If you find it hard to make music, read this.

Posted by
December 13th, 2011 7:25 pm

There’s a new version of Autotracker available, and it actually looks like it can still be improved.

Introducing Autotracker-Bu: https://github.com/iamgreaser/it2everything/blob/master/atrk-bu.py


  • Makes music for you!
  • Occasionally gets stuck in an infinite loop! (actually a bug that shouldn’t be a big fix)
  • Sounds better than Autotracker-C!
  • Song title generator (includes “kittens” in its diction)!
  • Varying speeds!
  • Funky basslines!
  • Reticulating splines!
  • Adjective nouns!

If you wish to convert this to some sampled audio format, use something like SchismTracker to export to .wav (F9 to load, Shift-F10 to export to .wav), and then convert that to whatever you like.

If you wish to convert to MIDI… modplug might be able to open it? I’ll consider adding in a midi export mode.

So if you’re struggling to make music, save our ears and try this. It might even win an award!

Oh yeah, you’ll need Python 2.x to run it. Enjoy.

40 Responses to “If you find it hard to make music, read this.”

  1. Peter Cooper says:

    VLC (open source video and audio player) will also play these files. And convert them to MP3, etc (To convert to MP3, use the Streaming/Export wizard, transcode audio to MP3, encapsulate as RAW, then rename file to .mp3 when done.)

  2. kibertoad says:

    Any chance to make an exe with it? Saves lots of hassle.

    • GreaseMonkey says:

      Um, no? Is double-clicking on a .py file *really* that hard? (I know that py2exe exists but expect the lovely ~20KB script to be bloated to ~7MB.)

      Seeing as you’re on this site you might as well install Python 2, because there will be at least a few entries in Python (usually using Pygame – heck, that will happily take the .it files and play them directly).

      • kibertoad says:

        Seriously? Installing interpreter is less hassle than making a 7 MB EXE which nowadays is effectively nothing?..

        If you make the EXE, I’ll host it for you :).

        • GreaseMonkey says:

          If you really, really want an .exe, use py2exe and do it yourself.

          Another advantage of releasing a .py file is that people can modify it. Releasing the .exe would require one to screw with the compiled .pyc/.pyo bytecode files, which is no way near as nice.

          Also, you only need to install the interpreter once.

          Seriously, if you don’t know how to install a program, then how the hell are you going to do Ludum Dare?

  3. Osgeld says:

    That is pretty impressive, its now in my toolbox!

  4. Zer0XoL says:

    Really awesome

  5. John Conrad says:

    Thank you very much for this. I am impressed with the quality but I am INFINITYLY more impressed with the variety from run to run. It all has an 8-bit feel but each track really varies. I used this in my ludum dare #22 entry and just wanted to say thanks.

  6. Cosmologicon says:

    This is an amazing tool and it deserves to see much broader exposure. Even people outside the gamedev community would want to see this, I think.

    I’m willing to help port it to other audio formats like MIDI or OGG. Ideally I’d like to see it have a web interface like a3sfxr. I know I could just go ahead and do it myself, since you made the code public domain, but if you’re interested in collaborating, get in touch with me at cosmologicon@gmail!

  7. pekuja says:

    Have you considered writing a blog post / article about how the program actually works? I for one would really like to learn some basics of music composition, and stuff the Autotracker produces generally sounds better than anything I’ve ever managed to compose.

  8. kddekadenz says:

    This program is fucking awesome 😀

  9. tunnel says:

    wow works really well. sometimes a little to random but the last one i did was really good.
    i have been bested by a computer again 😛

  10. zacharydenton says:

    This is absolutely incredible! Can you give an overview of how it works?

  11. Zythiku says:

    Awesome! Thanks for this.

  12. cornedor says:

    Wow, its great 😀 Thanks

  13. SergioAwoke says:

    Sounds very good! :)
    You saved me and my game.

  14. mtrc says:

    Hey there!

    This is a really interesting tool. When I’m not failing to enter game jams, I’m working on a tool that automatically designs games. One aspect I’m interested in expanding/building is the music generation. There’s a lot of AI-based composition out there, as well as just purely generative stuff, but I have little or no music knowledge.

    I know others have asked the same, but is there an overview or a description of the underlying algorithm anywhere? I really like some of the pieces the code generates.


    mike @ gamesbyangelina.org

  15. Zer0Kelvin says:

    Let me be about the tenth person to say Wow! What a great little tool. I am surprised by the variety of different tunes I got after running it a few times. This is great for prototyping! I would love to see an interface to dial in what you have in mind, kinda like SFXR. Anyway, thanks for this :)

  16. zachstronaut says:

    Wowza… thanks so much for this post!!!!

  17. Impossible says:

    This is pretty sweet.

  18. RadicalEd says:

    Man, this is so great! Thx! BTW OpenMPT is a great tool for converting generated music to WAV or MIDI :)

  19. huhwhozat says:

    Thanks for this tool; this is hands-down the (technically) best procedurally generated music I have heard! I just have to get midi output though so I can mess with the generated files in FLStudio. Ty for the tip about OpenMPT, RadicalEd.

  20. Helco says:

    The source says the application stands under GPL, but which license do the music files generated with this application have?

    I didn’t saw the new version of this, so sorry for double post in the old thread…

  21. DrPetter says:

    Neat. Could use more instrument variety though. Even just a (randomized per run) selection of 4-5 significantly different presets for the lead instrument to give clear separation between tracks so you could use them for different environments/scenes without instantly recognizing the sound. I guess they are slightly varied already, but all based on the same kind of FM synthesis. Should be easy enough to replace instruments for anyone who can bother to load it up in a manual tracker, of course.

    • DrPetter says:

      Though, to be honest I was never fond of the FM discipline and never came into contact with Adlib cards in my youth… It might just be that I wish something else would come out of the generator. Probably I would be delighted to have the same degree of variety with crunchier C64-like waveforms :)

      I know for instance kohina.com has “way too many” arcade and pc/adlib tunes that I want to skip past but evidently many others love, so it’s somewhat a matter of taste.

      Definitely worth considering a choice of audio profile though, if you can come up with algorithms for other types of sound. I guess however it might compromise on consistency, and that could degrade the perceived quality or open up for more chaos as people choose wildly different songs for different parts of their game?

  22. scoots says:

    It took me while to figure out how to use it.. After some debugging I figured out that for some reason it wasn’t outputting then file when given a local path (I’m on Win 8, but I don’t think that should have much bearing). I put in a full path on the last line and now it works awesomely well. Sweet work! :)

  23. GreaseMonkey says:

    Updated the link to point to the current download. Sorry about that.

  24. DamnPete says:

    Three letters: WOW

    This is just awesome :) thanks so much for sharing

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