Tracker history

Discuss NSF files, FamiTracker, MML tools, or anything else related to NES music.

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noattack
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Tracker history

Post by noattack » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:20 pm

I'm continuing some of my research/writing on early NES-related tools and I've recently began looking at tracker software. As usual, I have questions:

1. Was NerdTracker 2 the first FC/NES tracker? The name leads me to believe there was a NT1, but I can find no trace of it online. Any trackers that preceded it?

2. Was NT2 directly inspired by other tracker software? My guess was Amiga Sound/ProTracker and their derivatives.

3. Any notable limitations of the NT2 2A03 emulation based on limited hardware knowledge at the time?

4. Anyone have insight on the Japanese Famicom tracker and/or VGM scene? Links or documentation are fine.

Thanks!

tepples
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Re: Tracker history

Post by tepples » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:01 pm

noattack wrote:Any notable limitations of the NT2 2A03 emulation based on limited hardware knowledge at the time?
One major one is the phase reset on high byte write; NT2's internal player doesn't emulate this, and early versions of Stars SE are reported to have sounded horrible because the NES playback code didn't work around it.

Bananmos
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Re: Tracker history

Post by Bananmos » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:35 am

1. Was NerdTracker 2 the first FC/NES tracker? The name leads me to believe there was a NT1, but I can find no trace of it online. Any trackers that preceded it?
To the best of my knowledge, no one had released a previous tracker for the NES.

Naming it NT2 was just a bit of a half-joke: At the time NT2 was written, FastTracker2 was the first choice for making music in the nordic demoscene, while the people who had ever tried the original FastTracker were few and far apart. So I figured adding a "2" suffix to it would be more likely to give it instant fame...
2. Was NT2 directly inspired by other tracker software? My guess was Amiga Sound/ProTracker and their derivatives.
Yes, quite obviously. :) TBH I never used SoundTracker/ProTracker myself, as I started out on PC without ever owning an Amiga. But FastTracker2 which me and everyone else were heavily using has its historical roots in ProTracker as well, as does any tracker software I'd believe.

Yet another less known but pretty big source of inspiration would be Reality Adlib Tracker, which me and my musician friend PhD had been using a lot for PC intros we did at the time. It gave me the idea of how simple it could be to make a text-mode based tracker, and NT2 based most of its color scheme on it.
3. Any notable limitations of the NT2 2A03 emulation based on limited hardware knowledge at the time?
Besides the issue Tepples mentioned (NT2's emulation not resetting the phase when writing $4003) there was also no oversampling being done, which makes the higher frequencies of looped noise sound totally incorrect compared to the real hardware. This issue was fixed in NESamp, where the sound emulation was based on the code from NT2, but it was never put back into NT2 since NT2 had been discontinued by then. There's probably a ton of more subtle inaccuracies as well I'd imagine.

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noattack
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Re: Tracker history

Post by noattack » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:39 am

Bananmos wrote: Naming it NT2 was just a bit of a half-joke: At the time NT2 was written, FastTracker2 was the first choice for making music in the nordic demoscene, while the people who had ever tried the original FastTracker were few and far apart. So I figured adding a "2" suffix to it would be more likely to give it instant fame...
Ha, that's a great reason! Obviously the instant fame worked out. 8-)

And thanks for the feedback - good to know I wasn't off base with the ProTracker link.

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Re: Tracker history

Post by mic_ » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:16 am

Anyone have insight on the Japanese Famicom tracker and/or VGM scene? Links or documentation are fine.
Hasn't the Japanese NES/FC music community always been more MML-centered? I'm sure there are Japanese people these days that use e.g. FamiTracker, but I have never seen a Japanese-developed tool for making NES/FC music that hasn't been MML-based.

A few links:

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Kreese
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Re: Tracker history

Post by Kreese » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:40 am

It's quite funny when you think about that both NT2 and FamiTracker are developed in Sweden. Musetracker (aka Pornotracker) is developed in Finland...

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Re: Tracker history

Post by cak » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:34 am

That is funny! Sweden also has a vibrant NES speedrunning community.

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