DJ Toucan's Guide to
FAST TRACKER 2 on Windows XP (and
Ok. For a few years, everyone has said that Fasttracker II will not run on XP. All the places I would post or talk about this issue have seem to been deleted or taken off the net. I put this page up for me and you to read only. Before you start to send me emails or any testing info keep these other things it mind.
1. First make sure you are using 2.08 and not 2.09beta as that is what I used for the following step by step for DOSBox (Maybe you can use 2.09 but not the beta? I forgot)
2. Download DOSbox - http://www.dosbox.com/ - Dosbox is one of the best DOS emulators out there! Below is a step by step guide on how to get FT2 to run on a computer with less CPU power (Ultrasound) or a newer computer P4 3Ghz system emulating the Sound Blaster settings. Before going into the guide below I must warn you about a problem both setups have that is very import to remember if you plan on making music with this way. The play back timing is slightly off by a very small amount of time (maybe it’s improved in the newer versions but I have yet to test). What you hear real time might not be what is what you will hear if you save your songs to a .WAV or .MOD or .XM. Please try to get a feel for this before you spend lots of time working on a song to make sure you won't have any disappointments... And now on to the guide...... 3
3. So now….with DOSbox
0.63 (0.72 for the 2008) you can use Fast Tracker 2 in XP and
DOSBox How? Sound Blaster - For fast computers
0. Make sure you have downloaded FT2 2.08 above and save it to you computer at C:\music\
1. Download DOSBox 0.63 (if you can find it, 0.72 is fine) and run the installer. By default it should install DOSBox to C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.63. Go to that folder...
2. Run DOSBox.exe.
3. A text prompt will appear. Type "Mount C C:\" (or whatever drive letter you want to be able to use in DOSBox)
4. Type "C:" into the DOS Box prompt. It should change from Z: to C: now...
5. Type in the path of where you have FT2.exe saved in.. I have mine in C:\Music\ so I type in to the DOSBox prompt "CD MUSIC"
6. It should say C:\music in the DOSBOx prompt. Now type "FT2" and Fast Tracker II should start.
7. You're in! But wait! There's more to do unless if you just want to play Nibbles!!.
8. Go to CONFIG (note do not press the Sound Blaster button for Output till last or else it will run slow! Change the settings by using the up and down arrows for the Sound Blaster settings to Port 220, IRQ 7, DMA 1, 16-bit DMA 5. Now go back toward the top left and select the Sound Blaster button.
7. Everything should be running fine when you go a load a .MOD or .XM. any sized file will play.
8. If it is playing back slow or if the sound is chopping up press CTRL-F12 to speed up DOSBox CPU emulation. If that doesn't help the choppy sound this might mean your computer is too slow and you should try the Ultrasound settings below starting from step #6.
Limitations of using the Sound
1. Emulation isn't prefect so it might even stutter on a good PC when you go to the Fast tracker File menu to open a new track.
2. All the samples aren’t in tune correctly so longer samples won't loop 100% on time and instruments will be slightly flat sounding (bass tones for example. I think this in the technical world would be stated as the frequency clock is off or something. I say is 99% correct right now.
3. Input via keyboard is about 500ms off. So if you want to jam live on some tracker drums or synth samples in FT2 this delay really kills it.
DOSBox How? Ultrasound - For slower computers with less CPU
0. Make sure you have downloaded FT2 2.08 above and save it to you computer at C:\music\
1. Download DOSBox 0.63 and run the installer. By default it should install DOSBox to C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.63. Go to that folder...
2. Run DOSBox.exe.
3. Type in where you have FT2.exe saved in.. I have mine in C:\Music\ so I type "CD MUSIC"
4. Type FT2
5. You're in! But wait! There's more to do unless if you just want to play Nibbles!!.
6. Go to CONFIG change output device by clicking on the button for Ultrasound
7. Load a .MOD or .XM and hit play!
8. If it playing back slow or if it like the sound is chopping up press CTRL-F12 to speed up DOSbox CPU emulation. If you came from the Sound Blaster set up make sure you turn down the CPU emulation by pressing Ctrl-F11. Then increase till cleaner playback. If that doesn't help something else is wrong and please email me.
Limitations of using Ultrasound
1. Songs(.MOD's or .XM's ) bigger than 1Mb or with long samples times WILL NOT PLAY correctly in DOSbox!!! The GUS sound card (aka in FT2 "Ultrasound") was a the holy grail of sound cards back in the day. But if you were like me and decided to ditch the card for a Sound Blaster you might have forgotten about that your samples had to be loaded into the GUS memory and not the computer! Ohh yeah.. Sooooo In DOSbox takes this into effect too!
2. Tracker timing is almost correct on but to me seems a tad off my 1/4 of a second or less. Nothing big but still not 100% on the tracker / sample looping timing.
3. Some random popping sounds get added to certain samples could be due to GUS emulation as increasing CPU does nothing to help. Tried changed mix rate from 22k to 44.1 in DOSBox config but no change. Interpolation and mixing in the FT2 settings don't fix it either.
4. Input via keyboard is about 500ms off. So if you want to jam on some drums or synth samples in FT2 this delay really kills it.
You might want to change the sample rate settings after you get everything running smooth in the DOSBOX.CONF file. Open it in notepad to edit all the settings. That's it have fun!
Fast Tracker 2.09b will work in DOSBox! If everything is running smooth go and download 2.09 and just overwrite the old 2.08 FT2.EXE file only so your old settings are there! I'll update the guide above once I can test it out better.
Read the other stuff below if you want to find another DOS Emulator that might work for you? I tired them but nothing as good as DOSbox. But do give them a try. I might have missed some settings or update. Good luck!
Other alternatives? (None worked when I tried years ago but maybe the do now?)
DOSGAMES. http://www.dosgames.com/xphints.php They have some tips on getting old games to run on XP. So you figure FT2 Would work too? Haven't tried anything on there but there was a link to this page. Still haven’t checked this out yet...
VDM Sound - A DOS XP sound driver emulation program. This seems like it might do the trick but I just tried it and just slows down to no sound and makes you have to quit as there is no sound period (windows xp alone gives you the nice noise sound on start up without this even installed!). DOS box looks like the best bet so far using the Ultrasound emulation.
Another DOS sound emulator program SoundFX 2000 http://www.softsystem.co.uk/page4.htm (quickly tried this one but didn't seem to do anything. Not sure how it works and how to uninstall it) Try it out only if you want but the other ones above seem better at installing and testing.
And finally. Microsoft offers a solution
too. Application Compatibility Toolkit 2.6 but there is a newer
version too 3.0 here(this didn't
help or do anything really to help but I'll leave it here just for the record)
I got another idea. Maybe try installing an older Sound Blasterd card in XP. Didn't try it but I know I'll forget too later. I have a bunch of old sound cards sitting in a bag just waiting to destroy my new XP machine....
Also to get Fast Tracker 2.08 download it here.Or 2.09 here. (Thanks Norbert for the link and Scenne.org for hosting it)
FAST TRACKER 2 programming language history
A few people have mailed me about FT2 and interested in porting FT2 or trying to get the original source from the original authors. While I would like this to happen as much as they would, I would ask that before anyone decides to bug the original FT2 creators for the thousandth time they research the original programming instruments that FT2 was written in to understand how much work you are going to have to put in to 1. Prove to the original authors you can do it and 2. prove that you can communicate in a proper programmer talk to the original authors that you can do it rather than just say something stupid like "give me your code". Asking for just "give me the source code" is not going to get you anything! Now read carefully and get ready to start goog'ling for a few days!
From the credits in Fast Tracker II the original programmers listed that FT2 was "programmed in BP7 and TASM".
BP7 is short for Borland Pascal 7.0 an integrated development environment related to Borlands TurboPascal but different. Please read this text overview on both here.
TASM is an assembler program called Turbo Assembler used to compile the BP7 code into working versions of FT2 into an EXE file for us to play with.
Also in the credits they state that "the source code is 62969 lines long" and "the source code is 2Mb large".
Again I strongly recommend do not to bug the original authors as said above and below but if you are going to please try to understand that porting FT2 over to XP is not going to be easy. If you feel confident enough in doing so give it a try but remember FT2 was last worked on in 1993! The chances of getting a workable source code from the authors is getting slimmer by the year. They might not even have it! So now what are you going to do? Cry? Call the police?... .... stop freaking out about the source code and stock up on old junky computers! Go door to door in your neighbor hood! I'm sure someone will give you some old junk computer they don't want for free! Wow free computer that runs FT2 perfectly vs. the months if not years of you studying BP7 and the original FT2 source code all to get it to run perfectly (Ha!) on XP(double ha!)!? By the time you are done with this task Windows XP will be obsolete and the next crappy OS will be out! Someone other FT2 newbie will be bugging weekly just like you did to the original authors of FT2, to update your XP FT2 hack to work in ________ OS.
Fast Tracker II version history
Most site don't list all the version history or FT2 specs. Here is the actual details from inside the Fast Tracker release notes
Fast Tracker 2.09b
is the last official release of FT2 ever!
What is new in...
- GUS-Interwave support. (by Tammo Hnrichs / KB)
- WAV-support bug fix.
- SB-settings made non-editable
- Copy/Paste/Resize pattern bugs fixed. (yes, really :) )
- New 32bit mixer for SB16
- MIDI for SB16
- Scale-fade volume function for track/patter/block.
(Sh/Ctrl/Alt + V)
- Sample editor shortcuts
- Copy/Paste pattern bug fixed.
- Harddisk recording.
- WAV-sample Load/Save.
- The 16-Bit sample
does not work on GUS-MAX
- (Not really a bug): The volume of SB-16 might be very low. Change the output gain to 9 with the SB16SET utility.
- The parallel port D/A is reported to have died. We have not been able to test it yet.
Brief list of features:
- 32 channels.
- 12-Point Volume- & Panning Envelope.
- Multisamples, up tp 16 samples/instruments.
- 128 instruments.
- 8 octaves.
- Variable pattern length.
- Built in sample/sample editor.
- Up to 256 patterns.
- Song length up to 256
- New volume/panning/vibrato column.
- Song editor.
- Full screen edit more.
- Improved editing facilities.
FT2 support the following file formats:
- Standard modules (15- >31-instuments). (MOD,NST)
- Fast Tracker v1.0 2,4,5,6..32-channel formats. (MOD)
- Scream Tracker modules. (STM.S3M)
- Gravis Ultrasound Patches, PAT.
- SMP/SAM/RAW/SND data files, signed and unsigned
- Amiga IFF-files. (Interchange File Format)
FT2 introduces several new files formats:
- XM Extended module.
- XI Extended instrument.
- XP Extended pattern.
- XT Extended track.
Other interesting technical info and things (like FT2 for Nintendo DS)
http://ufmod.sourceforge.net/ - A XM player based on the tech info from the link above.
http://nitrotracker.tobw.net/ - NitroTracker – “A Fasttracker II style tracker for the Nintendo DS” Oh yes! The description sounds so good before I even can try it! Oh and it is.. Update 2012 - I have been using this for when I travel. It has some of that FT2 soul in it. Too bad it is not fully complete (missing sample offset 9xx and Exx effects)and has bugs like BPM is off -/+ 1 for old .XM files made in FT2. Still very fun and best thing in years taht can get that FT2 feeling.
Send any help or testing results to my email
address on the main page.
Page last updated --- 09/07/12-
This page has nothing to do with the original people who worked on FastTracker or any other tracker programs like it out
there. Please don't bother the original creators of Fast Tracker II as I'm sure
they are sick and tired of getting emails on a program they made eons ago
that they get no money for. This guide was written by DJ Toucan here at
SOUNDMONSTER INDUSTRYS LTD. (C) 2004 Users may not copy and or paste this
information on to another FT2 guide with out giving me credit and a link back
to my site.
Page last updated --- 09/07/12- This page has nothing to do with the original people who worked on FastTracker or any other tracker programs like it out there. Please don't bother the original creators of Fast Tracker II as I'm sure they are sick and tired of getting emails on a program they made eons ago that they get no money for.
This guide was written by DJ Toucan here at SOUNDMONSTER INDUSTRYS LTD. (C) 2004 Users may not copy and or paste this information on to another FT2 guide with out giving me credit and a link back to my site.