Layout options, patterns, etc.

Started by Harbinger, January 09, 2008, 17:36:47

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I've been away a-while experimenting with a Mac app called PlayerPRO, which was recently made freeware, and is the closest thing to MPT for the Mac. (For those of you who don't know or forgot, i'm actually a Mac-user emulating Win98 with Virtual PC 3.)  While in so many ways it made me appreciate the overall flexibility of MPT, there are some things i can't live without. When i went  back to OpenMPT, these differences became glaring. So, i'd like to queue up and petition the king....

1. The layout of OMPT is so confining, because i often hafta leave one "section" to go to another one -- import an Instrument, then switch over to Sample to fix a loop, then switch to General to set up the "Mixer," and then to a new tab to begin plugging in notes. Then with corrections in the channel volume or overall tempo adjustment i hafta switch back to General, then back to Patterns, etc., etc.......i'm wasting alot of time. (We mac users are not used to this kind of inefficiency!) So what i'd like to see is either the use of positionable windows (PlayerPRO's answer), or togglable panes that show only the info you need, instead of tabs. With the latter idea, the user could click a close box to hide data he doesn't care about or won't be changing.

2. My biggest gripe is the process of recording tracks. It's funny; no one does it better than OMPT, but it definitely needs an improvement in the music production process -- specifically, the note-to-channel procedure. On one screen i need to see each channel's notes and their tracking FX, the global and channel volumes, and the VST effects applied to each track. In playback alterations would show up in realtime (if chosen in prefs), and editing ANY channel data easily available. I would also like to see EVERY step datum in one window, for easy composition and comparison. Since there is the real possibility of lack of room for an 1180x720 screen (or whatever that size is), this is where closable panels mentioned in the previous paragraph would come in handy.

3. Above each channel's display in the Pattern editor, i'd like to see this in a little data box: the last note played in that channel before the current pattern in the sequence, if it still carries sound or if it was NOTE-CUT'd or NOTE-OFF'd, the last FXCommand applied and its value. That way i don't hafta go backwards in my song trying to determine what some pad was playing before i switched keys or tempos. As an extra help, by clicking on the data field that shows this info, the cursor goes back to the point where the last note was played.

4. I would like to have the Tree converted to a regular menu to get it off my screen for good. I have no room for all the panels AND the Tree, and i get bogged down having to slide open the pane when i'm done Time-shifting or key-assigning.

I have many others, but we'll discuss these in this thread.

Like i said before, i love OpenMPT even though i have to go to Windows to use it. It's the next best thing to a sequencer and synthesizer, my natural method. I have composed a few good tracks so far, and more than a dozen started. So i hope to see greater improvements in the flexibility of OMPT. :wink:


1 can be done already. You can use the windows menu to clone a tab to a new window. This way, you can open both the general tab and the instrument tab, and if you go wild, all tabs. :)

For option 4, I'd say, bind them to a key so you can toggle them at will. Its what I use too, although my 1920x1200 resolution no longer limits me to not use the treeview.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs


Interesting comments.

1. As LPChip noted, it is possible to open multiple windows, although the interface can be somewhat clumsy due to the way tabs are implemented. On the whole, I agree there would be things to improve in the interface.

2. The explanation goes over my comprehension limits.

3. I agree that some 'channel status' indicators and controllers might be a useful addition.

4. The keyshortcut for showing/hiding tree view mentioned by LPChip can be useful indeed.


Perhaps it would be useful to have context-sensitive menus? Something like this screenshot from Lotus Symphony (which isn't that great a program, but hey. ;) )

Notice that you can expand/contract sections, and only the most commonly-used and useful options are displayed. If you need to do more complex editing, you can go to the appropriate screen.

What do you think?[/img]


Quote from: "Relabsoluness"Interesting comments.
2. The explanation goes over my comprehension limits.

IOW, what i'd love to able to see is all channel information on one tab/window/pane, including notes, channel effects, channel volume, channel pan, etc. Right now the channel information is divided between the Pattern pane and the General pane. As i'm step-editing or playback-recording, my dream is to see what's happening on my recording channel and other relevant channels (which i'd love to be able to filter which ones are shown).
It would basically be a glorified Pattern pane, but with more info and features, including but not limited to the following:
1. The ability to filter the display, including channels, columns, "local" data (such as channel volume and pan), and even a VU meter.
2. Easily editable volume, panning, and VST FX wet-dry sliders that can effect changes during playback.
3. Last note and track FX fields. Even a nice color indicator to show that, in this point in the sequence (where you're editing), a note in a channel (perhaps leftover from a previous pattern) is still considered "on".
4. On-the-fly global tempo slider.
5. Serious context help for track FX commands, dependent upon the type of file you're in (.it, .s3m, etc.).