ThaSauce Development Update

What’s going on with VGMix? OverLooked ReMix? ReMix:ThaSauce? Compoverse?

Hi. Hello. Is this thing on? It’s been a while since I’ve made a post on this site.

The days of using ThaSauce.net as a news portal have been behind us for a while, but development on ThaSauce websites has been active for some time. Over the years we’ve inherited a lot of your favorite sites and with them a lot of responsibility. We get a number of questions from time-to-time about the status is of a particular website. The answer is always the same: It’s…coming along. There’s a larger, overarching plan we’re working on and I think I’ve explained it enough times in enough places to finally sit down and write it out. So here it goes…

A bit of history…

Before we can talk about everything that we plan on doing, let me take a short moment to talk about how we got here. What originally started out in 2005 as an idea to make a VGM news portal, eventually tacked on “yet another arrangement site” and then a compo portal? Now things are just out of control.

As mentioned above ThaSauce Network currently consists of this site “ThaSauce.net”, ReMix:ThaSauce, Compoverse (our rebranding of Compo:ThaSauce), OverLooked ReMiX (officially handed to us by richter), VGMix Archive for all known files from former VGMix sites, and a version of VGMix (currently called VG(Re)Mix) based on the vision of the would-be new site as laid out by virt.

The story of OverLooked ReMiX is a pretty short one: richter is just too busy these days and wanted to hand it off to someone who would maintain it. We control the hosting, domains, the full gamut. Future development of the site is…difficult as it’s so closely tied to a particular version of PhpBB and software updates have gotten even harder. We’re describing the current status of the site as “archival,” which basically means it is in a read-only state for the foreseeable future.

The story of VGMix is a more complicated one. In 2013 we started development on what we were initially calling “VGMix 4”. Users had been asking when a new version of VGMix would pop up, and some had even tried to roll out their own, but we decided we’d take the responsibility onto us. After reaching out to virt and getting his ideas for what a new version of VGMix would look like, we went to work. There were a lot of details about VGMix that virt had envisioned, but the basis was this:

  1. Users should be able to upload their own tracks, freely, whenever they want. This includes completed tracks and works-in-progress (or WIPs).
  2. Users should be able to provide feedback to each other for the above tracks.
  3. Users should be able to host impromptu compos on demand.
  4. Users should be able to fully host and release album projects on the site, including submitting applications, WIPs, and feedback.

Much of our vision for the future development of all the sites revolve around these goals and, ultimately, VGMix will likely be the center of this “network.”

The Vision

So VGMix is the cornerstone of the future, but where does that leave all of the other sites? In the current vision for the future, each site plays a role in a sort of “music development pipeline”. A process to take a beginner musician to, potentially, a full video game music composer. Here’s the breakdown:

Compoverse

Everything starts with Compoverse. For the uninitiated, Compoverse is where we host “compos,” or music composition competitions. As the site explains:

Compo is a slang word for “composition competition” commonly used by the arrangement community. It is derived from the demoscene competitions by the same name.

Contrary to this, compos are less of a competition and more of an exercise in composition abilities. Each compo has its own unique format and guidelines and while some are as short as 1 hour, others can last anywhere from a month to a few months.

It’s important to remember that the primary purpose of compos is to hone your skills and abilites by working within, sometimes very constricting, guidelines. These techniques have proven essential to the growth of countless musicians.

Remember: the only way to lose a compo is to not participate.

The site currently hosts about 7 compos on weekly or monthly schedules. One particular compo, One Hour Compo, has been hosted every week for over 10 years. During these compos, users work on tracks, following a particular theme, under a constricting time-limit. In many cases after the compo is completed we host a live listening party on our community Discord server, and users can get live peer review. This process has been invaluable to the growth of countless musicians throughout the years, including VGM composers virt and Danny Baranowski.

Compoverse offers new users an opportunity to develop experience with new tools and techniques and receive live feedback. Additionally, it challenges veteran users to try new things and streamline their workflow.

Compoverse will continue to offer a small number of “ThaSauce-hosted”, regularly scheduled compos. Additionally, the system will be expanded to offer a number of new features to admins that will also allow us to white-label the service to other compo communities. Making it easier for admins of all compos to host and administer regularly scheduled compos anywhere they desire.

VGMix (Part 1: WIPs/Compos)

Once users gain some confidence and experience it’s time to move on to VGMix. Here, users will be able to submit WIPs of more full-featured game arrangements and receive feedback. Additionally, users can join, or create, impromptu compos. These compos can be created by anyone, at any time, and is a great opportunity for a few friends to quickly jump in, create some constraints, host their files, and even have a live on-site listening party.

VGMix (Part 2: Releases)

Once users are comfortable with the feedback they received from WIPs, users will be able to convert their track from a work-in-progress to an actual released track. Once released they can continue to receive private critique, or simply receive public comments like “This song is great!” Users will receive on-site “Achievements” as they progress as artists to help encourage them to keep working as well as try new things. Additionally, VGMix will provide templates to allow for easy submissions to other arrangement sites including ReMix:ThaSauce, OverLooked ReMix, and even OverClocked ReMix.

ReMix:ThaSauce

ReMix:ThaSauce will maintain a similar position to where it has previously been: a bridge between self-released tracks and submission to a curated platform. Users will be able to submit tracks, that will be evaluated by panel, for an opportunity to be included within the curated collection. Consider this to be a badge of pride for user growth.

OverLooked ReMiX

OverLooked ReMix will continue to do exactly what it excels in: provide ridiculous interpretations of video game music and video game culture. Users that want to create joke, parody, or just simply outlandish tracks will be able to submit them here. Again, songs will be evaluated by a panel of passionate administrators for an opportunity to be included within that collection.

OverClocked ReMix

Though not within ThaSauce Network, OCReMix’s existence can’t be ignored. It has long been the center of the video game arrangement community and it too is included within the overall vision of our future development.

As it has always been OCReMix remains the “pinnacle” of achievement within the VGM community. A mountain for users to climb, and conquer along their journey. As previously mentioned, VGMix will work to not only prepare but also help facilitate users’ transition to OverClocked ReMix releases by hosting their tracks and providing them with formatted submission templates. This will, hopefully, make the process easier not only for users of both sites, but also administrators at OCReMix.

VGMix (Part 3: Albums)

Once users have confidence, experience, and prestige, they can move on to creating and participating in full album releases on VGMix. These can be solo albums or collaborative albums. VGMix will facilitate gathering of private feedback, providing consistent MP3 tags, and of course file hosting. Users will be free to host these final releases anywhere, but VGMix will hopefully make the process of collaborating on, and creating full-length albums much easier.

The Process

Whew. Now that we have all that outlined, how do we get there? Over the years we’ve amassed a number of incredibly talented developers, musicians, graphic designers, and other experts to help outline and flesh out our goals. We have a very clear process in mind and we’re confident we can achieve it. It all starts with what we’re calling Akatosh in development.

In the Elder Scrolls lore Akatosh is the name of the Dragon God of Time. The chief deity of the Divines. In ThaSauce development Akatosh represents the backbone of our infrastructure. Users, songs, albums, compos, all exist on Akatosh.

Under the hood, most of these sites follow a very similar structure:

  • A song is posted on the site
  • The song is “owned” by a user or a group of users (bands, etc)
  • These songs can be organized under a grouping (album, compo round, etc).

In the Akatosh system, a song on VGMix isn’t very different from a song on Compoverse or a song on OverLooked ReMix. The difference is the flourishes, and the presentation. All sites will be powered by Akatosh, and users of all the sites will have a single, unified, ThaSauce Network login account. One big community, spanning a number of websites.

Where are we now? What’s the timeline?

Given the nature of the system, it doesn’t look like anything has been done, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of our time up until now has been focused on the underlying Akatosh system and structure, so there isn’t much “front-facing” progress. Admittedly as well, we are all employed full-time and very busy with our personal lives. So where are we actually and what are the next steps?

Right now, the Akatosh system is in a pretty solid place as far as structure and efficiency. We’re comfortable with the foundations we’ve laid out, and we’re ready to move on to incorporating actual, useable sites into the system. Compoverse is currently our most active site and, as a result, will be one of the first sites to be integrated into the new system. If you’ve followed the site recently you know that it has been in active development for a bit over a year. The current iteration of the PHP site is at the end-of-life for new features and any new development for the site will be moved to the new platform. This also includes the conversion of all the existing songs, compos, and users to the new system. This will take time as we’re rebuilding the site from scratch, but the timeline here, realistically, will be months, not years, as we continue.

There is also a chance you will see a version of ReMix:ThaSauce pop up soon after, or even before Compoverse. R:TS is one of the simpler, smaller sites, and would be a very straightforward transition. It’s also a great opportunity to test some of the data migration with a small, static dataset.

Conclusion

Still with me? Ok, good. Whew, that was a lot. So I guess what I’m trying to say is we’re still here. We’re still alive. We’re still passionate about the community, and we’re still working really hard to help the community continue to grow, evolve, and thrive in the modern, post-YouTube/Soundcloud internet. It’s been a long road, with a lot of changes and iterations, but we’re not going anywhere any time soon. Hopefully, hopefully, we’ll have some of you along for the ride to see everything through to the end. We’ll get there, and we’re getting closer every day.

Super Metroid Symphony Coming In March

smsymph

Fans of Metroid and Blake Robinson can look forward to March 19th — that is when Synthetic Orchestra will release Super Metroid Symphony.

For those of you not familiar with Symphonic Orchestra.

The Synthetic Orchestra is Blake Robinson and his collection of ultra-realistic sample libraries and software. Born in London, England, Blake Robinson has been obsessed with computer generated music from a young age. From his humble roots as a kid hacking away at Protracker on his Atari ST, Blake now utilises a top-of-the-range workstation to create epic orchestral pieces and lush symphonic soundtracks from the comfort of his home.

This time, Blake is orchestrating music from the Super Nintendo game Super Metroid, composed by Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamano.

You can check out the Symphonic Orchestra website, as well as the Super Metroid Symphony teaser site.

OverCoat For One Night Only in Neo-Seattle

OverCoat, aka Scott Porter, is a busy man. Not only is he the host of two radio shows over on Arecibo Radio (Touhou Tuesday and his own Radio Overcoat), but he also makes music! The third entry in his self-titled series of EPs dropped on August 14, titled OverCoat 3: One Night in Neo-Seattle. Encompassing five tracks for a runtime of 16:34, this EP takes the listener on a cyberpunk adventure through a futuristic variation on Seattle. And, just as the album takes you on a tour through the city, what follows takes you on a tour through the album! You can follow along by grabbing the album here, or you can snag it later! Whichever route you take, it’s time to go!

1. Sunset 2:12
The first song starts out simply, setting the stage and the mood. At 0:21 the soundscape begins to fill out, and even more at 0:41 or so. The main rhythm at 1:21 or so is pretty nice, and really finishes making that soundscape full. I already feel like I’m on a journey of sorts. It all drops at around the two minute mark.
2. International District 4:00
This track starts off right away, with some percussives at about the 0:22 mark. Some melody comes in at 0:33 or so, adding to the feel of the song. There’s a slight breakdown at about 1:04, and it gives way at 1:14 for some cool effects. 1:36 mixes it up a bit, bringing some nice string plucking of sorts. 2:03 drops out all the extra stuff, only to return the main melody at 2:13 or so. 2:39 brings a simpler feel, one that also is clearly a herald to what will be the end of the song. Climactic parts are always fun! Now I’m getting a Deku Tree vibe from the part at 3:04 or so, as in the music that plays when he’s talking. Main melody back at 3:28, and the end begins at 3:52.
3. The Market 3:13
SYNTH! Apparently that’s what this market deals in, synths. 0:18 brings in the beat and 0:38 brings in a melody. There’s some release set to these instruments, and it sounds good. I suddenly want to play a game where this is the shopping theme. A nice change-up at about the 1:23 mark comes in, and it works well. 1:44 brings that melody back. Breakdown at 2:09 or so, and it’s this track’s climax. Main melody returns at 2:28 or so, and the fadeout begins at 3:07.
4. Broadway 3:57
Ooh I like the instrument choice on this one. Beat comes in at 0:16, and rhythm at 0:22 or so. I really enjoy the backing rhythm; it works well and keeps the momentum intact. 0:54 or so has a nice changeup, only to mix it up even more at 1:10 or so. It keeps going this way until 1:49 when the main melody returns to prominence. 2:39 brings a return to how it was at the start, truly heralding the end of the mix-up. 3:13 drops out one of the lead instruments, and leads to the fadeout at 3:47.
5. Phantom Bracelet 3:12
Ah yes, this track. Cool intro, which picks up at 0:13 or so with the first beat and some wub sounds at 0:27. Melody comes in at about 0:51, adding to the fullness of the track. This continues until 1:42, when the wubs drop out. There’s an obvious feel of a buildup, and the wubs return at 2:07. The melody vanishes at this point, and another sound vanishes at 2:35 or so. The wubs continue until 2:59, until replaced by the finale.

And with that, our night in Neo-Seattle comes to a close. I hope you enjoyed your brief visit, and you can obtain a lifetime pass to this night at whatever price you so desire (even no price at all) by clicking here. You can also find more of OverCoat’s work here and here. And you can also hear him Tuesdays from 5-7 PM PST with Touhou Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7-9 PM PST on Radio OverCoat, only on Arecibo Radio. Until next time, game on!

Community Chat Channels Migrate to New Server

After nearly a dedicate of being some of EnterTheGame’s biggest, most popular channels, #ocremix, #ocrwip, #thasauce, and many other related channels have migrated to EsperNet. This decision came after a long-time (something something) of EnterTheGames practices and policies.

These channels join a number of other channels already established on EspertNet including chat channels for community partners MAGFest, Dwelling of Duels, and VGMusic.

Below is a complete list of community channels now on EsperNet:

  • #ocremix – Official chat for OverClocked ReMix
  • #thasauce – Official chat for ThaSauce Network, video game remix resource and news portal
  • #dod – Official chat for Dwelling of Duels, video game remix competition
  • #magfest – Official chat for Music and Gaming Festivial (MAGFest)
  • #vgmusic – Official chat for VGMusic, video game music archive
  • others….

ThaSauce Presents: One Hour Compo OHC #400

ThaSauce Network is excited to announce a milestone event in our community’s history — the 400th round of One Hour Compo, hosted by starla. Compos (short for “composition competitions”) are competitions for musicians who want to “think outside the box” and challenge themselves.

Here’s how it works. One Hour Compo happens every Thursday at 9PM EST. Every week, a new theme is announced, and participants are encouraged to remix a track based on their interpretation of the theme. They are given one hour to create, complete, and submit their tracks — after that, submissions are off to voting! The event ends with a listening party featuring the week’s top submissions.

The 400th compo round will happen on June 9th at 9pm EST, and you can RSVP to the Facebook event to stay updated. Musicians of all skill levels are invited to join in. There is no requirements for OHC, other than wanting to participate and have a good time creating good music. We encourage everyone to join, and help us make the 4ooth one a compo to remember!

 

IndieBox Delivers A New Game To You Every Month

indiebox

Editor’s note: ThaSauce founder Doug Arley is a part of the IndieBox

IndieBox is a new subscription service that allows gamers to discover a new game each month — all while supporting independent game creators.

Every month, IndieBox will deliver a new game, right to your mailbox. Your IndieBox will feature retro-style custom packaging and will be filled with goodies — including a unique cartridge and case with your game, a full color manual, and other fun extras such as posters, stickers, and soundtrack CDs.

And, the best part is, IndieBox games are all developed by independent creators. Your IndieBox subscription is not only a fun way to discover great new games, but it is also a great way to support talented game creators. Working with independent creators also allows IndieBox to closely monitor the quality of the games released, so you can enjoy the best indie games around. All IndieBox games are also completely DRM free, and fully compatible with Windows, OS X, and Linux systems.

#BringBackTheBox today at theindiebox.com, and sign up by Friday, April 18th to receive the first IndieBox release!

Usa (Daniel Lippert) Releasing Debut Album This Month

citc001

Daniel Lippert, known in the ReMix community as Usa, has been working on his first full debut album — and it is finally ready.

“City in the Clouds” is a musical journey through a lush world of fantasy and magic. Daniel Lippert‘s debut album is full of atmospheric, energetic and calm instrumental music that describes this world.

The album will be released on September 20th, on both disc and digital format. There will also be a limited edition of 500 vinyls, to be released in October of this year.

For more information, you can visit the City In The Clouds album website. To check out more awesome music, and listen to some samples from City In The Clouds, head over to Daniel’s OCReMix profile, as well as his SoundCloud.

halc Releases Zero-G3: Homeworld

homeworld002

Following the release of halc’s first chiptunes album, Legitimacy, we now have another release from the talented composer.

Zero-G3: Homeworld is his latest effort, consisting of eight tracks of new, original — and awesome — material.

The album incorporates retro sounds and heavily modulated, futuristic synths and effects, supported by loose hip-hop and broken-beat influenced grooves and a twinkly chiptune aftertaste.

The album is available on halc’s Bandcamp page. And, if it leaves you wanting more of his music, you can check out halc’s OCReMix profile, as well as the site for his 9-bit Records label.

Fundraiser To Help Cerrax

ThaSauce is not only a news site, it is a portal for the community.

Recently, Charlie Koch — known to us as Cerrax — suffered a personal tragedy. A fire destroyed his apartment, destroying his and his sister’s personal belongings. This tragedy has hit them terribly, both emotionally and financially.

We would like to take a moment to ask the community to come together to help out. A Facebook page and Paypal fundraiser have been set up, to help Cerrax and his sister save up the money needed to replace their belongings.

Anything you can contribute with will help — and will be appreciated.

Sound Bytes: “Timeless” by PrototypeRaptor

Timeless is the first track on PrototypeRaptor’s sophomore album, Nostalgiarithm.

The album spans multiple genres at around a 70 minute runtime, including 130 bpm electro house like this track, old school prog house, experimental dubstep, ambient works, and includes most of the track IDs I’ve been playing out/putting in sets here on SC.


If you enjoyed the track, you can buy Nostalgiarithm on Bandcamp, as well as check out his remixes on OCRemix.