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General Category => Applications => Topic started by: BSC on 23:54, 26 March 14

Title: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: BSC on 23:54, 26 March 14
Here's a short description on how the player basically works:

The instruments work quite differently from what you might know from other trackers. It had to be that way to have fast access to instrument data while still
offering quite flexible instruments. Not everything is possible yet, though, like AY noise (register 6 based) and hardware envelopes. I have a couple of ideas and
are also open to suggestions.

Well, the instrument are based on 4 tables. Each table modifies one characteristic of the sound. All numbers are signed 8 bit hex, so FF is -1, FE is -2 and so on. 80 is special because it means jump (see below). The tables are:
Each instrument is defined by 5 values (likely to grow in the future) which are the AY target register number (only relevant on the SID voice) and the 4 tables I just mentioned.
The target AY register number (e.g. 8, 9 or 10 for wave playback) is the one into which the values from the wave table (depending on the current wave form) will be written.
The other 4 values represent the start position into the offset, vibrato, wavefrm and volume tables respectively. When an instrument starts to play, those 4 values are used to initialize
the player which will then look up the actual values from each of the tables and advance to the next row after each frame. Unless there'a a jp (jump) command which will cause the
pointer into that table to jump to the row number that comes after the jp command. So to create a major chord arpeggio in the semi tone table (at position 20), you'd put the values
00 04 07 for the chord and 80 20 to jump back to position 20. This is how all the tables work and this table walking will be done for all 4 tables for each instrument, on each voice, each frame.
I think you will get the point when you disable AY playback and play (jam) around with some of the pre-defined SID instruments.. There's also currently no way to create new instruments.
You have to modify any of the existing ones.

The tracks consist of a (non fixed) number of rows representing a note to play. Each row consists of 3 (or 4 if you view note and octave to be distinct) columns representing
the note and octave (i.e. C#5 means a C sharp on octave 5), the duration of that note/row (sadly, also in hex, but there's manifold remedies possible) and the instrument number.
There are 2 kinds of special rows currently. SLD (tone slide) and END (of track), see below. The duration is counted in "ticks" or frames or roughly 1/50 second, so a note with
a length of 32 (which is the hex representation of 50) will last one second. The maximum (visible and editable) track length is currently hard-coded to 32 rows.

The sequences consist of a list of track numbers to play on each voice. And track number FF (which does or should not exist) means "end of sequence" and will cause that sequence
to jump to the beginning. There's currently no way to start from any point within a sequence other than 0, i.e. when starting playback the song will always play from the beginning.
It's not supposed to stay that way but it's not so easy to start from anywhere because tracks can be of different lengths, thus playing back from e.g. position 10 on all sequences
might yield funny and most likely unwanted results (unless all tracks on all voices are equally long).


Here's a short manual describing the keys of each mode in the tracker.

There are 4 modes: instrument params, instrument lists, track lists (sequence), track

General keys (in all modes)
Instrument params mode (top left):
Instrument list mode (below the instrument params):
Sequence mode:Track mode:
I will update this post whenever there's any relevant changes and I would also like to know if the description of how the instruments work is understandable and, if not,
what I could do to make it easier to grasp. Every time I said "currently" in this post implies that this is not meant to last for eternity and I either do already have ideas as
to how this can be extended, fixed, improved or am at least aware that it can't stay like this. But I am still open to suggestions, wishes etc.


So: please throw your thoughts at me!
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: BSC on 22:36, 24 April 14
please throw your thoughts at me!


Any thoughts to throw? I figure that the editing facilities are really fiddly and slow and all that,
but I think it's still worth to climb that learning curve..
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: arnoldemu on 11:24, 25 April 14
My thought is:

I wish I could put this into a demo or game right now. But I don't have anything ready for it just yet.
I will definitely use it.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: arnoldemu on 11:25, 25 April 14
Another thought:

Make a tune and submit it to a party like Revision ;)

Or does it require a standalone player for that rather than being played in a tracker?

Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: ralferoo on 14:31, 25 April 14
Make a tune and submit it to a party like Revision ;)
There was a SID-ish tune on the Speccy. It was nowhere near as nice as the sounds your program can make...
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: arnoldemu on 15:08, 25 April 14
@BSC (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=480): Another thought:

You have created a tracker which prooves SID sound is possible on a standard CPC. In fact, it's more than that, it's a SID-like sound but better because of the adjustable waveforms. And it's more than just a tune and a player, it's a full tracker so people can create tunes themselves. Not like a tech demo for example.

In the near future I want to make a standalone player for it and use it in a game. It will probably be on a title screen.





Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: BSC on 23:36, 25 April 14
I wish I could put this into a demo or game right now. But I don't have anything ready for it just yet.
I will definitely use it.


Good to hear! But no hurry, as it's still not complete anyway and the whole stand alone player thing is yet to do.

Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: BSC on 23:40, 25 April 14
Another thought:

Make a tune and submit it to a party like Revision ;)

Or does it require a standalone player for that rather than being played in a tracker?


AFAIK the Revision compo was called "Oldschool executable", but it shouldn't be too hard to create an executable
from the current tracker (they won't show the screen anyway). But I am not a composer, just a converter / cover guy.
Real talented guys like McKlain or UltraSyd would have to do that.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: BSC on 23:45, 25 April 14
@BSC (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=480): Another thought:

You have created a tracker which prooves SID sound is possible on a standard CPC. In fact, it's more than that, it's a SID-like sound but better because of the adjustable waveforms. And it's more than just a tune and a player, it's a full tracker so people can create tunes themselves. Not like a tech demo for example.

In the near future I want to make a standalone player for it and use it in a game. It will probably be on a title screen.


Thanks for your kind words, but I have to disagree on the completeness: Right now it's actually more of a tech demo and less of a full tracker.
Most of the work that's still missing is already thought through, but it has yet to be coded :) And the file format is also not yet defined because
some of the memory related things are still undecided. I think I should create some issues on github to cover all the open things.





Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: Overflow on 19:43, 08 May 14

Any thoughts to throw?
Ok, let´s throw some thoughts! (or rather: write again but for everyone on the forum)


About the tracker, can't comment anything except that composers are required. For motivation or to go on designing the tool, you need some end-users using the tool. Or/unless: see next point, turn it into a tech demo.


About the core/engine itself: if there isn't any wish from end-users/composers, you could go on to get a fully usable player as a tech demo. Two main paths:


1) The first path is to emphasize on the sound only, i.e. designing your own music-disk, and adding some fancy fx during the songs. I may be someone to help you with optimizing the sid-engine and adding some constant-time fx. Not now and not soon, since I'm working on my own work first and exclusively. Then? we'll see.


2) The second path is demo-fx-oriented: let´s say a famous and talented coder wishes to integrate your sid-engine in his top-notch demo yet to be released. Great for motivation on the 2 sides. Many difficulties to solve, which includes synchronizing the screens and the songs so that sid-voices are switched on and off during all the demo (to allow heavy precalculation or trackloading or big fx which are not compatible with the sid-engine). Definitely not for me, the challenge is too high for a retired coder without ambition; better have a look towards the young generation.


About the tech-demo and/or the sid-player: it has been years since some people work on such idea. See also New release of Sid player (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/demos/new-release-of-sid-player/msg69361/#msg69361)
There are also (10 years?) old rumours about Madram working on a numerous channels sid-engine. I would suggest you contact him since he's back, to know a bit about his old work. We are all of the same family, you should try to ask.


As an another extreme path to follow, there's something which could please the end-users/composers: change your mind and modify your tracker so that it is ctc-ay compatible. For composers: 6 channels! For you coder: much more easier way to out to the 2 ay-chips.


That's all!
Oliverflow



Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: BSC on 23:50, 24 May 14
About the core/engine itself: if there isn't any wish from end-users/composers, you could go on to get a fully usable player as a tech demo.

I think I am stuck in a chicken-and-egg-question like situation: The engine itself is actually ready to be used as a (basic) player. But there are a couple of unsolved issues (see BetaSoftCologne/AYAY · GitHub (https://github.com/BetaSoftCologne/AYAY)) in the tracker which also affect the player and which currently render the tracker almost unusable for ppl other than me. If those things are not in the tracker, there's no sense in having them in the player. And if they are in the tracker then I have to do all the additional work to make a "compiler" or something which yields a player that can make use of all the new things in the tracker. And I think there should be input from other composers before I go on coding. So far I only got McKlain to speak his mind. It was quite valuable but I bet there's more ...

1) The first path is to emphasize on the sound only, i.e. designing your own music-disk, and adding some fancy fx during the songs. I may be someone to help you with optimizing the sid-engine and adding some constant-time fx. Not now and not soon, since I'm working on my own work first and exclusively. Then? we'll see.

Yes, that's the most likely path right now.. And I guess I will be ready to continue on the tracker when you are done on your own work ;-)

2) The second path is demo-fx-oriented: let´s say a famous and talented coder wishes to integrate your sid-engine in his top-notch demo yet to be released. Great for motivation on the 2 sides. Many difficulties to solve, which includes synchronizing the screens and the songs so that sid-voices are switched on and off during all the demo (to allow heavy precalculation or trackloading or big fx which are not compatible with the sid-engine). Definitely not for me, the challenge is too high for a retired coder without ambition; better have a look towards the young generation.

You are right. That's going to be tough and only extremely talented coders will be able to deliver. Too bad we don't have those kind of coders currently ;-) And I am also intensely gazing at the young generation (and into the direction of Rhino :D )

About the tech-demo and/or the sid-player: it has been years since some people work on such idea. See also New release of Sid player (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/demos/new-release-of-sid-player/msg69361/#msg69361)
There are also (10 years?) old rumours about Madram working on a numerous channels sid-engine. I would suggest you contact him since he's back, to know a bit about his old work. We are all of the same family, you should try to ask.

But the SID player from this Thomson guy is very different. It's very impressive and I like that someone made it but it doesn't allow you to have SID voices on the CPC.

I know about Madrams engine and I also contacted him on PnP, but he seems to be extremely busy (or offline or not interested or switched to Amiga) and hasn't replied yet. Family *sigh*

As an another extreme path to follow, there's something which could please the end-users/composers: change your mind and modify your tracker so that it is ctc-ay compatible. For composers: 6 channels! For you coder: much more easier way to out to the 2 ay-chips.

That might be something I'll do for the sheer fun of it in a very very far away future (or much much earlier in case Professor Farnsworth finally invents the day-prolonging-machine). Apart from that I think this will result in an even more exotic tracker and given the sparse amount of active composers on the CPC and the fact that anyone wanting to make music on 6 channels PLUS anyone wanting to listen to it would need that device: even to me that sounds too twisted right now.

So, as it seems, I am still on my own with this thing and will be for the rest of the year (I bet). And I am also very busy with a lot of other things atm. But - I tell you! - 2015 will be the year of the Kaeppttn!
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: Overflow on 00:41, 25 May 14
@BSC (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=480): I believe we wrote down all the content of our last mails. :)

Quote from: BSC
(...) And I guess I will be ready to continue on the tracker when you are done on your own work ;-)
I should be busy until Easter next year... ->
Quote from: BSC
(...) So, as it seems, I am still on my own with this thing and will be for the rest of the year (I bet).
-> ... so your bet might be a win.

Quote from: BSC
I know about Madrams engine and I also contacted him on PnP, but he seems to be extremely busy (or offline or not interested or switched to Amiga) and hasn't replied yet.
Or eventually finalizing his SID-player with Shap ;D which could explain no answer.

For all those points, waiting 'til next year is wise imho.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 01:55, 01 May 16
I'd like to work on AyAy Kaeppttn with August (OvL! summer of code), so let me share some ideas for the potential users to comment/improve.

Tables, tables everywhere !

Key points: simplicity, flexibility, powerility.

Let's start with arpeggio example. Starkos's lack of arpeggio tables is clearly a PITA. But it's also nice to be able to set arpeggios in the instrument itself. My take for this later point: use the same principle in the instrument editor than in pattern editor. I.e. enable a custom arpeggio via an 'arpeggio command' followed by the table number.

Actually, the instrument editor would share most of effects with pattern editor. We could see an instrument as a "macro" combining the activations of several effects.

Another example. If we want to change noise table inside the pattern itself, instead a special hack command (C in Soundtrakker, if I recall well), both in pattern and instrument we would use the same command to use a dedicated noise table.

* Advantage 1: best of both worlds.
* Advantage 2: the loop period for each table is independent.
* Optimization-wise (replay code), it's mixed. We had to handle more pointers. But when the effect stops (or if it's not used at all), we can save the whole operation (instead of processing a zero-filled sequence). Anyway it doesn't matter much, replaying can be optimized while 'compiling' the module, or by using an AYC-like stream.

To be continued.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 02:52, 02 May 16
Sequencer and tracks/phrases.

Key points: uniformity, flexibility, relativity.

I like the idea of tracks in Starkos and phrases in LSDJ.
Let's use the later naming, and add a custom touch.
A phrase is typically where you enter notes and effects. The speed at which each row "scrolls" is determined by the so-called (in Soundtrakker) delay. One nice idea in LSDJ is the ability to use an alternating delay (eg 5 for even rows, 7 for odd ones). In any case, it would be great to be able to change this delay phrase-wise.
At the end of the phrase, a flag would indicate auto-looping or not.

Ok, looping is pretty dumb. Often, we want some variations, and/or interleave new stuff. I'll address these points in a few moment.

In the sequencer, we poke phrase numbers. But for full generality, we may trigger them at any time. E.g. :


 0.00.0   0    1    2
 0.64.0             3
 0.96.0   4         5


In this example, if phrase 0 is 128 rows long, it will be cut at timestep 0.96.0 to be replaced by phrase 4. Phrase 1 may be 32 rows long and loop, etc.

A cool thing would be to enter commands in the sequencer just like in phrases. So you can trigger volume change, vibrato, transposition, etc in an uniform way.


Actually I see two ways to achieve that.
1/ By re-triggering the phrase (0 here) one tick later.


 0.00.0    0    1     
 0.00.1              0


2/ With a special command (delaying following notes)


 0.00.0    0    1     0 SD1

I've suggested to BSC the ability to leave instrument undefined, so we've just have to set it in the sequencer.
Of course, this doesn't apply when instruments are interleaved in one phrase. But for both this concern and the ability to add other variations on a repeated phrase, I have discovered a truly remarkable solution which this forum box is too small to contain.

Next time, I'd like to discuss to a way to insert a triplet (terzina) without messing with delay.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 22:15, 02 May 16
Dumping my thoughts, part 6.

I think Soundtracker and/or Starkos import is almost mandatory to have! To reshap(e) old unused modules, and to compose easily until AyAy catches up.

[Technical detail] Handling periods on 16 bits instead of 12 would allow finer control of vibrato/portamento. The player may add e.g. 0.625 each tick at very little cost.
Also, SID effect can take advantage of this greater precision. The resolution remains poor (64µs vs 8µs) but for high notes the average period will be closer to real period.
Maybe 14 or 15 bits is a good compromise.

[Technical detail 2] Linked "lists" are a neat way to manage tables, both for player (nothing special to do to handle looping. That's what Targhan -being a neat boy- does in its player) and for editor, allowing quick table updates (insertion and deletion).

Once again, in my book, memory/CPU consumption are not an issue in the editor. I would rather sacrifice them for gained features.

Which leads us to the following request: live editing of an instrument/table while a section is playing.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 09:03, 17 June 16
Effects applied to effects.

Key points : joy, power, meta.

Some FX come with parameter updatable at each tick. E.g. an enhanced 'SID' effect would allow to manually control duty cycle (from 0: 0% to 255: 100%). But filling a table of such parameter is tedious. So, we should allow to apply an 'effect' (vibrato, slide) to the parameter itself.
NB : since we define a vibrato by its speed and amplitude, the center of the range should be set independently. E.g. for [50;100] vibrato range, set base value to 75 beforehand.
By default, Vibrato/slide effects are applied to note's period. I don't see yet the best way to link them to an arbitrary parameter.
 
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 23:20, 17 June 16
TODO

So I plan to update AYAY's UI by using this set of routines : SongInterface - ORGAMS (http://orgams.wikidot.com/songinterface)

Then there are these routines to code. It might be tricky depending on how much the data structure is adapted to fit the suggested views.
On the other hand, I can also adapt things on my side, given solid arguments !

Anyone willing to participate ? Ask not what Kaeppttn can do for you, ask what you can do for Kaeppttn.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: HAL 6128 on 16:26, 19 June 16
How can we support?
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 20:03, 20 June 16
Glad you asked !

There are four modules which can be worked on independently :
1/ The UI, using the routines described in link above (aka 'song interface').
2/ .128 to AYAY converter, using this same set of routines.
3/ The code of the routine themselves, modifying the song data.
4/ The player, based on song data.

BSC is more likely to work on 4, but I don't know if he is still in town.

For now, song data don't quite fit the table-based structure I've suggested.
The first step is either to agree on the 'song interface' or to propose something better/closer to existing structure (but my take is to make it easier for the user, not for the coder).
Then, anyone can work on 1/ and 2/.

We must also choose whether we modify the way the song is encoded (cf BSC's 1st message in this thread). Doing so would make 3/ trivial but require to work on 4/.
The other option amounts for 3/ to do on the fly translation in both ways.

About the UI, I wish to make it data controlled, i.e. a generic engine and tables to describe screen display and interactions.
But some parts may still be done separatly (e.g. X-MASS compatible file selector).

Reminder, current source code is here: GitHub - BetaSoftCologne/AYAY: AYAY Kaeppttn! The ultimate tracker for your (https://github.com/BetaSoftCologne/AYAY)
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: roudoudou on 10:45, 21 June 16
About the UI, I wish to make it data controlled, i.e. a generic engine and tables to describe screen display and interactions.
But some parts may still be done separatly (e.g. X-MASS compatible file selector).


Is there anything started? Specifications? Requirements?


A flexible UI may be reused for any other project. This should be a separate project.







Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 20:29, 21 June 16
[Edit : updated requirements]

No spec yet, except for field editor (in french) : http://orgams.wikidot.com/notes#toc0 (http://orgams.wikidot.com/notes#toc0)

Requirements :
   * All UI description (layout, keymap, etc...) must be data driven (declarative mini-language with simple operators).
   * System friendly (don't use EXX / EX AF)
   * All-terrain (mustn't use firmware). We may use firmware key manager in first version.
   * Done on CPC if I must be involved in the code. (Orgams has text import/export).
   * Screen-size agnostic (i.e. can be overscan or other custom format)
   * Textmode based for maximum efficiency.
   * But open for mixed mode (sprites, pixel-precise placement, proportional fonts)
   * Can handle mix of 1 to 4 bytes-wide fonts in any mode.
 

My take is to iteratively replace AYAY's code, starting by pattern editor, by an increasingly capable UI engine.

Orgams already contains some helper routines (fast text display, decimal display, ...).
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: TFM on 20:43, 21 June 16
BTW: Sorry for getting off-topic, but since some homepages closed: Where can I get the last version of Orgams?

Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 21:23, 21 June 16
Last beta here : http://orgams.wikidot.com/local--files/working/orgams-160526-Codigo-Con-CPC-betai.hfe (http://orgams.wikidot.com/local--files/working/orgams-160526-Codigo-Con-CPC-betai.hfe)
Release notes near the top of Working - ORGAMS (http://orgams.wikidot.com/working)

You can now burn Orgedit.rom in any firmware-visible slot, and the others at any place.
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: TFM on 23:20, 21 June 16
Thanks! Awesome!  :) :) :)
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 09:10, 24 June 16
Oh! Another advantages to be able to use an arpeggio table from the instrument or the phrase itself:
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 23:44, 24 June 16
Starkos to AYAY

I was reflecting about the best way to translate in AYAY some nice Starkos features such as 'shift' column for hard envs.

It is "effect applied to effect" all over again : we have a parameter (hard env period) we wish to modify in some way.
So, we would have a common scheme :

Hard env table


Type  Period  Fx
----  ------  ------
8     auto    arp=48


would mean base note taken +48 semi-tones corresponding to "shift 3 (octaves)".
NB: It's more powerful to tranpose than to shift, since me may use fifth or whatever. About the "=48" notation, see below.

Sid table


Period  Fx      Duty  Fx
------  ------  ----  ------
auto    -       128   v10,20


would apply a "vibrato" to the duty parameter.
If we want to introduce dephasing between PSG period and SID period, we could add +n to SID's period via SID's period fx, or add +1 on base period after the SID command is applied.
On the contrary, if we want a synchronized vibrato, we would use the vibrato on the instrument itself before the SID command.


The Importance of Being Constant

Ok it's powerful and homogeneous to use table everywhere, but also slightly inconvenient for constant parameter. So we may introduce helper notations :
Title: Re: AYAY Kaeppttn (aka SID tracker) manual
Post by: madram on 13:17, 25 June 16

Is there anything started? Specifications? Requirements?


Early draft / food for thoughts / you name it : UiSpecifications - ORGAMS (http://orgams.wikidot.com/uispecifications)