the routine Stocker is an "advanced PWM-based engine that provides two channels of tone with user definable envelopes, detune, legato, slide up and down, and 5 drum sounds".

 

An instrument envelope may be up to 64 steps long and looks like 0a090b0a080c050201060a0a09 where each hex number is the volume 00-0f.

 

I'll see if I can find something even better, perhaps 3 channels of which one optionally handles drums, but except for the track/block structure this one might not be that bad after all. The closer the format is to what we already have in terms of tools, the less work it would be to rewrite them once we know what really works.

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps it’s time to start playing with Deflemask.  It does support NES and other platforms for chip tunes, and it offers ability to define instruments with envelopes and pitch effects.

 

Deflemask seems to be very close to what we want — it is just that it doesn’t support the AY-8914 capabilities specifically.

 

However, the developers seem to be interested in implementing it in the future.

 

In the meantime, we could use it to create songs targeted to one of the other platforms, and limit the features we use to those that can be translated to the Intellivision Music Tracker, like 3 or 6 voices, instrument envelopes, arpeggios, noise, etc.; and avoid the effects we don’t support.


I think that as a first step we could port one of the simple demos songs of the Intellivision Music Tracker to Deflemask, and see how we could replicate all its effects there.  That at least can give us an idea of how it could be used.

 

   dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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