General VIP (and WAP) FAQs

Discussion in 'Playlists' started by Cats777, Mar 3, 2012.

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  1. Cats777 ┬─┬ノ( º _ ºノ)


    WTF is the VIP?

    The VIP is the "Vidya Intarweb Playlist" created and maintained solely by me, Cats777! The original purpose of the playlist was to showcase 100 of the greatest video game tracks ever made. That was before I actually listened to a number of soundtracks when I realized that wasn't going to happen. There are too many games with good tracks to be compressed down to just 100.

    So instead of it being just a top-100 list, the VIP aims to expose expose great video game music from old to new, from obscure to popular, from near and far, yadda yadda. Some people listen to the playlist for the nostalgia. Those tracks are not there primarily for the nostalgia factor, but to expose new gamers to what old video game melodies sounded like, be it through a remix or an original track. Not everyone likes bleep bloop, so I try to find remixes that would sound just as good or better than the original. Some people may be angered by music from games known to be contributing to a decline in video game quality. Those tracks are meant to expose to the haters that bad games don't have to have bad music.

    Some people skip over the tracks from obscure games(which is most of the playlist) and listen to their favorite tracks instead. This is why the playlist is force shuffled and will forever be force shuffled - to try and expose the hidden gems that have never been heard before. Listeners are encouraged to be open-minded and let the VIP play whatever it wants, unless it's really grating to the ears.

    The VIP sounds like every compilation ever. Why does the VIP exist when there are sites with entire video game soundtracks for download or sites that stream video game music?

    I've seen most of them. The difference is that they don't have what I have, which is a vast collection of obscure and/or indie video game music and remixes no one would have heard otherwise, all on a playlist with forced shuffle to ensure maximum exposure. If I had only music that people knew, the playlist would be pointless, since there are already a ton of them like that.

    If I've never heard of it, why should I listen to it?

    Because it's cool to discover new things! How would you know what kind of music you like without hearing it first? A prerequisite to listening to this playlist is to have an open mind, especially since the playlist covers a very diverse array of musical genres, from salsa to rutabaga. You don't have to listen to just your favorite tracks, but if you do, you're limiting yourself. Come for the tracks you know; stay for the tracks you don't.

    Alright, but how do I know the tracks are actually worth listening to?

    As a matter of fact, I have a strict set of rules (well, actually they're more like guidelines) that I follow.
    1. The track must sound interesting and good. An interesting track is something that stands out and contributes its own uniqueness or has a certain quirk. A good track is good, because you like it. ("You" being a broad term identifying most listeners) I always try to imagine what songs other people like. If I like to jam to a song, then I’d like to believe that others like to jam to it as well. However, there are songs in the playlist that even I don't like but were added because others convinced me to (it's popular to love it).
    2. The track must not be a medley containing more than 2 or 3 tracks, or a mashup spanning multiple games. You might already be familiar with the Source Edition of the playlist. It has all of the tracks from the original playlist, except the remixes have been replaced with their respective original source tracks. The few medley arrangements that are on the VIP only contain 2 or 3 tracks from the game, so I tend to add the best of those tracks on the Source Edition. The other tracks of the medley will be left out. They’re left out because the VIP and Source should generally be 1:1.
    3. The game must not already have 3 tracks. Yes, 3 tracks is the maximum I'm willing to add for each game. This is not only to keep the playlist concise, but to maintain quality. The playlist doesn't exist to make you listen to entire soundtracks of generic atmospheric lullabies; it only contains the best of each game, mostly lively and melodic. There are several exceptions to this rule in the playlist, but only because their soundtracks are that good.
    Obscurity may also play a part in my decision process. The more unpopular a game is, the more likely I'll add a track for it. I also tend to prefer melodic tracks over ambient tracks. No one wants to be bored out of their minds with too many ambient tracks.

    Your first rule is wrong! There are tracks in the playlist that I hate and I'm sure others hate as well! Why don’t you remove them?

    One of the beauties of this playlist(and another difference from other playlists and compilations) is that it's adaptable and always changing. I try to keep the average quality high while trying to deliver new content. Based on how many people dislike a certain track, I will decide whether or not to "Exile" it. The unfortunate track will not be permanently removed, but moved to the Exiled Edition of the playlist, which covers tracks that haven’t quite made it or are there because I feel like sharing them. If the track in question is the only track that represents the game and the game is not very popular, it will be quite difficult to remove, because it will be severely limiting its exposure.

    You say it's always changing, but why are updates so rare and only a few songs get added in each update?

    OK, you got me there. Whenever I screen a game for music, I will most likely listen to the entire soundtrack. I don't want to miss any hidden gems. Hopefully, through the process of elimination, I'll get it down to 6 or less good tracks. 1 to 3 best tracks will make it to the VIP. The other 1 to 3 not-so-worthy tracks will be "Exiled".

    Most of the time, I'll get a really good track that gets added immediately. Then, I'd listen to maybe 10 other tracks a thousand times until they click. This is what takes up most of the time - deciding which tracks to add from a pool of seemingly mediocre tracks. The tracks' YouTube popularity helps with the decision process sometimes.

    That's some crazy dedication you got there. But why are there no songs from X game that should have been there already?

    Quite possibly because I haven't gotten to it yet in my long backlog of soundtracks to be screened. If the soundtrack is from a popular RPG, it won't have as much a priority. RPGs are a bitch to screen for good music, because their soundtracks are almost always hundreds of tracks long with many of those being filler/ambient tracks.

    I almost never see people asking why there's no music from obscure games (probably because the VIP already has most of it). If I do get requests for not-so-popular games, they will get a high priority on my backlog, assuming it has some good music.

    You mentioned a "Source Edition" and an "Exiled Edition" of the playlist. Where are they and are there any more?

    The Source Edition is located here. Again, it contains all the tracks from the original playlist, except all the remixes are replaced by their source tracks.
    The Exiled Edition is located here. Note: The Exiled playlist contains a lot of strange tracks and listening to it regularly is not recommended, unless you're curious.
    There's also the Mellow Edition, which is pretty self-explanatory. It plays mellow tunes coupled with the calming sound of rain.
    If you don't want the VIP to autostart, there's vip-nostart.swf.

    Being a l33t h4x0r, I found the super-secret place where you keep all the streaming tracks. M4A? AAC? WTF?

    Congrats on finding it. Just so you know, all IP addresses that have accessed that directory are automatically forwarded to my super team of samurai cops who will drown you in pools of their bad acting.

    Assuming you live, I will now explain the strange audio format. All of the audio are in AAC format(M4A files), because it has a better compression quality than the standard MP3 format. In other words, an AAC track will generally sound better than an MP3 track of the same file size. Using MP3s would rape my bandwidth and would still sound worse than AAC.

    I know all about AAC, you dingus! But it's way worse than OGG, which is the best format for streaming. Why not use OGG? Be part of the OGG master race!

    I could have used OGG. In fact, I've always wanted to use OGG, but there's one really simple problem: Flash can't into OGG. I don't think it's even possible for Flash to play OGG without using some superfluous hack that I probably wouldn't understand how to use.

    Why are some tracks so damn loud while others I can barely hear? I have to be forced to use that tiny-ass volume control on the player.

    I actually do use a volume "normalization" program called AACGain(a modified version of MP3Gain) to automatically "normalize" the volumes for each track, so listeners don't have to change the volume if a track happened to be too low or high. Unfortunately, it works badly in some respects. Orchestrated tracks are sometimes lower than usual, and chiptune tracks may make your ears bleed. I can possibly fix the barely audible tracks when I have time. With the chiptune ear-rape, there's something I can do, but it requires too much trial-and-error, so I'll just leave those alone.

    There's something that's been bothering me. I see your playlist all over the place, and I'm getting sick of it. Do you do any advertising? If so, can you stop?

    The only times I've advertised any of my playlists were when I initially posted them on 4chan /f/. From there, they started to gradually gain some traction, especially the VIP. I knew that a unique Flash-based playlist such as the VIP would somehow become really popular, so I let it proliferate on its own and would just simply observe its progress through the statistics page. And proliferate it did. It's been constantly posted on /v/ and a multitude of other video-game-related sites in multiple countries. It exploded in popularity when pro-gamers began to stream with it. MrBitter, a famous SC2 caster, was one of the first ones I've noticed to use the playlist. Other pro-gamers soon followed. Those who have been known to stream with the VIP are HuK, Polt, Scarra, and NaNiwa. It has quite possibly become the unofficial playlist of E-sports. A game developer also admitted to listening to the playlist while working on BrowserQuest, the first MMORPG in HTML5.

    I can't get it to stop spreading even if I tried, unless it gets completely shut down.

    Shut up, you show-off. Now I want to steal your idea. How do I make a Flash playlist like this? What's your secret?

    I had a genie that fulfilled my every wish. I wished for a good Flash audio player, and the genie gave me JWPlayer. It was version 3.16 at the time and that's what I used. I wished for the knowledge of basic XML and Flash, and the genie granted me with the bare-minimum ability to customize the source code to my liking. I wished for a good ear and a good taste in music, and the genie awarded me with TWO good ears but, in turn, gave me some low standards. Really, have you listened to some of the tracks in the playlist? You probably think some of them are quite awful.

    And those were my wishes. After the genie was freed from his lamp and we went our separate ways, I realized I could have just wished for the playlist directly. Damn it.

    Going a bit off-topic here, WTF is the WAP?

    The "Weeaboo Animu Playlist" is another playlist created by me. It's pretty much like VIP, except it contains music from anime. It gets updated about once a year, because I don't watch anime.

    Oh, OK.

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