|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (July 2008)|
The OpenMPT interface.
|Original author(s)||Olivier Lapicque|
|Stable release||1.25.04.00 / November 21, 2015|
|Platform||x86 / x86-64|
|License||BSD (since OpenMPT 1.17.02.53) / GPL|
OpenMPT is an open source audio module tracker for Windows. It was named by Computer Music as one of the top five free music trackers. It originally started out under the name ModPlug Tracker, and was developed by Olivier Lapicque in September 1997.
ModPlug code origins
Originally called ModPlug Tracker, it was initially developed as a plug-in named MOD Plugin for Internet browsers, to allow users to listen to music modules (for example, IT, XM, S3M, and MOD) present in some websites. ModPlug Tracker, along with a player application named ModPlug Player later evolved from this plug-in.
In December 1999, Olivier Lapicque sent the module-playing parts of ModPlug Tracker's source code to Kenton Varda, under the GPL, to write a plugin for XMMS based on the code. The source code was later released to the public domain, and the mod-playing code was split off into a separate library, libmodplug, maintained as part of the ModPlug XMMS Plugin project. This project lay dormant from late 2003 until early 2006, when it was picked up again. Today, libmodplug is included in many Linux distributions as a default audio plugin for playing module files and is a part of the popular OpenSource multimedia framework gstreamer.
Due to lack of time, Olivier Lapicque discontinued development of ModPlug Tracker itself, and in early 2004, he released the entire source code under an open license. The ModPlug Player sourcecode is still closed as of October 2014.
Lapicque's MPT code was taken up by a group of tracker musicians/programmers and is now known as OpenMPT. Also based on the ModPlug code is OpenMPT's "sister project" Schism Tracker which contributed several backports of bugfixes to OpenMPT.
OpenMPT is distributed as free software and is, as of November 2015, under active development. Until May 2009 (v1.17.02.53) OpenMPT was licensed under the Copyleft GNU General Public License and then relicensed under the terms of the permissive BSD license. Since OpenMPT 1.23 (March 2014), OpenMPT is also available as a 64-bit application. This allows musicians to use 64-bit VST plugins and make use of the entire physical memory on 64-bit systems. For this purpose, OpenMPT provides its own plugin bridge, which can be used to run plugins with a different bitness than the host in a separate process, or to run plugin in a sandbox and prevent them from crashing the host application.
OpenMPT's main distinguishing feature is its native Windows user interface. Most trackers, even newer ones such as Renoise, have interfaces modelled after the older DOS trackers such as FastTracker II. OpenMPT makes use of features common to Microsoft Windows programs, such as context menus for effect selection, "tree" views (for files, samples, and patterns), drag and drop functionality throughout, and the native Look and Feel of the Windows platform.
It supports both loading and saving of IT (Impulse Tracker), XM (FastTracker Extended Module), MOD (Protracker and similar), S3M (Scream Tracker 3) and MPTM (its own file format) files, imports many sample file formats, and has some support for DLS banks and soundfonts.
OpenMPT was also one of the first Trackers to support opening and editing of multiple tracker modules in parallel. OpenMPT supports up to 127 tracks/channels, VST Plugins, VST instruments and has ASIO support.
MPTM file format
Due to limitations of the various mod file formats it is able to save, a new module format called MPTM was created in 2007. However, the format is still in experimental stage and is expected to be changed in the future.
OpenMPT had previously introduced non-standard additions to the older file formats. For example, one can use stereo samples or add VST Plugins to XM and IT modules, which were not supported in the original trackers. Many of these features are gradually removed from IT and XM files and made only available in MPTM files.
libopenmpt is a cross-platform module playing library based on the OpenMPT code with interfaces for the C and C++ programming languages. To ensure that the code bases do not diverge like in the case of ModPlug Tracker and libmodplug, libopenmpt development takes place in the same code repository as OpenMPT. Official input plug-ins for popular audio players (XMPlay, Winamp and foobar2000) based on libopenmpt are also available from the website.
Reception and users
Nicolay of the Grammy-nominated The Foreign Exchange has revealed that ModPlug is his "Secret Weapon". Movie and video game music composer Raphaël Gesqua also revealed to use OpenMPT in an interview.
- "Top Trackers". Computer Music Magazine (Future Publishing Ltd) (113). June 2007. Retrieved 2007.
Tracker! The amazing free music software giving the big boys a run for their money.
- ModPlugTrackerv1.00alpha5.rar - from ftp.modland.com/pub/trackers
- Christe, Ian (1997-10-30). "A Cheat Sheet for Internet Sound". Wired.com. Archived from the original on 1998-12-06. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
MOD: The lingua franca of the Internet's large network of Amiga musicians, MODs are ingenious self-contained sound files that include raw audio data and sequencing information.(Link to modplugcentral)
- "MODPlug Central - Technical Support Features". MODPlug Central. 1998-02-22. Archived from the original on 1998-02-22. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
- GStreamer Bad Plugins 0.10 Plugins Reference Manual
- storlek (2011-02-01). "Modplug". schismtracker.org. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
Schism Tracker uses a highly customized version of the Modplug library, [...]. Many of Schism's fixes have since been back-ported to OpenMPT [...]
- "OpenMPT 1.23.01.00 released". 2014-03-29. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
- "Features". openmpt.org. 2011-02-05. Retrieved 2011-02-05.
- ModPlug Central Forums
- OpenMPT developer board
- Inside The Producer's Studio on theforeignexchangemusic.com
- Interview with Raphaël Gesqua at game-ost.com
- Bejeweled 2 Soundtrack on BandCamp
- Bejeweled 3 Soundtrack on BandCamp
- Blue Stahli twitter profile
- OpenMPT : The official homepage of the OpenMPT project.
- libopenmpt : The official homepage of the libopenmpt module playing library.
- MODPlug Central (old site) : The old ModPlug Tracker, Player and Plugin homepage.
- ModPlug Central (OpenMPT) : The official OpenMPT internet forum.
- Olivier Lapicque's original ModPlug website
- ModPlug XMMS Plugin (using libmodplug)
- #modplug on EsperNet - discussion and support