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:
- Users should be able to upload their own tracks, freely, whenever they want. This includes completed tracks and works-in-progress (or WIPs).
- Users should be able to provide feedback to each other for the above tracks.
- Users should be able to host impromptu compos on demand.
- 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.”
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:
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.