FastTracker 2

Magnus "Vogue" Högdahl

Fast Tracker is a freeware grid sequencer, called a tracker for MS- DOS from a demo crew called Triton, the Starbreeze Studios founded in 1998.

In the 1990s, he was one of the most popular tracker and one of the few that were designed graphically.


The first FastTracker was a Protracker Clone for DOS. The demo crew Triton had in 1995 decided to issue its own tracker after they had 1992 Crystal Dream and a year later with Crystal Dream 2 stormed the charts of the demo scene and won several competitions.

Fast Tracker was first released as shareware, Version 2 (Fast Tracker II, FT2) was released as freeware. The Fast Tracker II was in his time a "revolutionary " Tracker. The programmers wanted to develop it to bring order into the computer music scene. So no more effects have been developed, but added instruments that can change as the velocity curve of a sample.

It led to a new file format that XM format (" EXtended modules "). The old mod file format of Protracker was matched to the capabilities of the Amiga sound chip Paula with four physical output channels ( Hardware-Mixing/Resampling ) and did not allow enough space. Fast Tracker II, however, was with his format thanks to a freely programmable Software-Mixer/Sampler and also the " Gravis Ultrasound " card offer more possibilities.

Later, the XM format from the Galaxy sound engine is supported, so the XM files of computer games Unreal and Deus Ex were.

The mid to late 1990s, the tracker and the corresponding XM format reached a large spread. He shall continue to apply and has many of the later Tracker strongly influenced (eg Skale Tracker, Renoise, MadTracker 2 and the Milky Tracker ).

The developers of the Fast Tracker founded 1998, later Starbreeze Studios.


Fast Tracker II

There are up to 32 channels available, on which samples can be played. Up to 128 tools are possible, each of which has up to 16 samples may contain different pitch areas can be assigned. Each sample can be " tuned " in half-tone or 1/128-Halbtonschritten, contains a panning setting. The instrument can also be optionally associated with an envelope for the volume and a panning trajectory. The length of each pattern is variable and comprising up to 256 entries.

FT2 is compatible up to a few inaccuracies to Protracker. Old MODs can therefore be imported and further processed. One of these inaccuracies is the standard C-4 frequency, ie the sampling rate at which defaults to a middle C is played. Fraud it in Protracker 8287 (59/ 428) Hz for PAL or 8363 ( 181/428 ) Hz for NTSC Amigas, it is now exactly 8363 Hz, requiring sound old MODs in a slightly different pitch with Fast Tracker.

FT2 "inherits" all of Protracker effect commands and defines some additional (eg "Set global volume "). Since FT2 but internally defaults to a simpler model frequency ( 1/256 semitone instead of period ), some of the old effects in their meaning are easily redefined. However, this can change by a corresponding switch. FT2 features in the editor via an additional effect column per channel - the so-called " volume - column". She has a completely changed syntax and is used primarily to adjust the volume. Many effects behave unexpectedly well due to sloppy programming, even compared to their protracker pendants. For example, the combination of many effects in both effect columns (eg retrigger with volume command) to unexpected results. Other examples are the infamous " E60 - Bug" and the combination of arpeggios and speed, which was so probably intended.

FT2 can export your songs as WAV files. This was at the time still uncommon.

Other "Fast Tracker "

  • There is also a Windows program called Fasttracker 3 This was however written by other programmers and is therefore not an official successor. It reached only beta status and is no longer being developed. For this, however, showed the scale tracker.
  • Both for Windows, Linux PDAs and also there is the free MilkyTracker. This program has the ambition to be almost 100 percent compatible with Fast Tracker.

There are some clones or inspired by Fast Tracker II programs, such as the free SoundTracker. For an overview see also the list of trackers.