Ttrak Beta V1.02 Released
TTRAK BETA V1.02 aka “Blood on the TTRAKs”
- Stability improvements by Tat/Avena
- Added ability to ESCape out of YES/NO dialog boxes
- GUI draw bugs fixed
- Instrument copy/paste refinement
Hot on the heels of the last release comes version 1.02! I wasn’t planning on such a quick turn-around but an unexpected email from a kind soul on atari-forum.com (hi Sandor) brought to my attention a veritable boat-load of bugs, centering around weird crashes and unresponsive keyboard/mouse in STeem, the popular Atari ST emulator.
Look - i’m not going to lie, I’ve seen my fair share of crashes whilst developing TTRAK. It’s not too hard to crash a tracker - if you play a load of high notes using CPU intensive instruments, you’ve got a good chance of crashing out.
Sommarhack 2020 YM roundtable discussion - the big crash dilemma
I had a great chat with Atari YM royalty Gwem, Ben/OVR, and Grazey about whether a tracker author should put in preventative measures to reduce the possibility of a crash. I’d experimented with a ‘CPU-safe’ mode already which capped timer frequencies, and stopped drawing the GUI when under heavy load, but from talking to the guys, the message was clear - let it all hang out! Give the user every possibility to make amazing new sounds, but also let them accept the risk that they could crash the tracker without due care.. Made sense to me! Looking back at that chat, it was such an enjoyable few hours - so much wisdom from some real legends of Atari ST chip music.
Unfortunately the kinds of crash reports coming in from a few users didn’t seem to be necessarily related to CPU over-utilisation. I wasn’t seeing the kinds of errors reported in my own (mostly Hatari-based) use, and it was apparent the issue was quite complex, so there was only one thing for it.. Ask Tat/Avena.
I generally try and work stuff out to the best of my abilities but unfortunately my abilities are rather limited in scope, so invariably I end up leaning heavily on my co-conspirator Tat. Undoubtedly without his help and input this project would be no-where near where it is now. I’m quite sure he didn’t realise what he was signing up for when he first dipped his nose into the source code way back in 2015!
It didn’t take Tat too long to figure out what was going on. Armed with a STeem snapshot or two (cheers Modmate) and the MC68901 MFP technical specification manual, he homed in on the issue like a metaphorical Sparrow Hawk. He found that on certain occassions, the Timer B border removal routine was being delayed (fucking interrupts!) which in turn was blocking speedy execution and handling of other pretty important stuff like VBL code, and keyboard/mouse interrupts! Well that’s never gonna end well is it?! Within 24 hours he pushed a patch, and would you believe it - it only bloody worked! The border is more stable generally, and the keyboard/mouse buffer overruns/crashes have disappeared!
Reliability is such a key factor in whether or not someone chooses to invest time in an application - i’ve plug-ins that i’ve spent serious money on that I don’t use at all because they’re prone to crashing. No-one wants to use a crashy tracker. So i’m so happy that with this release, we’ve considerably improved the odds of people using TTRAK for a more prolonged period of time.
Tat, you absolute legend - thanks mate!Grab TTrak beta V1.02 here!