MOD

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Module
MOD.png
Developer: Karsten Obarski, Mark Langerak, Ron Birk, Michael Kleps, MnemoTroN, Pex Tufvesson, Anders Berkeman, Lars Hamre
Header: Custom
Content: Notational
Instruments: Internal
Target Output
Output - Digital Audio.png Output - MIDI - No.png Output - FM Synthesis - No.png Output - PSG - No.png
Released: 1987-??-??
First Game: Amegas (AMI)
Extensions
  • mod.*
  • *.mod
  • *.mdz
  • stk.*

Module (MOD) is a digital sample-based music format created by Karsten Obarski for use with his program, The Ultimate Soundtracker, however, the format is probably best known for its association with ProTracker. Over the years several other trackers would use the MOD extension, with variations to the format. Some of the other common trackers to use the MOD extension include StarTrekker, Noisetracker, Fasttracker, Fasttracker II, and ChipTracker. Module files have an *.mod extension, but compressed MOD files will have the extension *.mdz, and 15-instrument MODs have been retroactively given the extension stk.*. Formats based on MOD include MED, OKT, SA, SID2, S3M, and by extension, XM and IT.

MOD files usually contain only a single track, but games (Castle Master (AMI) and two ripped files of Star Control 2 (DOS)) and later versions of the format can jump to arbitrary positions, emulating multiple songs in one MOD file.

To understand the difference between modules and MIDI formats, see digital music comparison.

Players

(Category)

Editors

(Category)

Converters

(Category)

MOD to ?

? to MOD

Games

(Category)
Released Title Sample
1987-??-?? Amegas (AMI)
1988-0?-?? Bubble Ghost (AMI)
1989-??-?? Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (AMI)
1990-??-?? Beverly Hills Cop (AMI)
1990-??-?? Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (AMI)
1992-11-?? Star Control 2 (DOS)
1992-??-?? Nick Faldo's Championship Golf (AMI)
1992-??-?? Nicky Boom (AMI)
1993-10-10 Halloween Harry (DOS)
1993-??-?? Prehistorik 2 (DOS)
1994-??-?? Arcade Pool (DOS)
1994-??-?? Project-X (DOS)
1994-??-?? Soccer Kid (AMI)
1994-06-06 Brudal Baddle (DOS)
1994-06-15 Mystic Towers (DOS)
1994-08-?? Tony & Friends in Kellogg's Land (AMI)
1994-08-?? Tony & Friends in Kellogg's Land (DOS)
1995-05-01 Terminal Velocity (DOS)
1995-??-?? Radix: Beyond the Void (DOS)
1996-11-19 Stargunner (DOS)
1997-10-?? Dark Earth (W32)
1998-0?-?? Jazz Jackrabbit 2 (W32)
1998-??-?? BackTrack (W32)
1998-12-16 DX-Ball 2 (W32)
2001-10-04 BackTrack (GBA)
2002-03-01 An American Tail: Fievel's Gold Rush (GBA)
2002-03-27 Maya the Bee: The Great Adventure (GBA)
2002-04-17 Star X (GBA)
2002-06-25 Aero The Acro-Bat: Rascal Rival Revenge (GBA) (Acrobat Kid)
2002-07-05 Pinball Challenge Deluxe (GBA)
2002-09-30 Soccer Kid (GBA)
2002-10-29 Bionicle: Matoran Adventure (GBA)
2002-11-06 Zapper: One Wicked Cricket! (GBA)
2002-11-30 Animal Snap (GBA)
2003-02-14 Super Dropzone (GBA)
2003-02-21 IK+ (GBA)
2003-03-28 Super Puzzle Fighter II (GBA)
2003-08-14 Seiklus (W32)
2004-05-11 SuperTux (LIN)
2004-09-14 World Tennis Stars (GBA)
2004-11-03 Archer Maclean's 3D Pool (GBA)
2005-03-18 Maya the Bee: Sweet Gold (GBA)
2014-06-12 Racer 2 (FAL)

Technical

Each MOD file starts with a 20-char songname, and each instrument with a 22-char samplename. Many arrangers filled them with contacts instead. Some editors require the Amiga disk label, resulting in samplenames like "st-01:synthpiano".

The format went through many evolutions, some of which barely lasted weeks and are inconsistently named. Format versions used in games are:

Date First software Creator Usage in games
1987-08-?? Muzak Replay-Routine Version 1.2 (.23) Karsten Obarski Obarski's original became gradually incompatible. It has a BPM setting which is always set to 120, but unused: All songs play at 125 BPM. The only effects are arpeggio and pitch bend (at incompatible effect numbers), only 15 samples are supported, loop starts are given as bytes, samples before loop start are ignored, each sample is in a separate file, and samples are encrypted. The driver calls a row "16tel" (German for "16th").
1987-12-15 Soundtracker Replay-Routine Version 24 (public) Karsten Obarski Samples are no longer encrypted.
1988-03-01 SoundTracker II, a.k.a. SoundTracker V2.0 Mark Langerak Change channel volume in midsong (till next instrument setting). Obarski's effects have been renumbered, and 16tel renamed to lines.
1988-03-13 SoundTracker III, a.k.a. SoundTracker V3.0 Ron Birk Change tempo in midsong (only as coarse as 94, 125, 150, 187 BPM for example on 4/4).
1988-03-29 The Ultimate Soundtracker Replay-Routine Version 27 Karsten Obarski Samples are now in the same file as the song, which coined the term module and the extension mod.*. This particular version is the only one to use the BPM setting, though the driver becomes inaccurate the further it is from 120.
1988-07-19 SoundTracker IX Michael Kleps Toggle LED filter in midsong.
1988-08-?? The D.O.C SoundTracker V2.0, a.k.a. D.O.C-SoundTracker II Michael Kleps Change time signature, restart in midsong (given in last pattern), and multiple songs in one file.
1989-04-?? Soundtracker V2.3 Michael Kleps (M.K.), MnemoTroN Volume slides and 31 samples.

Unfortunately, the stand-alone driver plays samples 16–31 at least two octaves too low.

1989-0?-?? Noisetracker V1.0 Pex Tufvesson, Anders Berkeman Vibrato, portamento, very slow tempos, restart position (replacing Obarski's BPM setting). The LED filter is now off by default, and samples play before loop.

Unfortunately, loop starts are now given as two bytes, so old samples may loop improperly.

1989-08-27 Soundtracker V2.5 MnemoTroN Vibrato and portamento from NT1.0.
1990-07-?? Noisetracker V2.0 Pex Tufvesson, Anders Berkeman Unfortunately, the vibrato depth unit changed, so old vibratos are half as deep as intended (and new vibratos are double as deep in NT1.0).
1990-09-?? Protracker V1.0 Lars Hamre, ideas by Anders Hamre Based on NT1.0, PT added finetuning and many facilitations, but ignores the restart setting on purpose.
1990-12-?? Protracker V1.1A Vibrato depths from NT2.0.
1991-01-?? Protracker V1.1B Pulse width modulation.

The VGMPF does not yet know which trackers added panning, more than four channels, and popularly renamed lines to rows.

How to Obtain

MOD files usually have to be extracted from a game's resource files, although they're sometimes left as is. Old MODs are commonly adjusted to other players.

Links