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The Evolution of OCR


Bahamut
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At first I thought this thread would be about the evolution of the overall site, as opposed to specifically the music on it. Both are interesting topics to me; the former I've been pouring loads of effort into for the last 2-3 years especially, the latter has always been an ongoing interest.

First of all, it's definitely rather meta to have nostalgia for the early days of a community that in large part focuses on nostalgia itself, but this is the beauty of the Internet. For some folks, the grass will always be greener - I remember Larry pointing me to a livejournal rant of sorts by former regular endblink where he complained that we never posted any Sega mixes any more. Statistically, he was dead wrong, which Larry pointed out, but his counter was that it didn't SEEM like there were as many Sega mixes any more, IIRC, because the overall music had changed in some intangible and unquantifiable way.

For my part, I think there are still plenty of mixes that capture the imagination, that may not have extreme polish or sheen but which more than compensate in charm. Heineken and Hazy Place come to mind recently; El Lagarto completely innovated on all levels and deserved even more attention than the considerable amount it received. There are still quirky tracks that only appeal to some, but they might be a bit fewer and further between. However, between them are mixes that absolutely blow me away on both production AND arrangement. I think there's been a rising trend - silly, in my opinion - to dismiss anything that sounds amazing as being weak on arrangement, as if the two were necessarily inversely related. Part of the whole "OCR are gearheads" argument, where unless you employ gigasamples, we hate your guts, etc. To some metal heads, we're technophiles that have a never-ending love affair with boom-tiss. To some electronica artists, we wouldn't know trance if it came up and kicked us in the ass, and have weak stomachs for repetition and presets.

We used to spend a lot of time talking about "raising the bar", and I think we accomplished that goal a couple years ago. Every once in awhile we refine our standards, but we haven't revised their core tenets in a long time. I personally wouldn't want to see the bar raised any further; I think we've hit a happy medium that keeps quality high but still allows for mixes that color way outside the lines and/or ignore traditional production/arrangement norms. Musically, I think things are pretty damn awesome right now. I've got a penchant for vocal mixes and would still like to see more, but overall there's a wealth of ideas coming from different artists with different perspectives, and everyone seems to be improving, learning, and - as the post title puts it - evolving.

As for evolution of the site... little by little, I've been making changes. You've seen some of them already, some of them are right around the corner, and others... not quite DNF territory, but they'll definitely be ready "when they're ready". I've been more open & receptive to advice from others, Larry's made some good suggestions, and I feel like we're on the right track in several areas.

OC ReMix 5.0 is essentially being worked on, in other words. It will leave some processes and issues unaddressed, is virtually guaranteed to get a knee-jerk negative reaction from some, will certainly leave room for further improvement, and will most likely be rolled out in pieces, not all at the same time. Spoilers? As it stands at the moment, we'll probably be killing the sidebar. We will expect - nay, demand - a moment of silence from all, if indeed it is honorably discharged. We'll work on enhancing search & filtering capabilities and moving the quick search to a more prominent location. I hate buzzwords and the whole "2.0" moniker is way overplayed, but some of those core concepts - usability, simplicity, and grace - will be part of what I'm shooting for, design-wise. I'd like to make chiptunes easier to find, so we'll probably be moving those around a bit. I'd like to kill our non-SEO, proprietary DHTML drop-down menus in favor of something home-grown and more powerful. We still need to integrate the workshop skills/collab info with artist profiles, and vBulletin blogs will still happen in some form or another.

That's the tip of the iceberg, really, but I thought it was worth divulging. At some point we'll start a thread for ideas/suggestions, with the caveat that certain things have already been decided and we can't expand the scope too far, or nothing will ever get done.

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Hahahahaha, there's some truth to this, unfortunately.

I miss the blue scheme from when I first joined, myself.

There's definitely some truth to it. That's why we'll be deploying the updated design independent of some of the other elements we're working on. Basically, the "5.0" design will be implemented well before a lot of the "5.0" features. From past observation, when you do both at the same time, the features get completely lost, and everyone just talks about the design regardless.

Also, sorry to perhaps disappoint, but the new design will be aesthetically based on the existing design. It's more of a re-imagining of the current look than a whole new look, which I think makes sense.

Whats wrong with the sidebar?

In my opinion, for a good long while, nothing whatsoever. However, with albums and interviews and all this new content, we're trying to do more with the space provided at 1024x768, and the sidebar does impede on horizontal real estate. Right now the site is kinda "navigation happy" - sidebar on far left, horizontal tabs, AND the DHTML drop-downs. That was done primarily because we needed SEO-friendly nav as the DHTML simply wasn't, hence sidebar. If we can get some better, SEO-friendly drop-down navigation, sidebar does become somewhat superfluous. That's my current thinking, at least.

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This site's music is extremely kickass. In fact, when a couple of my remixes were rejected, I learned to raise my own bar and make music to the maximum. I won't lie, I was annoyed when my mixes didn't get in, but when I listened to the newest mixes and saw what was wrong with mine, it became obvious that OCRemix has a name to make for itself, and that mainstream doesn't regard quality the way this community does. Although a lot of the older tracks are kept as a momento rather than a "standard of quality", it serves the purpose of showing how OCRemix has grown as a community.

It's all about the music, and for me, it'll always be that way. really, OCRemix changed my life. Sounds funny, but I am serious. I am so glad that I developed my musical knowledge in a way

I mean, c'mon. play that Zircon song someone posted, then play what I just posted.

Lord God, no.

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In my opinion, for a good long while, nothing whatsoever. However, with albums and interviews and all this new content, we're trying to do more with the space provided at 1024x768, and the sidebar does impede on horizontal real estate. Right now the site is kinda "navigation happy" - sidebar on far left, horizontal tabs, AND the DHTML drop-downs. That was done primarily because we needed SEO-friendly nav as the DHTML simply wasn't, hence sidebar. If we can get some better, SEO-friendly drop-down navigation, sidebar does become somewhat superfluous. That's my current thinking, at least.

Well, if you're looking for ways to free up space, you could get rid of whatever's on the index page thats been causing the site to come up very slowly for me for the last couple months. :P

I totally mean that as a joke, btw, but wouldn't complain if you did. :)

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Hahahahaha, there's some truth to this, unfortunately.

I miss the blue scheme from when I first joined, myself.

I had achieved a full reskin from OCR4 to OCR3 at one point, but it has since rotted because I haven't been updating it to the sites new changes, HOWEVER...

I'm looking over it now, and I might be able to fix it with minimal effort.

Edit:

This is about as good as you get for now. Apparently I had already fixed vBulletin to look more like OCR3, but they're pretty broken now too. Going over it now. No ETA yet, though.

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I also do think that it's sad that a lot of 'no resubs' don't take the time to fix up otherwise awesome mixes.

But they said "no resub"!

OC ReMix 5.0 is essentially being worked on, in other words. It will leave some processes and issues unaddressed, is virtually guaranteed to get a knee-jerk negative reaction from some, will certainly leave room for further improvement, and will most likely be rolled out in pieces, not all at the same time. Spoilers? As it stands at the moment, we'll probably be killing the sidebar. We will expect - nay, demand - a moment of silence from all, if indeed it is honorably discharged. We'll work on enhancing search & filtering capabilities and moving the quick search to a more prominent location. I hate buzzwords and the whole "2.0" moniker is way overplayed, but some of those core concepts - usability, simplicity, and grace - will be part of what I'm shooting for, design-wise. I'd like to make chiptunes easier to find, so we'll probably be moving those around a bit. I'd like to kill our non-SEO, proprietary DHTML drop-down menus in favor of something home-grown and more powerful. We still need to integrate the workshop skills/collab info with artist profiles, and vBulletin blogs will still happen in some form or another.

Also the whole thing will be procedurally generated by a combination of XSLT, 6NF database schemas, and pixie dust.

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I have to say, I take great offense at the title of this thread.

To reflect everyone's views, it should be retitled "The THEORY of the evolution of ocr"

evolution has never been proven

Thank you.:nicework:

As for this thread, it's going to start flame wars, or even more bickering...

The only thing I'll say is this, the tech for making mixes has vastly improved, so of course mixes are going to sound better, I refuse to debate the "golden era" of OCR, because I frequent this site on a regular basis, and still consistently find good mixes I enjoy.

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(You'll reach the point of my post eventually. I promise.)

This is awful, I know, but I don't listen to a lot of the newer mixes because they just don't interest me... because remixes of games I've played and loved are intrinsically interesting to me, and most of the games I'm nostalgic about haven't been remixed much lately.

That's not to say I don't listen to newer remixes, or that I've never given any a chance, or that I don't like any remixes of non-familiar sources. I usually give every new remix a listen to evaluate it, and see if it interests me - most of the time, it doesn't. Sometimes it does. Sometimes I hear a remix of a source tune I've never heard before and I have to have every remix of it (Jenova, IceCap, etc).

Point: Yeah, the music of OCR has changed over time - most notably concerning production as of late, but it hasn't really affected me since I am partial remixes that happen to be older. I don't care about quality so much as how interesting the music is to me, and to me, the newer stuff isn't interesting.

To that end, I think there need to be other avenues for sharing remixes that conform to standards slightly below that of OCR that is nearly as popular. R:TS comes to mind. Or.. I guess this should wait for the suggestions thread, but maybe there should be a way of posting and sorting work-in-progresses in a similar database of games / OSTs as actual posted remixes.. That would be some useful "evolution" on the site design front.

And damn, someone beat me to mentioning El Legarto...

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I had achieved a full reskin from OCR4 to OCR3 at one point, but it has since rotted because I haven't been updating it to the sites new changes, HOWEVER...

I'm looking over it now, and I might be able to fix it with minimal effort.

Edit:

This is about as good as you get for now. Apparently I had already fixed vBulletin to look more like OCR3, but they're pretty broken now too. Going over it now. No ETA yet, though.

WHOA THAT BRINGS BACK MEMORIES!!! Damn I forgot what the site looked like back then.

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I think it's only natural to think that things have evolved somewhat over the years. Interestingly enough, one of my favorite mixes, "Registration4" was posted in 2001 (I had to look that up, thought it was more 2003), it's probably one of the simplest mixes on the site, but it certainly has a certain charm to it.

I do wonder if something similar to it would get accepted these days, but, if it didn't, at least the mixes of the past remain to remind us of how things all started. These days there are a lot of very professional sounding mixes, tempered with some... more interesting takes, a couple of which are at the forefront of the site now with Zelda Heineken and the CT percussion mix.

The way I see it OCR has gotten a lot more popular over the years, I haven't posted here a ton but I have followed the site from the early days, and when I think about what I thought about it then, which was basically, "a site where some pretty cool video game remixes are posted", to now, which is more "a community of people with a passion for video game music and a massive vault of remix goodness," I'm glad that it has become what it is.

Some friends of mine that don't really come to the site at all have come to love certain mixes that I've directed them to, and are on the edge of their seats anticipating the upcoming FFIV album just as much as myself. A few years ago if I'd told them about "the upcoming OCR album" they'd have probably just shrugged, but now, the OCR name carries some weight.

In short, I'd say yeah, things have evolved, but it's all been in a positive, logical direction if you ask me.

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My opinion? Current OCR music is striving too hard to be mainstream sounding; video game tracks are meant to be innovative and unique, yet we hear a lot of them being turned into cliche genres, with overly predictable progressions. Sure, OCR is getting better soundwise and so forth, but as the years pass the soul wanes.

No idea where he's getting this from; an overall ROFL quote if I do say so myself.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this for my own sake (as I'm aware I'm still a nub) - I'm saying this for the other great tracks that get NO (resubmit) but then never get resubmitted because the artists are either burnt out, or too pissed off to attempt them again. A lot of good stuff gets rejected...a lot of it over asinine, over-done subjectivity.

While the judge's opinions are subjective, people who just give up because of an objection or a NO are people who will never improve as musicians due to their refusal to take constructive criticism.

It's even lamer when we know that the head judge can't even compose, yet he has the audacity to critique other people - and his taste in music is a bit...well...tasteless. You guys know who I'm speaking of.

While one may lack the imagination to compose original melodies, one can still have the ability to point out notable production flaws, the overall structure of the song, such as transitions and how well original melodies fit, and whether a remix is too distant or too close to the source material. Is it not the listener's opinion that matters the most? (to an extent, anyway)

In fact, if Thasauce and VGmix were still kicking, I wouldn't even be lurking in these forums and I know that many others think the same way.

Hell...and I still wonder who hacked VGmix? Perhaps DJP had a vested interest in doing so...no?

uh...I thought Prot hacked VGmix? Or was that just a joke?

Regardless, I feel like this is a feeble attempt to stir up flames of some sort, which resulted in his effective ban.

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The way I see it OCR has gotten a lot more popular over the years, I haven't posted here a ton but I have followed the site from the early days, and when I think about what I thought about it then, which was basically, "a site where some pretty cool video game remixes are posted", to now, which is more "a community of people with a passion for video game music and a massive vault of remix goodness," I'm glad that it has become what it is.

Some friends of mine that don't really come to the site at all have come to love certain mixes that I've directed them to, and are on the edge of their seats anticipating the upcoming FFIV album just as much as myself. A few years ago if I'd told them about "the upcoming OCR album" they'd have probably just shrugged, but now, the OCR name carries some weight.

In short, I'd say yeah, things have evolved, but it's all been in a positive, logical direction if you ask me.

Since the thread's basically about the musical evolution of the site, I pretty much agree with what ZealPath said above.

As far as Hoboka's complaints about my judging, "meh." Obviously, a few people would think that a non-musician's critique is invalid, but that's an ignorant POV that I don't take personally. The only complaint I ever take personally is accusations of bias or favoritism, which I've never done. Also, how would he know my taste in music at all? I didn't realize Tim Follin was so bad for me. Also to Epitaph, not that I'm mad about the inference at all, but I don't "lack the imagination to compose original melodies", I just lack the ability to implement any ideas I have. :lol:

Also, while I'm sure we have some people who don't resubmit promising submissions because they're upset, I'd wager the majority of people unfamiliar with the submission system simply aren't aware of the status of their song. While I'd personally love to contact everyone on the status of their subs, that's only something that'll come with 1) me catching up on the submissions inbox and 2) having the additional free time to then mail everyone on whether their mix passed/didn't pass/was chosen for direct posted. That'll be a great perk that will increase communication with the artists, and we already have form letters for all those circumstances, so just cross your fingers I can catch up again. But it won't be for a while.

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What the hell is with you guys and saying the new songs don't have any soul? Who are you to say the song has no soul when you're not even the one that made the song? I've read that from a couple people now and to me, that's a form of discouragement to future remixers. I feel you guys really have no say so in judging if a song has "soul" or not because really, it's all based on the remixer. They can pour their heart and soul into a mix hoping that everyone will like it but then you'll get some people that claim the song has no "soul" that's just retarded. And you (Not the last guy but everyone in general) make it sound like that the older songs had nothing but bangers when you get some flops in there as well just like the newer stuff.

In regards to the evolution of OCR, I haven't been here long so I don't really have anything to say about the community, but listening to a lot of the older stuff, on a production side the music has evolved greatly but I don't feel the songs lack any more fun or soul to them than the older remixes and I don't think we should be judging how much "soul" a song has anyway, if it's good it's good, if it's bad then it's bad just my 5 cents anyway.

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Listening to Protricity's Brainsick Metal is what got me interested in making music and thus the creation of my forum account here.

I'd say the site has evolved a good amount over the years. I feel getting your songs on this site has obviously become much harder than it was in 2003. That said, OCR has also earned the respect of numerous proven composers in that time as well. I still am awed that Jeremy Soule took the time to contribute to the site (if you've not heard his Final Fantasy III (US) remix, do so).

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While the judge's opinions are subjective, people who just give up because of an objection or a NO are people who will never improve as musicians due to their refusal to take constructive criticism.

Yeah, that basically breaks down what I was trying to say in a nutshell. It's not the J's fault that people don't resub their stuff, it's the composers fault.

Don't be hatin' the J's...

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