2007 State of the ReMix Address

d-to-the-p-rizzle had this to say this year over @ OCR:

This post/announcement was supposed to happen back in January, when
2006 was relatively fresh on our minds and significant portions of the
new year had not yet expired, as has occurred with some degree of
regularity in the past. Better late than never; that I’m making it in
the middle of March probably reinforces a couple of the themes I
planned to cover anyways, so in a way it’s appropriate.

First, old business…

2006 was a landmark year for this site. The single biggest change was
something that wasn’t particularly visible to the average user, but
which has made a huge difference in the direction the site has taken:
it was the year that OverClocked ReMix was migrated off shared hosting
and onto a dedicated server that I alone administer. Prior to this
development, OC ReMix was hosted for free by ZTNET, L.L.C. in Michigan,
who also host many emulation and gaming sites for free. These guys are
great – if a book is ever written about the history of console
emulation, they’d show up as the philanthropic web hosts of tons of
emulators and news sites. Granted, all revenue generated from
advertising and shirt sales also went to them, to help cover OCR’s
considerable bandwidth overhead, but this site wouldn’t have existed
without someone willing to front the cost, as it would have been
prohibitive for me during the early years.

I’m happy to report that that’s no longer the case – the combination of Google ads, affiliate revenue from eStarland, Zzounds, etc. and shirt/hoodie
sales combined cover the complete operating costs of the site, with a
little leftover to print more shirts and coordinate events. If you shop
using Amazon, you can also use the OC ReMix Amazon Outlet, and a portion of each sale goes to the site. Every little bit helps, believe me.

As an interesting side note, a couple unsung heroes of 2006 were two donators that collectively donated $2000 to the site.
I tried contacting them to thank them (profusely) and see if they at
least wanted shirts, but it seems they preferred to remain relatively
anonymous. Their combined donation was what me made confident enough to
proceed with migrating the website to its own dedicated server, which
was a smooth process that’s been nothing but successful so far.
Everyone who’s donated or helped out in any way has played a part in
getting OCR to where it is today, but these individuals
disproportionately acted as a catalyst for this development, and for
the ensuing shirt order that was made, and they deserve singling out,
albeit in an unnamed manner.

So, what does being on our own server mean? For starters, the site’s
been faster and more stable. Sure, it was only a matter of degrees, not
a quantum leap, but it’s still been nice. The folks at LiquidWeb,
where our box is hosted, have also been amazingly helpful when we’ve
run into any issues, so our downtime has been limited. The increased
speed of the site has also let me make more regular backups, so I feel
more comfortable with our disaster recovery capability. But none of
that’s too sexy to the average visitor; one of the bigger things that’s
occurred as a result of all that, however, is that we (rather smoothly)
transitioned from our old forum software, phpBB, to the more powerful and consistently updated vBulletin.

I hate to do this, but I feel like I philosophically have to… while I
love the open source community, and this site runs largely on open
source software, I think that phpBB
represents a failure of a large, popular, and very visible OSS project
to responsibly manage software development goals and operate on
anything approaching a professional timeline
. Sure, they responded
quickly enough to the myriad security holes that were found with their
forum software, and still do, but the confusion surrounding phpBB 3.x
and the refusal to continue adding much-needed features to the
widely-deployed 2.x line has made many admins wary of the package, and
prompted just as many to jump to more powerful, more secure, or more
streamlined alternatives. It’s frustrating to see software that was at
one point at the top of the heap stagnate for so long; when phpBB 3.x
finally comes out, I’m sure it’ll be great, but what about the years in
between, when 2.x became obsolete and insecure? Alright, I’ve bitched
enough about that… moving on…

OverClocked ReMix’s site development philosophy centers around stability, gradual growth, and a consistent online presence.
We’ve been doing this for over six years, now, and we’ve never been
down for more than a couple weeks and have never gone more than a month
without posting something. We’ve constantly added incremental features,
rather than throwing the whole thing out and starting over, and I think
the permanence and cumulative momentum of this path is something we can
be proud of. There’ve been hiccups, rifts, layout additions that (ahem)
took some getting used to (cough… sidebar), but I don’t feel like
we’ve ever really tripped and stumbled. This may come off as an
implicit diss at another game remixing community, vgmix.com,
so I’ll just come right out and say that it’s not – there’s room on the
INTARWEB for two sites about game mixes, they’ve got a radically
different approach, and last I heard variety was a good thing.

Server migration and vBulletin weren’t the only developments in 2006,
of course. Far from it; here are some other items of interest, with
apologies to anything or anyone I’m missing:

In
addition to these highlights, we had judges and moderators come and go,
we improved site searchability, added a Wiki (with limited editors) for
better organized site information, some of us attended Video Games Live
in Philly and hung out with Tommy Tallarico and other game composers of
note, and special props should go out to Jill for coordinating many of
these events and to Larry Oji for improving the quality and accuracy of
our site database and guiding us through a second lockdown.

In a word, we grew. 2006 was phenomenal. Expecting 2007 to
be better would probably be optimistic, since many of these events
could only happen once in the history of the site. Also, it sounds
obvious, but throughout all these releases, additions, events, and
developments, we also did a little thing that happens to be why most of
you visit in the first place: we continued to post some amazing music from some very talented artists.

And now, some new business…

2007 will probably be a
less eventful year for OverClocked ReMix, at least from the perspective
of major site changes. We’ve got more powerful forums, we’ve got a
better server, we’ve got mirrors and we’ve got shirts and hoodies (or
had them, until they sold out… more on the way!!), so those issues
have been addressed. In talking about this year, I’m going to split my
comments into two sections. First, I’m gonna get all mushy and talk
about my personal life a bit. I rarely do this in these addresses, but
it’s pertinent… I think… and I feel like it warrants expressing.
Secondly, I’m gonna address some of our tangible plans for this year,
which is probably the more exciting stuff for most if not all of you.

How does a site like this come into existence? Better yet, not to pat
myself on the back, but how the hell does one dude who works for a
living find the time to administer it, develop it, participate in it,
and also create ReMixes of his own? I’m gonna try to make this the only
time I discuss this particular point about OCR, because if repeated
it’d sound dangerously close to emo whining and livejournal fodder.

Running this site has had a severe impact on my personal life.
Especially from 2000 to 2004, when I (arguably) should have been doing
a lot of things that most people in their early twenties do, I was
focusing an inordinate amount of time and energy here. In recent years
that’s changed and I’ve managed to reconcile having what most people
would call a life with running OCR, but that’s a four year dent that I
can’t get back, period. Do I want it back? If I could trade it for
everything OverClocked ReMix has come to represent, would I do it? I
think not. Nevertheless, in recent years I’ve focused on delegating
more, streamlining where possible, not getting overly involved in
dramarama and intersite/intrasite politics, and I’ve also gotten better
at software development and administration, which has reduced the
overall workload.

I still have plans for this site, some minor, some major, that still
require significant investments of my personal time and the time that
our site staff so graciously contribute, but more and more I’m also
making sure that I devote time to living my life. For the last couple
years, it’s been working out, and in recent months I’ve barely spent a
single weekend at home, as certain drunken IRC ramblings that were
unfortunately logged will testify to. The moral of this story is, while
I might be a little scarcer, I’m focusing on spending the time I do
have to work on OCR more effectively, and it’s been successful thus
far. I’d advise anyone that spends tons of time on personal projects or
other goals like OCR to take a step back every once in awhile; I don’t
regret the investments I’ve made, but I also don’t regret refocusing
and adjusting so I could spread things out a bit more.

(begin second, more specific, part)

That’s all rather relevant to one of the themes for 2007, which is
integration with some of the larger social networking sites on the
Internet, and other relevant services. Some of you may have noticed
that an additional field was added to your forum profile for storing a last.fm
username, if you have one. This is the first of many planned steps to
integrate not just last.fm, but other large networks, into OCR (and
vice versa), to whatever extent is possible. Plans include:

  • Prominent links to OCR groups on Facebook, MySpace, and Last.fm
  • Integration with various aspects of Last.fm’s data feeds and services
  • Additional user profile fields for other identities, such as Xbox Live gamertags, Wii numbers, etc.
  • Integrating forum threads with more areas of the site, potentially consoles, game series, etc.

These are all loosely coupled with the idea of making OC ReMix a bit more… social.
I’m not naive enough to think that adding these features will create a
stronger sense of community, more interaction, and an expanded user
base overnight, or even at all, but I do think they could potentially open up some new doors, and I’m interested in seeing where it all could go.

Another big goal is for OverClocked ReMix to be registered as an L.L.C.;
while this doesn’t mean much for the end user, it’s long overdue,
protects yours truly should we ever get into legal trouble, and will
pave the road for other developments by making me more comfortable with
our official status.

Of course, there are some fantastic site projects on the
horizon, more great mixes on the way, and we’ll continue to refine
aspects of the site that benefit from it – all of that’s almost a
given, but shouldn’t be taken for granted. The expansion of our site database
to include data not explicitly linked to individual ReMixes is also
something I’ve been toying with, that may or may not happen depending
on time constraints. A new release of Chipamp should definitely be expected, with support for even more formats. Bumper stickers may finally show up over at eStarland.

And… who knows? These are just a few of the ideas that I’ve got right
now. Feel free to chime in on this thread about how you think ’06 went,
what you think of our plans for ’07, and any specific
ideas you think would also be worth considering in the months to come.
As always, I’m grateful to have the privilege of running this site, and
thank each of you for your varying forms of participation and support.

Sincerely,

David W. Lloyd
President & Founder, OverClocked ReMix

A Guide to OverClocked ReMix

Our story starts with “Cleveland Rock,” a remixer-hopeful submitting a Mario’s Time Machine ReMix in “surf rock” style. This is the result.
As you can see, it received a NO OVERRIDE from Judge Larry Oji because
it was too close to the original. Rather than taking the rejection
quietly or complaining in public on the forums, he decided to make a
satirical guide about submitting to the site on YouTube, which is quite
funny and creative, so here is the link for now.

Additionally, here is a discussion thread about it on the OCR boards. Maybe he will submit his song to R:TS instead?

Humans and Gears, a Xenogears Rearrangement Project

That’s right! You’ve all been waiting for somebody to attempt it!
A Xenogears rearrangement project, and it’s still recruiting.
Minimum Track Limit: 20 Tracks
Maximum Track Limit: 30 Tracks
Tracks Taken: 14 Tracks

Head over to http://www.ocremix.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=2672587#2672587 to comment on it, or, if you are feeling brave enough to attempt some Mitsuda, to join it.

We’re waitin’ for ya!

Doom 2 Project – Taking on new mixers

On October 13th, TO posted an update to the Doom 2 Project on OCRemix, saying:

“The mixerlist has been culled due to inactivity. The mixers that were on those tracks can still be a part of the project, so long as they submit me a final version. I won’t sit anyone on the track unless I’m sure I’ll get a final version from them.”
You can see what tracks are available and how to join the project here: http://www.ocremix.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=71824.

OC ReMix revises Judges Panel FAQ

For those that ever had a basic inquiry about OverClocked ReMix’s beloved/hated judges panel, your questions may just be answered.
Major revisions were completed this past Friday to the OCR knowledge base‘s Judges Panel article, adapted from years of encoutering various questions and misconceptions about the panel and its procedures.

To learn more about the ins and outs of the judges panel, including criteria for choosing judges and how many submissions are accepted to OC ReMix, visit Judges Panel at the OCR Wiki knowledge base.

OCR gets two new judges!

CONGRATULATIONS TO PIXIETRICKS AND BIG GIANT CIRCLES! The two are now official OCR judges!
The two prominent remixers, pixietricks and Big Giant Circles, are quite well known. pixietricks, aka Jillian Goldin is currently in her third undergraduate year at the Peabody Conservatory. Big Giant Circles, aka Jimmy Hinson, was recently married a while ago. Congratulations to the two because they deserve it and are very, very good remixers who have set the bar high for incoming OCReMixers (heh, including myself ><).
Original Judge Congratulations Thread by zircon

pixietricks’ homepage
pixietricks’ OCReMixer profile

Big Giant Circles’ homepage
Big Giant Circles’ OCReMixer profile

OverClocked ReMix celebrates Mix #1500

Today OCReMix celebrates it’s 1500th remix (a djp tune at that), ChipAmp, a new torrent, and various other changes.

“We’re back. After a drought of mixes, a server migration, and months
of headaches and coordination, OCR01500 is upon us, and along with it
quite a few changes, some big, some small, to OverClocked ReMix in
general. Where to begin? About four months ago I was having a rough
time with “big life questions” and what not, and felt like I had
reached a point where I needed to decide where to focus my energy –
where to invest myself, if you will. I’ve always felt like I could
accomplish a lot if I put my mind to it, but I’ve never been 100% sure what
“it” should be, in other words. I looked at what I’d done and what I
felt I could do, and essentially decided that OverClocked ReMix was
still something I could pour my heart and soul into and feel good about.

That decision’s been vindicated by several events since then: we had a wonderful time at Video Games Live in Philly, our Otakon
panel went swimmingly, and we’ve had some generous donations that have
allowed us to migrate to our own dedicated servers for the first time
in the site’s seven-year history. I’m personally proud of what I’ve
been able to do for the site recently, and I’m just as proud of
everything our listeners and staff have done as well. Being on our own
server should give us a good deal more technical flexibility to
experiment with dynamic functionality, and we still plan to migrate our
forums to vbulletin soon, as well. We’re also looking into an
arrangement with eStarland.com to get reliable international shipping of OC ReMix T-shirts, hoodies, and bumper stickers running.”

Read more @ OverClocked ReMix.

OCReMix Downtime

First OverClocked ReMix was down because complications with ZTNet, and now DJP has decided to move off of ZTNet all together to avoid such problems in the future…
[19 August 20:29:47] zircon: ztnet has been the host of OCR for awhile
[19 August 20:30:04] zircon: but they’ve been a disappointment overall, and dave has been thinking about moving it to a new server and administrating the site himself
[19 August 20:30:13] zircon: previously, the ztnet guys (all two of them) had the ultimate access
[19 August 20:30:18] zircon: dave couldnt do anything about some issues
[19 August 20:30:20] zircon: but
[19 August 20:30:25] zircon: the site is going to be migrated to new servers
[19 August 20:30:27] zircon: hopefully between 48 hours
[19 August 20:30:32] zircon: dedicated one
[19 August 20:30:37] zircon: so that dave can have full control
[19 August 20:30:40] zircon: over shit like this
[19 August 20:30:45] zircon: the forums have to be backed up though
[19 August 20:30:54] zircon: and then the new server has to be configured
[19 August 20:31:19] zircon: so
[19 August 20:31:22] zircon: no, we’re not being attacked
[19 August 20:31:24] zircon: we didn’t get sued
[19 August 20:31:28] zircon: it’s just backend stuff 😛

OCR Pre-1500 Lockdown — 80+ Mixes removed!!!

Almost 24 hours ago (because it’s a bit over 12 am here), djpretzel posted a list that most certainly exposed scandals.

Over 80 mixes will be taken down before the release of the newly awaited torrents (thats right, torrents). Many things will be revamped. Tags are finally freakin’ fixed (you can probably tell that I’m picky about those things). Ormgas will take a hit. Why, might as well mention that apocalypse is near.
Take a look and see…it’s amazing to look at that list…you WILL probably find a mix that is one of your favorites, or will spur a memory because all of them are pre-1000.

I had some personal favorites in there including Bart Klepka’s Wanderer Flayer and Black Lodge’s Ocarina Boogie. Beatdrop’s Mortal Kombat Medley was the very first ocremix that I had ever listened to. Amazing. Just. Is. I can always remember (usually listening to Ormgas) hating Daknit’s songs, or realizing that cornflex (along with say…Astroboy, Ben Lewis, etc.) were simply the originals with some fancy stuff added. Hell, they didn’t even take the time to balance the volume for half the mixes.

We will remember you, OC_ReMoved…whether we hate you or not. All I can say is that I applaud djpretzel and the OCR panel for their great work. They have finally removed the worst and dysfunctional of the great OC ReMixes.

P.S.: cornflex and daknit were massively pwnt! no kidding! among many others too.

FORUM THREAD BY DJP – FULL CHANGELOG

HELP WANTED: OverClocked ReMix Staff Positions

OverClocked ReMix is looking for individuals to fill three staff positions.
Japanese Language Correspondent/Translator (2)

These two positions would be available to djpretzel, the judges panel,
and other OCR staff or project coordinators for translating material to
and from Japanese. Possible contexts would be contacting Japanese
composers for questions/interviews, translating site materials into
Japanese, translating submission emails made in Japanese, and
performing site-related research using Japanese websites.

We’re NOT looking for third or fourth-year Japanese students who
have a basic proficiency with spoken Japanese and hiragana/katakana
only. We’re looking for fluent readers & writers specifically, with
a strong grasp of Kanji, who can visit text-heavy Japanese websites and
without much effort know what’s being said. I don’t want to discourage
people *too* much, but I know that a lot of OCR visitors are anime
fans, like myself, who know at least a little “otaku” Japanese from
watching Evangelion, etc., and I want to be clear that we’re looking
for fluent readers and writers of the language. There may be some sort
of test involved, depending on interest.

Neither of these positions would require too much time/effort – it
would be intermittent, from month to month, probably going weeks or
months without any requests – but when a need does arise, we’d like a
couple dedicated, fluent folk interested in helping OCR out to be
available.

If you think you could fill one of these positions, contact [email protected].

T-Shirt Shipping Assistant (Southeast Michigan ONLY: Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter, Ypsilanti, etc.)

As some of you are (painfully) aware, we’ve been having problems
shipping shirts out on time. Part of this is because Zachary Williams,
who hosts OCR for free and runs the store from which the shirts are
sold, simply doesn’t have the time and resources to actually do the
shipping. He’s looking for an assistant in the Southeast Michigan area
that’d be willing to help ship things out as orders come in. This would
involve some traveling to his house and perhaps to the local shirt
store where the shirts are printed, preferably on a weekly or bi-weekly
basis.

Zach’s got more details if there’s anyone in the area that can help
us, and him, out. There’s a possibility of limited pay involved, but
certainly there’d be a free shirt or two, and some other goodies that
the ztnet store sells.

If you think you could fill this position, contact [email protected].