Author: James Milne
Price: Free
Download: <included>, or (Hotline)

    MADPlug was the first useful plugin that I found, and it's incredible. The goal of MADPlayer is to make it simple and easy to play music files (such as MODs) from your REALBasic program. Installation is simple (as with most plugins). Simply drag the "MADPlug PPC" file into the plugins folder, and drag the plugs folder into the realbasic folder. MADPlug can operate perfectly well without the Plugs folder, but you will only be able to open files that are in the semi-obscure MADH format (in previous versions, this was the only format it could open, thus the name.)

    After you install it and launch Realbasic, there is an extra icon in your toolbar at the bottom.To use the Player control, simply drag it onto a window, as you would any control. It will create a resizable, blank control with a generic name such as "MADPlug1", which is fine. It would be nice if it made a control with just an icon (like Timer and Serial controls), but the author told me that as of yet, you couldn't do this with the plugin API, so we'll have to wait for a future version of this plug and Realbasic for that.

    Once you've created a control, the rest is relatively easy. The sample that it comes with is more than adequate to tell you how to use the control, which, in comparison with using the Windows API to play MIDI files, is easy. Simply set an attribute of the control to the files path, and use the control's Start method. Couldn't be easier!

    Once a music file is playing, there are several things you can do. You can use the CurTime property to find out how much time has elapsed. You can use the FullTime property to find out the total length of the music file. Both of these functions return values in Ticks (60ths of a second), which can be annoying, but is also useful at times (like for progress bars). Only one minor annoyance. When you pause a MADPlug, CurTime goes back to zero, instead of staying at the elapsed time.

    Overall, MADPlug is an excellent plugin that adds a very useful ability to Realbasic--the ability to play music. Never again will your programs be silent...

 Pros: Provides music capabilities to Realbasic in an extremely simple and effective way.
 Cons: MADPlug's Plugs can be a hassle to manage. CurTime=0 when you pause.
Rating: ****