Bluetooth keyboard performance

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...

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AutoChord + Pentatonic scale = AutoChord Keyboard

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

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Korg Volca Sample

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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BT keyboard (again)

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...

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BT keyboard progress

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! 😀...

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One year anniversary and future plans

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...

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