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VividTracker v1.3 has been released on App Store

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Version 1.3 is now available on App Store. It comes with the new AutoChord Keyboard feature I have talked about before. This is an amazing new feature that adapts the keys to only show the pentatonic scale for the current AutoChord. The last key (blue colour) will show the current chord. This makes it super easy to
write music that goes in harmony with the current chord. You turn on AutoChord Keys by pressing the ACK-button on Screen 6. Only the first two tracks control the AutoChord Keys.

VividTracker v1.2 is now on App Store

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

VividTracker v 1.2 is finally on App Store, with much better bluetooth keyboard and much better (hopefully 100%) compatibility with Protracker mods. If you find any bugs or if you find that a specific Protracker module does not work in VividTracker, please write to me: vividtracker@gmail.com

I will now continue to work on the AutoChord Keyboard feature. I have already some experimental code that actually works. Put simply, it’s a feature that let you play different scales on the keyboard by removing keys you don’t use and it adapts to the latest AutoChord being played (if you are using effect 8). This is very cool indeed. For instance, let’s say you play A-minor. In the experimental version, the AutoChord keyboard will then set the keys to the A-minor Pentatonic scale, which includes only the keys A, C, D, E, and G. Anyway, that is for version 1.3, but I have come pretty far with this and it makes tracking so much easier.

Happy music tracking!

Bluetooth keyboard performance

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I noticed today that there’s a huge difference in bluetooth keyboard performance between my old iPad 3 and my new iPhone 6 Plus. My new iPhone is much more responsive than my old iPad. In fact, bt keyboard in VividTracker is almost useless on my iPad. The latency time is horrible and it sometimes even drops keypresses if I press too quickly. Perhaps there’s some optimisations that can be done in the actual code, but I doubt it. You hopefully have a newer iOS device than my old iPad, which means this may not be a problem for you. However, I just want everyone to be aware of this.

AutoChord + Pentatonic scale = AutoChord Keyboard

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Coming in v1.3. That is all I have to say right now, but keep reading this blog for more information. :)

Korg Volca Sample

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

I have been looking at the Korg Volca series for some time now, but I have totally missed that they have come out with a new Volca called Volca Sample. This is a cheap sampler and step sequencer in one product, but it cannot actually sample sounds itself. Instead, it relies on an iPhone or iPad with Korg’s AudioPocket app, which can transfer wav-samples from iOS to the sequencer digitally (it is done through the audio output on the iPhone/iPad, but the signal is digitally encoded like an old modem).

Now, the coolest thing with this is that Korg has actually released an SDK so that developers can add support to transfer samples from their apps to Volca Sample. This means it’s possible to add support for Volca Sample inside VividTracker. You would then be able to send samples from various Amiga mods to Korg Volca Sample. My idea is to implement this SDK and also implement MIDI out, which would allow you to also play the samples on the Korg Volca Sample (or any other device) from VividTracker. Still limited to four channels though, since VividTracker will always remain to be a pure Protracker clone.

 

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VividTracker v1.2 has been submitted to App Store

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Yes! The new version is finally finished and submitted to App Store. Here is what is new:

  • Effects E6x and Bxx have been fixed so that mods like black_queen.mod finally works!
  • Two buttons are added on screen 6: INS and DEL. INS inserts an extra row at the row where you are standing for the selected track, DEL deletes the current row.
  • Great BT Keyboard support
    • Arrow keys: You can now press and hold the arrow keys and the cursor will continue to move until you release the button!
    • You can edit notes, sample number and effects with the keyboard (as it should be).
    • Press § or <CTRL>-1 to transpose the keyboard one octave down.
    • Press ESC or <CTRL>-2 to transpose the keyboard one octave up.
    • Press <SHIFT>-6 to <SHIFT>-0 to jump to positions 0, 16, 32, 48, 63 (just like in Protracker, where you use F6-F10).
    • Press <ALT>-6 to <ALT>-0 to jump to positions 0, 16, 32, 48, 63 and play the pattern from this location.
    • Press <SHIFT>-6 to <SHIFT>-0 to reprogram the positions to other rows (given the row where you are currently standing).
    • Cut, copy and paste track by pressing <SHIFT>-3, <SHIFT>-4 and <SHIFT>-5.
    • Cut, copy and paste pattern by pressing <ALT>-3, <ALT>-4 and <ALT>-5.
    • Block mark, cut, copy, and paste by pressing <CTRL>-b (or <CTRL>-m) for block mark, <CTRL>-x for cut, <CTRL>-c for copy, and <CTRL>-f or <CTRL>-v for paste.
    • Insert row (and push down the other rows) in track by pressing <SHIFT>-ENTER. This is the same functionality as the INS button on screen 6.
    • Delete row (and move up the other rows) in track by pressing <SHIFT>-BACKSPACE. This is the same functionality as the DEL button on screen 6.
    • Clear note and effect parameters at the current row by pressing BACKSPACE (same as CLEAR on screen 1).
    • SPACE plays pattern, <CTRL>-SPACE plays song and <ALT>-SPACE toggles EDIT. This is a little bit different from Protracker, where SPACE alone toggles EDIT.
    • <SHIFT>-ARROW LEFT/RIGHT decreases/increases song position
    • <CTRL>-ARROW LEFT/RIGHT decreases/increases sample
    • <ALT>-ARROW LEFT/RIGHT decreases/increases pattern for the current song position
    • <ALT>-ARROW UP/DOWN inserts or deletes a pattern at the current position. This is the same as the I and D buttons on screen 1.
    • <ALT>-z/x/c/v mutes/unmutes channels 1 to 4.
    • <ALT>-q unmutes all channels
    • <CTRL>-s decreases STEPS on screen 1.
    • <ALT>-s increases STEPS on screen 1.

I tried my best to aim for the same shortcuts as in Protracker, but I had to make some exceptions because the keyboards do not work the same. For instance, I cannot capture if the F-keys are being pressed. Nor can I capture if the ALT-key has been pressed alone. The right ALT-key is used in Protracker to play song. Right Amiga-button is used to play pattern. I decided to use SPACE to play pattern instead. SPACE is used in Protracker to toggle the EDIT-button, but in VividTracker you will have to press <ALT>-SPACE instead. I wanted a single button to start playing a pattern and SPACE was the best option I could find.

With all these shortcuts, you will be able to control quite much from the keyboard without having to touch the screen. I know many of you have asked for this and I truly hope you will find the new keyboard support useful!

BT keyboard (again)

Posted by on Jan 24, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The BT keyboard support in the current version (v1.1) is CRAP. Strange that nobody noticed how bad it is. Sure, you can use the keys on the keyboard to play, but you cannot use them for editing anything else but the first track (TRACK #1). You can’t even use it for editing anything else but notes (e.g. effects). Totally useless!

The good thing is that BT keyboard support in v1.2 is going to be AWESOME! This is what I got so far:

1. Arrow keys: You can press an arrow key and hold it down, and the cursor will continue to move.
2. You can edit notes, sample number and effects with the keyboard. And yes, it works on any track
3. Pressing ESC or <CTRL>-2 increases the keyboard one octave
4. Pressing § or <CTRL>-1 decreases the keyboard one octave
5. Pressing <CTRL>-6 to <CTRL>-0 is the same as F6-F10 in Protracker, which is “jump to position 0,16,32,48,63 of pattern”
6. Pressing <SHIFT>-6 to <SHIFT->0 reprogram the keys to the current position, just like in Protracker
7. Pressing <ALT>-6 to <ALT>-0 jumps to position and plays pattern
8. Cut, copy, paste track or pattern using keys 3, 4, 5 in combination with SHIFT , ALT, CONTROL
9. Block mark/cut/copy/paste using CTRL+B/X/C/F
10. Insert row in track by pressing <SHIFT>-ENTER
11. Delete row in track by pressing <SHIFT>-BACKSPACE
12. Clear note in track by pressing BACKSPACE

I think I got it all. These are the most important shortcuts as I see it. I will now wrap this up and send the new version to App Store, which besides this really nice update to the BT keyboard support also contains some bug fixes regarding playback of some modules.

BT keyboard progress

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

I have come a bit further with making the BT keyboard support better. Much better, actually. Now, it’s possible to hold down the arrow keys to make the cursor continue to move, instead of having to press e.g. the down arrow button multiple times just to move a few rows down. It took a bit of time to investigate how it could be implemented, because there’s no description to be found on how to do it and developers seem to think it’s not possible. :) This was a game change, at least for me, because it makes the BT keyboard so much more useful.

The other two things I’ve implemented so far is a) change octave, and b) jump to positions 0, 16, 32, 48, and 63.

Let’s start with describing the change octave feature. In Protracker, this is done by pressing F1 and F2. However, we cannot use F-keys, so it has to be solved in another way. The keys § and 1 are not used for anything and they are located at a nice location for this. Thus, § means “go down one octave” and 1 means “go up one octave”. Now, the nice feature with VividTracker is that when you go above the highest note you can play in Protracker, the keyboard starts to act as a drum pad, in which different keys plays different samples. It’s a really nice feature to quickly lay down a drum pattern. You can actually reach all the samples from the keyboard this way, by increasing the octave one or two times from the default.

The “jump to position” is done with F6-F10 in Protracker. Again, since we cannot use the F-keys in iOS, I have chosen that you need to press <CTRL>-6 to <CTRL>-0 to get the same functionality. This works just fine, but I might want to move them to <CTRL>-1 to <CTRL>-5 instead. It makes sense to have it as F6 to F10 on an Amiga, due to the layout, but I find it difficult to quickly find the <CTRL>-6 key combo on the Apple keyboard. <CTRL>-1 is much easier.

Anyway, there are a few more keyboard features I would like to add before submitting to App Store, but I don’t think I will get every single keyboard shortcut in the next version of VividTracker (but I will continue to add more shortcuts in future versions). So I need to ask you: Are there any specific keyboard shortcuts you think I need to add to v1.2? I think the copy/paste of tracks and patterns are pretty useful, as well as insert and delete notesteps, so I’m considering adding them for v1.2.

I’m hoping to submit really soon! 😀

 

black queen.mod and similar mods are finally working! (Support coming in v1.2)

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Finally! I got black queen.mod working properly in VividTracker. This module is more beautiful to your eyes than to your ears, but from that perspective it’s truly a masterpiece. According to a comment in modarchive, this module is recommended for anyone making a mod player:

http://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=89637

The problem was related to how VividTracker interpret the E6x command and the Bxx commands. These work properly now. I had to listen to black queen in both Protracker on my Amiga 1200 and in VividTracker at the same time (synced manually by pressing PLAY in both trackers at the same time). They were perfectly in sync throughout the whole module.

Related modules that are also using E6x and Bxx commands, like pattern skank.mod by h0ffman (which won the tracked music competition at Revision 2013), are also working properly now. Besides fixing the issues with E6x and Bxx, I also needed to fix an issue with the 9xx effect command, which is now working exactly like in Protracker.

Now I can get back to implement better bluetooth keyboard support (with shortcuts). Given the time it takes to update an app on App Store (review time is currently around 11 days), I think it’s worth working a few days on this before I submit v1.2 to App Store. More about the new features in v1.2 in the next post.

One year anniversary and future plans

Posted by on Dec 28, 2014 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Time flies and it’s hard to believe that it was about a year ago I revealed my plans of releasing the first (and still only) Amiga music tracker on App Store! The original plan was to release it in January 2014, but I had to resubmit it twice to App Store before it could finally be released in February. Since then, I’ve released v1.1 with rudiment support for bluetooth keyboard. My next release will contain better bluetooth keyboard support (with shortcuts) and some bug fixes (mainly issues with playback for some modules).

Most questions I get from users are not related to more features in VividTracker, but rather if I could make another modern tracker for iOS not limited to four channels and eight bit samples. I do have such plans, but haven’t started to work on anything yet. One idea would be to release a pure MIDI-tracker, which can send MIDI-commands to other apps and get back audio through AudioBus. This tracker would not contain any sounds of its own, but rather just be a MIDI-sequencer that controls other synthesisers apps. Another idea is to build a pure XM-tracker. I might just do both as two separate apps.

What do you think? What kind of features would you like in a modern tracker for iOS?