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djpretzel

FEEDBACK NEEDED: Submission Standards Revision

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Current:

http://www.ocremix.org/info/Submission_Standards_and_Instructions

Revision (Draft):

http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dd8pdm8j_36n4w2qc

I personally felt that the current standards were unnecessarily long, inconsistently formatted, and overly complex, and recently worked a good deal on revising them for clarity, simplicity, and length. I received feedback from Larry specifically and the judges panel as a whole, and revised accordingly based on that input. Basically, this is wordsmithing - there aren't major policy changes to the actual standards themselves - but nevertheless we wanted to make the revised draft available for public comment before putting it in place.

Hopefully you'll agree that it's cleaner and clearer; if there are parts you think remain fuzzy, please let us know. Do understand that some of the wording almost has to be a little subjective, as the process itself involves subjectivity, but on the more objective criteria and instructions, if anything is unclear we'd like to improve it.

We're NOT looking for a debate on the actual standards criteria themselves.

That's for another time and another place, and we're pretty darn sure we like what we have. But we do want to make sure what we have is also as clear as it can be. We're interested in translating this document into other languages, so a cleaner and clearer revision will also facilitate that process.

Please let us know what you think about the revision.

Thanks,

-djp

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two things i noticed whilst taking a quick lookthru of the new version.

under number 3...Acceptable source material

"Sound effects alone are not considered music, and submissions consisting of them will not be accepted."

i assume this means that the whole "remix" would be entirely made of sound effects ala the counterstrike remixes that were removed long ago, not only because there was no music in the games but because these were all sound effects. maybe it would help to clarify this with adding entire to the sentence?

under number 4...Arrangement

"3. The source material must be identifiable and dominant.

* Arrangement must not completely modify the source material beyond recognition.

* The amount of arranged source material must be substantial enough to be recognized."

do the two bullets need to be there, they seem redundant? or am i just not clear to the difference between them?

just a couple things that caught my eye. everything else seems much better then the previous version.

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under number 4...Arrangement

"3. The source material must be identifiable and dominant.

* Arrangement must not completely modify the source material beyond recognition.

* The amount of arranged source material must be substantial enough to be recognized."

do the two bullets need to be there, they seem redundant? or am i just not clear to the difference between them?

just a couple things that caught my eye. everything else seems much better then the previous version.

No, they are a bit different, legalese speaking. The first one is straightforward, in regards to keeping the main material recognizable when present. The second one refers to that the presence of source material must be prevelent enough for the song to be recognizable. The second point is addressing that having the chorus of the source material in the song for only five seconds of the whole song isn't acceptable, even if it's taken note for note. In simpler terms, part two is referring to the importance of the source material in the remix itself, not the amount of liberties of which is taken with it.

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Using common presets, relying heavily on prerecorded loops, or employing nothing but basic tones or "chiptunes" is discouraged.

I feel that the "using common presets" part can sound a little intimidating, especially with software that has highly sophisticated presets like Reason, Garritan, Kontakt, etc. It could encourage artists to avoid using sawtooth, square or any other common sound that is used in many remixes (and commercial songs) effectively. The rest is fine, and a big upgrade.

I could translate it to French if you want me to.

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I feel that the "using common presets" part can sound a little intimidating, especially with software that has highly sophisticated presets like Reason, Garritan, Kontakt, etc. It could encourage artists to avoid using sawtooth, square or any other common sound that is used in many remixes (and commercial songs) effectively. The rest is fine, and a big upgrade.

I could translate it to French if you want me to.

Indeed. I use Reason Orkester presets very often, maybe spicing it up with reverb. Sounds amazing. I think rephrasing that would be the thing to do.

EDIT: Also, nice to see a european remixer :) hey PriZm

EDIT2: I must also add I agree with Hemophiliacs point about sound effects. Using sound effects in a remix while also arranging a valid source tune is not only fun but an interesting part of a remix. So it should, as Hemophiliac pointed out, be made clear that sound effects are not BANNED as a remix element.

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THIS I dislike: "Games that are shareware, freeware, or personal projects may or may not be accepted at our discretion; we strongly recommend arranging titles released commercially to avoid any problems."

It spits on the underground gaming world and all the composers out there. Composers who are much like us and have the same dreams. Why shouldn't they get some credit? Make so it's okay as long as the game is avaliable on the internet for everyone.

sorry for sounding harsh but hell, Open Source and Freeware games are one of the most beautiful things about the internet and devoted gamers. Don't look down on a labour made entirely out of love.

Any non-commercial game needs to have a wide distribution and notariety before it can be accepted, a la Cave Story or Perfect Cherry Blossom. Otherwise, anyone could make a mini-game, give it to 5 people, then someone could arrange the soundtrack and it's allowable. As it's said, gauging these factors is at our discretion. It doesn't say those games are disallowed. The above wording is perfectly fine as is, as we've clearly accepted mixes from games that aren't traditional commercial releases.

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Any non-commercial game needs to have a wide distribution and notariety before it can be accepted, a la Cave Story or Perfect Cherry Blossom. Otherwise, anyone could make a mini-game, give it to 5 people, then someone could arrange the soundtrack and it's allowable. As it's said, gauging these factors is at our discretion. It doesn't say those games are disallowed. The above wording is perfectly fine as is, as we've clearly accepted mixes from games that aren't traditional commercial releases.

Then I feel like I have to ask, what's a wide distribution in the judges eyes?

Also, yeah, I was overreacting a bit. Since English is not my first language I have a hard time getting the exact meaning of that wording in to my head it seems ;P but I still wonder the above

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Then I feel like I have to ask, what's a wide distribution in the judges eyes?

Also, yeah, I was overreacting a bit. Since English is not my first language I have a hard time getting the exact meaning of that wording in to my head it seems ;P but I still wonder the above

No problem. In terms of "wide distribution," checking the chatter of the internet (Google search, Wikipedia, blogs, YouTube) is basically the best way of researching how well-known the game is.

two things i noticed whilst taking a quick lookthru of the new version.

under number 3...Acceptable source material

"Sound effects alone are not considered music, and submissions consisting of them will not be accepted."

i assume this means that the whole "remix" would be entirely made of sound effects ala the counterstrike remixes that were removed long ago, not only because there was no music in the games but because these were all sound effects. maybe it would help to clarify this with adding entire to the sentence?

under number 4...Arrangement

"3. The source material must be identifiable and dominant.

* Arrangement must not completely modify the source material beyond recognition.

* The amount of arranged source material must be substantial enough to be recognized."

do the two bullets need to be there, they seem redundant? or am i just not clear to the difference between them?

just a couple things that caught my eye. everything else seems much better then the previous version.

For the sound effects portion, perhaps "primarily consisting of." But the sentence as-is with the word consisting means "entirely made of" sound effects, not an arrangement supplemented by sound effects. But if it looks ambiguous, perhaps we can revise that with a word or two.

For the recognizability portion, it's a little redudant, but is meant to further qualify the statements, especially in terms of going too liberal. djp can weigh in on it, as we had a third bullet as well that turned out to be redundant and decided to axe it.

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No problem. In terms of "wide distribution," checking the chatter of the internet (Google search, Wikipedia, blogs, YouTube) is basically the best way of researching how well-known the game is.

Good :) I feel satisfied with that answer.

Thanks for taking your time mate

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I don't mean to contest the rule, but is there any particular reason there's a limit to 192kbps mp3s, and what of vbr mp3s?

So long as the file remains under 6mb, does the bitrate really matter that much?

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Changes are in bold:

Sound effects alone are not considered music, and submissions consisting primarily of them will not be accepted.

To help clarify that sound effects are perfectly fine additions to ReMixes, they just can't be the focus.

Overusing common presets, relying heavily on prerecorded loops, or employing nothing but basic tones or "chiptunes" is discouraged.

"Overusing" instead of "using" should help clarify that simply using a Reason preset won't disqualify your mix. I use presets all the time. What we're referring to is a mix that consists entirely of unaltered and very common presets. Also, we're using the word "discouraged" here specifically because doing this won't get your mix rejected 100% of the time - if everything else is amazing and you've used nothing but FL presets, your mix may still pass.

Good feedback.

Pascal, we'd definitely be interested in a French translation. I'm PM you soon; we'll want to wait until the document is finalized.

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Great changes djp.

I can also, together with GeckoYamori maybe, do a Swedish translation if you're interested. We are a few swedes around and more to come.

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I find it to be clear and understandable, good work.

And again, I offer my help to translate any document to spanish, it's my first language.

Keep up the good work.

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"Movie themes such as Star Wars or licensed songs from the Need for Speed games do not qualify."

This could be clearer I think, something like "Movie themes and licensed music (e.g. the Star Wars theme or the Need for Speed soundtrack) do not qualify." As it is now it could be taken literally as only the Need for Speed soundtrack wouldn't qualify, but other licensed music would.

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I know you all (DJP, judges) must have considered this before, but I don't know what you think about it:

The last thing you want to do is discourage people, but, in an effort to help people understand how their song may compare to the standards, perhaps you should advise prospecting ReMixers to take a look at the sea of past decisions and mention how few mixes make it to the panel and from there how few pass. Whether this is edited into this document or somewhere else, I think there needs to be a general, "save both you and us some unnecessary work and take the time to really get a feel for the standards because statistically many many people have not (!)"

The present document is focused on almost exclusively on standards and procedure, but the instructions section on the draft starts to branch out into some advice. Perhaps something of the above could be included there, or maybe it could be part of some headline pushing people to pay more attention.

(Btw, having had 3 mixes rejected myself, I'm in no way pointing a finger at everyone who has gotten a mix rejected. Obviously a lot of people do there homework and do there best to meet the standards, but as I understand it there are hordes who don't even come close.)

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I want to sit here now and give you a full blown dissertation on what I think of the updating of the standards, read; wordsmithing.

Anyway, I'm not going to do that. Instead, I just want to say that the standards a lot easier to read in their newer form, and that while some might disagree with the way some of them have been worded, it just seems to me it's easier to control content through the submission guidelines.

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Patrick makes a good point; if we worded it delicately, we could probably convince some people to really get an idea of what the standards are before submitting.

The submissions process is a great way to get feedback, but I sometimes wonder if more people would actually rework their stuff if it weren't, in effect, rejected first. I put so many "please resubmit"'s on my NO's, and a rare few actually come back. Maybe we could do something with the WIP forums to ensure that people are getting good, consistent feedback for their experience level. A way to entice more people to use the resource? Appoint some people as official WIP-helpers, in addition to whoever wishes to contribute?

Anyway, this is a little off-topic for the thread. I may bring it up in j-disc.

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The source material must be identifiable and dominant.
  • Arrangement must not completely modify the source material beyond recognition.
  • The amount of arranged source material must be substantial enough to be recognized.

from reading the judge's decision threads it **seems** to me this guideline doesn't go far enough. that is different than "recognizable" or even "dominant". my perception is that a remix must demonstrate some semblance of a connection with the source at all times. instances where this has not been fulfilled entirely have resulted in needed revisions (club showdown), near-rejections (rhodes to the past), and being partially responsible for outright removals (strolling the mines).

precise wording as to how you feel on the issue would be helpful above and beyond the clauses in the current draft.

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I'm concerned about a couple things I've seen mentioned in several decisions, but never formally outlined in the submission guidelines; namely, minimum length and encoding rate. I feel that ReMixers should be aware that arrangements under a certain length (around 1:30 from what I've seen) are very unlikely to be accepted. Likewise for submissions encoded at 64kbps or lower. Or maybe it's already been addressed and I missed it.

I also advocate drawing a stronger distinction between the traditional and OCR definitions of "arrangement" and "remixing," as they are significantly different from each other. Although the OCR definition of arrangement could probably be inferred from the appropriate section, I didn't find any mention or warning against extensive sampling, i.e. traditional "remixing."

Again, if I've missed something, I apologize.

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I agree that there should be a SHORT mention that many submissions do not follow the submission guidelines and are DJP rejected or No Overrided.

The revised rules are still 1,200 words. That's almost five term paper pages, without paragraphing (~250 words/page). It'd be nice to try and limit that a LOT so that people can both understand the quality necessary, but also not be daunted by the guidelines size.

That's what I'm about to do right now (gimme some time).

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from reading the judge's decision threads it **seems** to me this guideline doesn't go far enough. that is different than "recognizable" or even "dominant". my perception is that a remix must demonstrate some semblance of a connection with the source at all times. instances where this has not been fulfilled entirely have resulted in needed revisions (club showdown), near-rejections (rhodes to the past), and being partially responsible for outright removals (strolling the mines).

If "at all times" you mean a ReMix has to be arranging from the source material at any point in the track no matter what, that's completely wrong. That would leave no leeway for original writing/sections.

Club Showdow: That was our mistake in the first place. Once BGC gave a breakdown along with a comparison MP3, the connections were apparent, plus his revisions did more in the first part to connect the arrangement to the original.

Rhodes to the Past: More of a case of being too close than being unconnected.

Strolling the Mines: The original additions would have been fine if the melody itself hadn't been near-verbatim and the instrumentation hadn't been practically the same as the original.

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If they should be mentioned instead in the submission writeup, please indicate that.
I'd like this to be changed for "If they should be mentioned in the submission writeup instead, please indicate that in the submission e-mail."
The music must have actually been used in the game; a bonus track off a commercial game soundtrack does not qualify.
There's a really good song in the Mega Man: Wily's Revenge gbs that doesn't play anywhere in the game - but it's in the game data, on the actual game cartridge - like the notorious hot coffee mod. What's the verdict on material such as this?
The Tetris soundtrack, containing Russian folk music, is the only exception.
What if we, later on, realize that a well-known song from a well-known game, covered in an OCremix, is actually not an original song for the game, but rather, a folk song? Will the rules be updated or will the remix be removed?
Arrangement must not completely modify the source material beyond recognition.
Sentence does not feel professional. Removing "completely" would help, but then it would sound like original material isn't welcome. I think these two bullets should be replaced by a sentence or two that explains that original material is welcome, but that anyone who knows the source material should be able to tell that the remix is a remix of that source song without being told beforehand that the remix is in fact a remix of that song.

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I don't think that's a legitimate criterion for determining the validity of a ReMix. A lot of people can't identify the source for my Chrono Trigger arrangement on first listen. Actually for that matter, some people can't identify the source period, even after being told what it is. :P And yet if you pay attention, you'll realize there's a direct 1-to-1 correspondence between the arrangement and the source.

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