Fasttracker II clone - Le Bottin des Jeux Linux

Fasttracker II clone

🗃️ Specifications

📰 Title: Fasttracker II clone 🕹️ / 🛠️ Type: Tool
🗃️ Genre: Development 🚦 Status:
🏷️ Category: Development ➤ Musical composition ➤ Tracker 🍥️ Name: fasttracker2
🔖 Tags: Development; Audio Production; Musical Composition; Sequencer; Tracker; Chiptune 📦️ Arch:
🐣️ Approx. start: 🍥️ On Deb repo: ✓
🐤️ Latest: 2019-04-10 📦️ Deb: ✓
📍️ Version: Latest : Beta #148 📦️ RPM:
🏛️ License type: FOSS/Libre 📦️ AppImage:
🏛️ License: BSD 3-Clause 📦️ Snap:
🏝️ Perspective: Third person 📦️ Flatpak:
👁️ Visual: 2D ⚙️ Generic bin.: ✓
⏱️ Pacing: Real Time 📄️ Source: ✓
👫️ Played: Single 🌍️ Browser-based:
🎖️ This record: 5 stars 📱️ PDA support:
🎖️ Game design: 5 stars 👫️ Contrib.: Goupil & Louis
🎰️ ID: 15522 🐛️ Created: 2019-01-13
🐜️ Updated: 2021-02-27

📖️ Summary

[fr]: Un clone libre et multi-plateforme du tracker éponyme (version 2 publiée en 1994, à l'origine en Pascal, par le groupe de demo Triton), un séquenceur musical populaire sur la scène de la démo (à l'origine du format de fichier XM) initialement développé pour les compatibles PC (équipés de cartes sonores Sound Blaster et Gravis Ultrasound). L'objectif est de reproduire son fonctionnement tout en lui ajoutant des fonctionnalités et corrections. Il lit aussi les fichiers MOD standards à 4 canaux, et les fichiers étendus à 6 ou 8 canaux. [en]: A libre and multi-platform clone of the eponymous tracker (version 2 published in 1994, originally in Pascal, by the demogroup Triton), a popular musical sequencer (at the origin of the XM file format) on the demo scene, originally developed for PC-compatible (equipped with Sound Blaster and Gravis Ultrasound sound cards). The goal is to reproduce its operation while adding features and corrections. It also plays standard 4-channel MOD files, and extended files with 6 or 8 channels.

🎥️ Videos

🎮️ Quelques exemples / Some examples (Showcase) :

🕸️ Links

🏡️ Website & videos
[Homepage] [Dev site] [Features/About] [Screenshots] [Videos t(202xxx) ts(202xxx) gd(202xxx) id(202xxx) r(202xxx) lp(202xxx) d(202xxx) d(202xxx) d(202xxx) d(202xxx) d(202xxx) g(202xxx) g[fr](202xxx) g[de](202xxx) g[ru](202xxx) g[pl](202xxx) g[cz](202xxx) g[sp](202xxx) g[pt](202xxx) g[it](202xxx) g[tr](202xxx)] [WIKI] [FAQ] [RSS] [Changelog 1 2]

💵 Commercial : [Support their work (Donate)]

🍩️ Resources
• Collections of music modules (for testing Klystrack) : [The Mod Archive] []
🛠️ Technical informations
[Open Hub] [PCGamingWiki] [MobyGames]

🐘 Social
Devs (Olav Sørensen (8bitbubsy) [fr] [en]) : [Site 1 2] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube] [Interview 1 2]
Devs (Triton (Fredrik "Mr. H" Huss and Magnus "Vogue" Högdahl) [fr] [en]) : [Site 1 2] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube] [Interview 1 2]
Game : [Blog] [Forums] [mastodon] [twitter] [PeerTube] [YouTube]

🐝️ Related
[Wikipedia (FastTracker 2) [fr] [en] [de]]
[Debian] (Warning : no Linux support by the author) [GeekZone [fr]] [cdm]

🕵️ Reviews

📰 News / Source of this Entry (SotE) / News (SotN)
[Changes with v. Beta #148 (20190410)] [fasttracker2 on Debian (20190215) (SotN)]

📕 Description [fr]

Un clone libre et multi-plateforme du tracker éponyme, par Olav Sørensen (8bitbubsy), logiciel initial par le groupe de demo Triton (Fredrik "Mr. H" Huss and Magnus "Vogue" Högdahl).
En C.

Fasttracker II clone est un clone libre et multi-plateforme du tracker éponyme (version 2 publiée en 1994, à l'origine en Pascal, par le groupe de demo Triton), un séquenceur musical populaire sur la scène de la démo (à l'origine du format de fichier XM) initialement développé pour les compatibles PC (équipés de cartes sonores Sound Blaster et Gravis Ultrasound). L'objectif est de reproduire son fonctionnement tout en lui ajoutant des fonctionnalités et corrections. Il lit aussi les fichiers MOD standards à 4 canaux, et les fichiers étendus à 6 ou 8 canaux.

Utilisé par ces jeux / Used by these games : Frozen Bubble, Pathological,

J'écris actuellement un clone portable Fasttracker II en C avec SDL 2.
Qu'est-ce que Fasttracker II ? Lisez à ce sujet Wikipedia.

Ce clone est destiné aux ordinateurs dotés d'un processeur graphique et d'un processeur modernes (aux alentours de 2007 ou plus récent recommandé).
Il est également conçu pour des fréquences de rafraîchissement du moniteur de 60Hz, afin qu'il puisse être réactif si vous êtes sous / au-dessus de 60Hz.

🌍️ Wikipedia:

FastTracker (également orthographié Fasttracker et abrégé en FT1) est un tracker, un séquenceur musical créé par des membres du groupe de demo Triton au début des années 1990. Une version ultérieure, nommée FastTracker II (abrégée en FT2) et publiée en 1994, rencontre un grand succès dans la scène démo de l'époque.


En 1993, Triton publie FastTracker, un tracker compatible avec les cartes sonores Sound Blaster et Gravis Ultrasound , les plus populaires sur compatibles PC à l'époque. Le logiciel est un simple exécutable DOS de 44 ko. Au cours de l'année 1994, les musiciens de Triton publient des musiques dans un nouveau format, XM, accompagnées d'un lecteur dédié. En novembre 1994, FastTracker II est publié.

À l'époque, les logiciels concurrents sont Scream Tracker, puis plus tard Impulse Tracker. La dernière version officielle de FastTracker II, la 2.08, date d'août 1997, bien qu'une version béta 2.09 ait filtré en 1999. Le 23 mai 1999, Starbreeze Studios (compagnie fondée par plusieurs anciens membres de Triton) annonce sur son site que le développement de FastTracker II est arrêté.


FastTracker II est capable de lire les fichiers MOD standards à quatre canaux, originaires d'Ultimate Soundtracker, sur Amiga, ainsi que les fichiers étendus de six ou huit canaux. Il n'est compatible qu'avec les cartes sonores Sound Blaster ou Gravis Ultrasound.

FastTracker II introduit également le format XM.

📕 Description [en]

I'm currently writing a portable Fasttracker II clone in C using SDL 2.
What is Fasttracker II? Read about it on Wikipedia.

This clone is meant for computers with a modern GPU and CPU (about 2007 or newer recommended).
It's also designed for 60Hz monitor refresh rates, so it can act choppy if you're below/above 60Hz.

🌍️ Wikipedia:

FastTracker 2 is a music tracker created by Fredrik "Mr. H" Huss and Magnus "Vogue" Högdahl, two members of the demogroup Triton (who later founded Starbreeze Studios) which set about releasing their own tracker after breaking into the scene in 1992 and winning several demo competitions. The source code of FastTracker 2 is written in Pascal using Borland Pascal 7 and TASM. The program works natively under MS-DOS.


In 1993, Triton released FastTracker. This tracker was able to load and save standard four channel MOD files, as well as extended MOD files with six or eight channels (identical to standard MOD files, aside from the extra channel data and ID markers "6CHN" or "8CHN"). It was only compatible with Creative Labs' SoundBlaster series of sound cards, which were most popular on the PC at that time. The whole editor was a single 43 KiB DOS executable.

Through 1994, the musicians in Triton released some songs in a new multichannel "XM" format, accompanied by a pre-release, standalone player. In November 1994, FastTracker 2 was released to the public, with support for the Gravis Ultrasound soundcard.


The last stable release of FastTracker 2 was version 2.08, released in August 1997. A newer version 2.09 was under test as closed beta and became available to the public by Andreas Viklund's website in 1999. This version had a few new usability additions, such as the possibility to exit previously "stuck" windows by only using the mouse but broke support for the Gravis Ultrasound card. While not an official release it was made later available also from Starbreeze's website.

On May 23, 1999, Starbreeze productions announced on their website that "FT2 has been put on hold indefinitely. [...] If this was an ideal world, where there was infinite time and no need to make a living, there would definitely be a multiplatform Fasttracker3. Unfortunately this world is nothing like that," signed by Vogue.


After the announcement that support and development for FT2 would be stopped, Ruben Ramos Salvador (BakTery) started working on a FastTracker 3 that is now known as Skale Tracker, available for both Windows, Linux and online. In later years many other trackers tried to follow up on the legacy of FT2, notably the MilkyTracker; with special playback modes available for improved Amiga ProTracker 2/3 compatibility. See also the Clone section below.


After development of FT2 was abandoned, a project to accurate re-implementation FT2 in C for modern platforms based on SDL 2 was started. Developer Olav Sørensen stated that he based his clone partly on the original FT2 source code. On 22 April 2017 an alpha build of the FastTracker II clone was released on the author's homepage for Windows and MacOS. In July 2018, he released the source code of his FT2 continuation and build instructions also for Linux on his website. In August 2018 Sørensen specified the software license as 3-clause BSD license. Short after the release an official FreeBSD port was created.

Architecture and features

The FT2 interface is largely inspired by the looks of Amiga's Protracker. The screen consists of a pattern editor in the lower half, while the upper half features an instrument selector on the right, and the general module settings and some oscilloscopes. The pattern editor can be changed to sample and instrument editors screens. The program also features a little Nibbles clone and in-software documentation for all the features.


Patterns are essentially sheets of music where the musician is able to compose the actual musical score. A pattern consists of several rows (64 by default, 1024 by max) and is divided to columns ("tracks"). Each row can have one note in every track. A note can look like the following:
C#4 02 20 R11

This means the note is a C#-note on the chromatic scale, played at the 4th octave (according to the scientific pitch notation), with instrument number 2. The next column is the volume setting on a 00H-40H hexadecimal scale, and the last column enables a variety of effects to be applied to the sound (in this case, retriggering).
A song consists of a collection of different patterns which can be played in a user-defined order to create the final song structure.


Samples are generic raw sound data to be played back at various frequencies, much the way normal musical samplers do. Samples can have a loop start and end point which enable the sound to repeat endlessly, either repeated continuously or in a way which is called "ping-pong loop" in FT2, and essentially means the sample played back and forth as soon as the replay gets "stuck" in the loop. (This is also called a "bidirectional loop".) The musicians are able to either record samples or load existing ones, manipulate them by cutting and/or pasting parts, or just drawing them by hand. There's also a feature to crossfade the sample with itself, thus allowing the loop points to be seamless.


Instruments are essentially arrays of samples with additional convenience features. A musician can assign different samples to different pitches of the sound, thus eliminating the possibility of a sample sounding bad if played too high or too low. Instruments support various loopable envelopes to be set on either the sound volume or the stereo panning, as well as built-in vibrato. It is also possible to set the generic settings of the instrument here: fine-tuning, default volume, default panning and relative starting note to C-4.

FT2 allows to play in live with a normal PS/2 keyboard and make a live record with it (in azerty mode, key 'a' would be a C, key 'z' a D etc.). FT2 was popular with many musicians who didn't have midi keyboards as they could experience live recording without any equipment other than a PC running DOS.


Each track has an "effects column" which allows the addition of effects such as arpeggio, portamento, vibrato and volume slides. Some control over the song structure can be handled in this column too, with commands for looping and breaking from and delaying patterns, or retriggering, cutting and delaying notes. In addition, a "volume column" allows additional control over volume slides, vibrato, panning and tone portamento.

Full list of Effect types (.MOD/.XM) and compatibility with trackers:
(see wikipedia)


Fasttracker 2 supports a variety of file formats, though often only two were used by musicians: XM (Extended Module) and XI (Extended Instrument). XM was and still is one of the most popular module formats nowadays, because of its compact and well compressible file structure.
MOD format supported 4 channels maximum in a song, XM format, 32 channels maximum in a song, though there could be multiple instrument on one channel. ( from Channel n°0 to channel n°31 )
Some player software supports the .XMZ and .MDZ formats, which are a renamed ZIP file that contains a .XM or .MOD file respectively.


FT2 ran with a custom made DOS 32bit-extender and it supports Gravis Ultrasound as well as Sound Blaster, Covox and the simple PC speaker. This rendered the software rather flaky to use nowadays, as the recent Windows versions generally do not allow DOS applications to access hardware directly, let alone the fact that most of those compatible cards are built for ISA slots, which are absent from recent motherboards. Due to this, hardcore musicians who still want to use FT2 often build "oldskool" PCs with the optimal (and nowadays rather cheap) hardware for the tracker, just to be able to track with it again.

An alternative way of getting FT2 to run is by using DOSBox — this, however, as accurate as is, has speed and latency problems, and one needs quite a muscular PC to be able to use it as comfortably as on a native environment. The release of DOSBox 0.7 in March 2007 substantially improved speed/performance problems. Other methods of usage include GUSEMU or VDMSound.

Reception and impact

FT2 got broadly popular in the demoscene and among tracker musicians in the end 1990s. FT2's biggest "rivals" in the scene were Scream Tracker and, in later years, Impulse Tracker. "FT2 vs IT" is a common and still ongoing debate among musicians, usually involving IT users complaining about FT2's mouse interface while FT2 users commending the very same, and pointing out that every mouse feature has a keyboard shortcut as well.


The FT2 inspired multiple later trackers in UX, design and technical capabilities and became therefore the starting point of a family of clones. Notably here, Ruben Ramos Salvador's clone FastTracker 3 (which became later the Skale Tracker) and MilkyTracker. MilkyTracker is cross platform software and provides nearly all functionality available in the original FT2 and adds various features. The GUI looks close, but intentionally different from the original. The shareware program Renoise also takes a portion of FT2's basic GUI- and featureset-design, even though there are various major changes in its concept. Another early FastTracker 2-compatible tracker for windows was ModPlug Tracker (later OpenMPT), a tool which was also compatible with many other contemporary DOS trackers. SoundTracker (not to be confused with Ultimate Soundtracker) is a free (GPL-licensed) FT2-style tracker program for Unix-like operating systems. For many years, it was one of the very few mature Unix-based tracker programs.

Professional usage

Video game developer Nicklas Nygren used Fast Tracker 2 in his early works (e.g. Knytt Stories) to compose the video game music. Demoscener and video game soundtrack composer Matthias Le Bidan used FT2 for the music of the Free and open source video games Frozen Bubble and Pathological. The FT2 based soundtrack of Frozen Bubble won The Linux Game Tome's Best Sound/Music Award in 2003.

Several commercial Computer games by Epic Games like Unreal and Unreal Tournament used the Fast Tracker II XM format (additionally to other mod formats) encapsulated in a "UMX" Container, supported by the used Galaxy Sound Engine. Also Ion Storms' Deus Ex used the XM format for its soundtrack.

FastTracker 2 has been used in the "dance" music scene of the 90's and early 00's, too: Gabber, Speedcore and breakcore producers were using it. Notable artists include Deadnoise, Noisekick, Neophyte.

🚧️ Installation [fr]


(non testé)➥ Installation à partir du binaire du jeu :

Le jeu est en dépôt (experimental), il suffit d'installer le paquet.

➥ Installation à partir du source du jeu :

Installation :
• Téléchargez son source sur le site.
• Dans son répertoire racine lancez successivement :
$ cmake .
(n'oubliez pas le ".")
$ make
(ou, pour accélérer la compilation, "$ make -j8" si vous disposez d'un processeur 8 threads, à adapter pour vous)


• Si vous avez compilé le jeu à partir de son source, en console dans son répertoire racine lancez : $ ./release/other/ft2-clone

🔍️ Test [fr]

🕵️ Test (0.1+b129 sur Debian Sid 64-bit) par goupildb :

J'ai effectué un test rapide (aussi pour la copie d'écran) :
J'ai compilé son source (très simple, voir la section "Installation" ci-dessus).
J'ai testé 2 fichiers, un MOD ("blast off.mod") puis un fichier XM ("_sunlight_.xm") téléchargés sur le site [The Mod Archive] et l'ai fais jouer :
- on clique sur le bouton "Disk op." au milieu de l'interface
- on navigue au milieu de l'interface jusqu'à trouver le fichier souhaité que l'on sélectionne (un seul clic, pas de double-clic) et il se lance.

Il fonctionne bien :)

Un grand bravo et merci encore une fois à Olav Sørensen pour son super boulot.