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Author Topic: Crash course in tracking  (Read 4984 times)

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  • Tasted the Pie
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Crash course in tracking
« on: March 30, 2007, 19:11:33 »


       I'm new here, and new to tracking.  However, I'm no stranger to music, midi, and sample programming.  I have been reading as much as I can around forums, websites, everything about tracking.  However, I feel that I need some straight up advice on where to start.  I'm running on Windows XP, and that is my only option for an OS right now.  I've found that I may need to Fasttracker 2 (or Milkytracker?).  Also what about modules?  Do I need little samples that are specifically meant for mod music, or do they come with the tracking programs?

The scenario is this.  I got a call from friend who is on a tight deadline, and told me he needs 20 minutes of music in 2 weeks for a Nintendo DS game.  DS obviously uses trackers, but is it just plain .xm format, or something else?  Am I starting in the right place?  Do I write in MIDI first, and import it to a tracker?  Is that even possible?

Anyway, I'm asking for some super basic, straight foward advice, so I can get started quickly.  Any links may be helpful.  Just tell me what I need, and any little pointers, and I will work like a dog figuring this stuff out.  Thanks.  :D



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Crash course in tracking
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2007, 10:35:41 »

Sounds like your in an urgent position. At the some point, if you need 20 minutes of music real fast, get people at the IRC channel to help you out.

As for finding good trackers, MilkyTracker and ModPlug Tracker are good choises to begin with.

If you are going to make music for a Nintendo DS, I dunno what format to recommend, but MOD is pretty easy to implement and versatile (and usually small too). S3M, XM and IT may be more complicated to add, but does offer more freedom (not neccesarily quality, though, depends on the composer).

If you are going to create music with modules, finding good samples can be difficult. There's no real limit at how these samples should be. There once was due to memory lackage, but that's not the case anymore.

If you want some old school and versatile samples from the Amiga, I could recommend ST-01 and ST-02 (or any other ST-xx sample disk). ModArchive have their WaveWorld with around a GB of samples which you could use. And then there's that free sample project... something.

ModPlug Tracker


ST-xx disks


Oh, and make sure you read the manual of the tracker you choose. The manual of MilkyTracker has to be downloaded stand-alone, so don't miss that. ModPlug has a quite straight-forward manual, too, so you may benefit from reading both.
Collecting trackers and sequencers since 2006!


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Crash course in tracking
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2007, 10:38:27 »

The chap going by the name "\' or "slash" on #mod_shrine which is on the same IRC network as #modarchive ( composes music commercially for nintendo DS games, so give him a poke and he might shed some light on that (or someone else could do that on fxscreamers behalf.


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Crash course in tracking
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2007, 05:11:58 »

First off, welcome. I hope you find tracking to be fun!

If you're completely new, I'd suggest starting with ModPlug tracker. Learning the tracker paradigm is a big enough hurdle without having to worry about an idiosyncratic user interface like milkytracker has. Don't get me wrong, milkytracker is great and I use it too, but it's easier to learn once you get how a tracker works. (That's just my experience; others may disagree.) MPT can export to the major formats.

As for samples, you can use any file at all (and I mean ANY file.) MPT, for instance, can import .wavs or .mp3s, and probably a few others. But you can treat any file at all as a raw audio file. (That leads to some interesting sounds, btw) To find samples, you have some options:

1) Use samples you already have, which as an experienced musician, you probably have a collection
2) Download samples from a repository. (there are several links around here) Usually these are royalty free.
3) Draw your own, which can take a while depending on what sound you want (milkytracker and ft2 facilitate this)
4) Snarf samples from other peoples' modules. This is generally accepted, provided the author does not explicitly prohibit it and you credit the source in the module comments.

When it comes to composing, I'd suggest you decide what style or sound you're looking for and find some tracks in TMA in that style which are highly rated or which you like. The great thing about modules is that each one comes with its own DNA, so you can see how it's made. :) Just open them up in your tracker and play around.

Finally, start by composing some throwaway 4 channel modules just to keep it simple. Your first few tracks will probably not be good enough to go into a NDS game. :)

Good luck!
on't believe everything you read on the internets. -W
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