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  #1  
Old Dec 19, 2009, 10:15 AM
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quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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Default Winners of the competition

I'm pleased to announce the winners of Composition Combat. Without further ado, here are the winners:

6.6412 Etiolating Shade
4.7826 Decimation
4.5972 Certain Uncertainty v1.0
4.3077 Carystas
3.9615 Absit Omen
3.7667 Dread March
3.3125 Post-Apocalyptic Game Theme
2.9545 V.A.L.K.Y.R.S
2.0417 NuN's Chaostry - New Hope
1.8421 Android

Congratulations to KiddCabbage, who won the competition. Second place goes to Muuurgh, who earns a free game. dabeat11 was the only person to submit more than one revision of a song into the competition, so she wins $30.

There are several files available online for those who would like to analyze the statistics:

-http://www.shoemakervillage.org/results/cc - average ratings.csv: the results listed above
-http://www.shoemakervillage.org/results/cc - average ratings without 1s and 7s.csv - the ratings when the 1s and 7s are dropped from the results
-http://www.shoemakervillage.org/results/cc - ratings count.csv: the number of each type of rating for each song (these results are aggregated, so that IP addresses and other information isn't revealed)
-http://www.shoemakervillage.org/results/cc - version count.csv: the number of versions of each song that was submitted to the competition.

As you can see and as was expected, there are many 7s in the results. In particular, KiddCabbage's votes consisted of an abnormally large number of 7s. However, KiddCabbage wins the competition no matter which way one looks at the results - whether all the votes are counted, whether 1s and 7s are omitted, whether votes in the same subnet are discarded, and so on. I think that the results being the same any way we look at them shows clearly that KiddCabbage is the winner.

For second place, you'll notice that "Decimation" received many more 7s than 1s. If the 7s and 1s are removed from the results, "Certain Uncertainty" would place second. Judging by the comments on the site, in these forums, and in the voting results themselves, "Certain Uncertainty" simply seems to be a song that people either love or hate. If you look at its results, it has almost a perfect inverse normal curve to its tallies. I don't see how it's possible to justify removing all the 1s and 7s from "Certain Uncertainty's" totals since people obviously felt strongly about the song one way or the other. As a result, we decided to let the raw vote tallies stand without any changes.

By the way, "Carystas" would have placed in the prizes had the voting period been even a few hours longer. The competition was literally decided by minutes.

Finally, the duplicate voting algorithm did not find any systemic cheating that invalidated the results. It may be that some competitors asked a lot of friends to vote the maximum rating, but that was not prohibited in the rules, and all competitors were able to encourage people to vote equally.

There is already talk of another competition in the works. The next time, we hope to have the "compos" feature implemented so that a lot of these calculations can be performed automatically. First, though, I want to fix bugs that I've noticed in the site, such as some of the profile image thumbnails being reduced to white squares.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and we hope to see you around the site or these forums! I'll contact the winners soon to award the prizes.
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  #2  
Old Dec 19, 2009, 11:23 AM
Kidd Cabbage Kidd Cabbage is offline
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WHOOOOO!!!!

DDD

Congrats to Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuurg and dabiznizz, as well!

On another note, even though I agree that it should have no place in the actual results, I think that with the controversy I've caused, I'm happy that I won, even with 1s and 7s removed.

Thanks again for the competition, Quintin! hi5s to you!
  #3  
Old Dec 19, 2009, 11:48 AM
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cetera cetera is offline
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congrats!!!!!!!!!!
  #4  
Old Dec 19, 2009, 04:22 PM
WarpToken WarpToken is offline
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Good job everyone! Merry Christmas =)
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Old Dec 20, 2009, 08:05 AM
Muuurgh Muuurgh is offline
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Congratulations, Kidd! Thanks are due to everyone that participated and to everyone that partook in making this competition happen at remixsite (especially you, Quintin!). It's really exciting that the tallies were all very close, especially since it's likely that next time, everyone's going to step up their game even more.

And yes, Merry Christmas! May the new year invigorate us to produce our best works yet!
  #6  
Old Dec 20, 2009, 04:03 PM
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quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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Now that the competition is over, I can state my opinions on the songs without influencing the results.

I think that at least half of the songs could have won the competition and nobody would have been dissatisfied at the outcome. The results were close because the songs were exceptional. I'm also not on the same side as AndreasK, and believe that public voting is just as fair as a judges panel would have been.

My favorite song was "Carystas," which did not place. I think that it fit the theme of the competition best. One of the reasons I liked it better than "Certain Uncertainty" is that it never lets up. Most of the songs had slower sections, and I didn't think those were as appropriate for a video game. For a movie, those songs would have been excellent, because the action on screen can be timed to the music. In a game, it's not possible to time the music to the player, and so I think a more homogenized sound is required. I'm curious as to what people who agree with the results have to say about why they voted the way they did.

Also interesting is that "Android," Dr. Max Fomitchev's entry, finished last. Dr. Fomitchev, as you can find out on his linked website, is an assistant professor at Penn State University. I like his music and listened to most of the pieces he has posted on his site, but I think the reason why his song performed so poorly in the competition was that it didn't fit the theme. The song had been written for another purpose and entered into the competition later, and people must have considered adherence to the theme an important factor in their votes.

Finally, I'm disappointed that dabeat was the only person who posted more than one version of her song on the site for this competition. You can clearly hear the progression of her work, and hopefully more people will use the revisions feature in the future, both in and out of competitions.
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Old Dec 20, 2009, 09:19 PM
Omnomnomnom Omnomnomnom is offline
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Quote:
My favorite song was "Carystas,"
Hah, I wasn't alone! I honestly thought that track was the best, and I voted it so, but it's hard to say when looking at these tracks as being "the best" even for the theme. In the real world, we'd have more to work on; art, game demos and the like. We could give suggestions and we'd get feedback to say that it's right or it isn't. So in the end, we would have less time to work on individual tracks (when counted together) but more time to get the general feel, which is so important.

I found this comp one of the bigger challenges, since I normally write for happier themes, so I'm presuming other people had difficulty too and didn't really shine where they could have. It'll be interesting in later days to see what tracks we can come up with, and hopefully something great will come from it.

Quote:
"One of the reasons I liked it better than "Certain Uncertainty" is that it never lets up.
I have to say I don't think that really defines a "game track". Infact, a good piece of music can do anything and go anywhere it wants and people will love it. For example, John Williams (as is entitled on my winamp) does his own version of the Zelda Theme which, apart from being a bit soft on instrument choice, compositionally, it's really good. To it he added a mellow "let down", which only helped to compliment the track more by not being monotonous. I think when you ask for a main theme from a composer, they're thinking about every emotion that might be in the story, and that's the reason for the "let down", it's merely to give the story and equally the track some depth.

Just my opinion of course, I tend to find that people disagree with me on these thing, haha!

Debeat's track was really good and she(?) deserved a place in the rankings even if her production wasn't as good. It's composition combat after all, not production combat, so I'm glad she placed.

I'm not sure about the judges thing. I still say it would be fairer, but we'll see how it plays out. This comp was a bit odd to say the least and maybe we were lucky it worked out? Time will tell I guess.

Great to hear your opinion Quinten and congrats all round, hope to see everyone next time.

"and God bless us, every one!"

Last edited by Omnomnomnom; Dec 20, 2009 at 09:35 PM. Reason: Added the John Williams thing 'cause it popped into my head
  #8  
Old Dec 21, 2009, 06:17 AM
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quintin3265 quintin3265 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnomnomnom View Post
Hah, I wasn't alone! I honestly thought that track was the best, and I voted it so, but it's hard to say when looking at these tracks as being "the best" even for the theme. In the real world, we'd have more to work on; art, game demos and the like. We could give suggestions and we'd get feedback to say that it's right or it isn't. So in the end, we would have less time to work on individual tracks (when counted together) but more time to get the general feel, which is so important.

I found this comp one of the bigger challenges, since I normally write for happier themes, so I'm presuming other people had difficulty too and didn't really shine where they could have. It'll be interesting in later days to see what tracks we can come up with, and hopefully something great will come from it.


I have to say I don't think that really defines a "game track". Infact, a good piece of music can do anything and go anywhere it wants and people will love it. For example, John Williams (as is entitled on my winamp) does his own version of the Zelda Theme which, apart from being a bit soft on instrument choice, compositionally, it's really good. To it he added a mellow "let down", which only helped to compliment the track more by not being monotonous. I think when you ask for a main theme from a composer, they're thinking about every emotion that might be in the story, and that's the reason for the "let down", it's merely to give the story and equally the track some depth.

Just my opinion of course, I tend to find that people disagree with me on these thing, haha!

Debeat's track was really good and she(?) deserved a place in the rankings even if her production wasn't as good. It's composition combat after all, not production combat, so I'm glad she placed.

I'm not sure about the judges thing. I still say it would be fairer, but we'll see how it plays out. This comp was a bit odd to say the least and maybe we were lucky it worked out? Time will tell I guess.

Great to hear your opinion Quinten and congrats all round, hope to see everyone next time.

"and God bless us, every one!"
I guess the point I was trying to make about judging is that the way to determine whether the judging was "fair" or not is whether you can say that the current results are so far off as to be illegitimate. You said that you would have voted for "Carystas," but can you really say that "Etoilating Shade" is so far off that it can't be judged as the winner? It's quite possible and likely that a judge would select KiddCabbage's song as the winner.

By the way, I agree with you about the production of dabeat's song needing improvement. However, I disagree with you when you said that production shouldn't have been as important as other factors. Production is just another part of writing a song, as is composing the melody or adding harmonies. I say that both composition and production are important to win a competition.
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Old Dec 21, 2009, 08:02 AM
TenchuX TenchuX is offline
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Nice song Cabbage.

The beginning really had a big Mass Effect vibe to it, or at least that what it felt like to me.

Good sound to get close too as well given that game was about space, and machines entities and the like.

Well done overall.

Last edited by TenchuX; Dec 21, 2009 at 08:04 AM.
  #10  
Old Dec 21, 2009, 01:13 PM
Omnomnomnom Omnomnomnom is offline
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Quote:
However, I disagree with you when you said that production shouldn't have been as important as other factors. Production is just another part of writing a song, as is composing the melody or adding harmonies. I say that both composition and production are important to win a competition.
Ah, maybe I wasn't making myself as clear as I could, sorry. I just meant that when you take into account that not everyone has access to the same quality of equipment, a lack of professional sound should be taken with a grain of salt. These tracks are bound to sound better with a budget thrown at them after all, and I think I'd rather listen to good melody without realism than I would realism without a good melody, but it's case dependent. If we were to say that the artist wasn't able to create the sound they wanted, then sure, production plays a strong part, but if everything sounds right together, then it's more the composition that should be taken into account. Just my opinion of course.

And no, I'd agree that the likelihood of a judge choosing Kidd's track would be just as high, it was a good track as much as Prince of Darkness', but my quarrel wasn't with that so much with the idea of open voting in the first place. I'm merely holding my judgment until we've seen more competitions, and I'm looking forward to them!
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Old Dec 21, 2009, 02:20 PM
Kidd Cabbage Kidd Cabbage is offline
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First off, thank you all for your congratulations! I am proud of my entry, and I thank all of you for checking it out and placing votes!

Second, omnom - I believe that production *should* be a part of the selling point. Production, while not a part of songwriting, is as much a part of the finished product as any other element in music. If you don't want to count production, because it's only composition, then we might as well count out orchestration and structure as well, since they're just as related. On that note - ANYONE can learn what they're doing and get a decent sound without dumping thousands of dollars into a studio. It's not like half the competitors are recording on 4-track tapes or anything. I can say with confidence that provided a computer, someone can get just as professional quality sounds as my song for less than $500.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 05:55 AM
Omnomnomnom Omnomnomnom is offline
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Congrats man!

Quote:
I believe that production *should* be a part of the selling point. Production, while not a part of songwriting, is as much a part of the finished product as any other element in music. If you don't want to count production, because it's only composition, then we might as well count out orchestration and structure as well, since they're just as related. On that note - ANYONE can learn what they're doing and get a decent sound without dumping thousands of dollars into a studio. It's not like half the competitors are recording on 4-track tapes or anything. I can say with confidence that provided a computer, someone can get just as professional quality sounds as my song for less than $500.
Hmm... good point actually. I mean, you kinda make it sound as if $500 isn't a lot to some people, but I know what you're saying, that your track could be done for well under that as long as they had even a semi-decent rig to work on and to be fair, if they're serious about it they should really find a way to invest in their equipment. As long as they're able, there's absolutely no argument there. I wouldn't and don't count out production, I just think people can put too much emphasis on it where that emphasis shouldn't be. Prodcution plays a bigger role for some than others. For a start, the general audience wouldn't be able to say if the high end is too much or the low end is too low. Even if there's a problem with the way the track is produced that's clear to us, the general audience (by which I mean more than 50%) is less likely to notice it. They're much more likely to notice the vocals if there are any and after that the overall melody. Your track can be produced brilliantly, but still be boring or have a horrible tune and people won't like it. After you've reached a certain point in production, everything more is just bonus to the audience. I don't think it works the other way around though.

The way I see it, there's a difference between production as an instrument itself and production as a means to bring out a track. Dabeat, for example, wasn't aiming for production as an instrument, but the quality of the writing (I'm... assuming here of course, Dabeat might say otherwise, lol), and if you took that track as is and ran it through some of today's movie standard VSTs it would sound 100 times better. That's not a production thing, that's a money thing. With those VSTs, there's no extra talent involved to get them to sound good. After understanding how to mix the instruments together and tweak attack and such, they'll sound amazing. Hence why I'd put more emphasis on the writing with a classical piece or indeed any genre, than the way it's produced.

I don't know if I'm making myself clear... I believe production is important for anyone who will have to completely churn out their track from start to finish, which is where I was confusing the term "compositin combat", figured that lessened the amount of production that was expected. If we're talking full on completion of a track, then yeah, I guess I agree. If we're talking about someone's ability to compose music, then I think the emphasis is more 70% writing and 30% production, if even that.

Last edited by Omnomnomnom; Dec 22, 2009 at 05:58 AM. Reason: Just fixed a spelling mistake.
  #13  
Old Dec 22, 2009, 06:41 AM
WarpToken WarpToken is offline
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I figured production into the scoring pretty highly just based on the competition outline. The song is supposed to be used in the game, so it's gotta be ready to drop in.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 12:16 PM
Kidd Cabbage Kidd Cabbage is offline
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Production, like most other aspects of music, isn't enough to make a song - but it easily can break a song. I think you understand this, as you said, "After you've reached a certain point in production, everything more is just bonus to the audience." This is true. Unless you spend lots of time in production, you're not going to notice anything great in production.

And I think you're underestimating the skill that goes into any level of production. I use pretty high-end mixing and mastering plugins, yes, but I can assure you that if you gave those to someone without skill, I could produce a much more professional track with free VSTs online.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 07:07 AM
Omnomnomnom Omnomnomnom is offline
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Quote:
And I think you're underestimating the skill that goes into any level of production. I use pretty high-end mixing and mastering plugins, yes, but I can assure you that if you gave those to someone without skill, I could produce a much more professional track with free VSTs online.
Well, I wouldn't say that exactly, I grock the amount of skill it takes to become a good producer (believe me, I'm still on that struggling path) but I think it's a different skill to being a composer and most of what professional VSTs are trying to do is remove the necessity to be a good producer in order to release good music. People go to college to learn how to produce music and sound, but not everyone has the time to do that. I'd rather focus on the writing and learn the production over time or let someone else produce it for me. Even with the skills you have, I think it would be hard to reach a Hollywood orchestra sound or London Symphony sound without the samples, so in terms of creating a classical piece, production has less and less to do with it the better the VSTs become. Even in electronic music, using FM8 is gonna make things much, much easier and reduce the amount of knowledge required in production to create a piece of music that sounds good, so in Dabeat's case anyway (I know I keep going back to that, sorry) I didn't think production is something the track should be voted as harshly on, if that makes sense? If I were to use original midi like I first learned to compose my tracks on, I'd find it very hard to win a competition no matter how good my writing was or production was. Take that same track and run it through East West or something and it's a million times better received.

But that was the perspective I was looking at this from, that we were talking about the writing and not so much the production and it's clear I was wrong in that, as Warp said
Quote:
The song is supposed to be used in the game, so it's gotta be ready to drop in.
and I forgot that so I guess I have a moot point. ^_^;

So don't get me wrong, I do understand how much skill it takes to produce something. I guess I just don't like the idea of people seeing that as MORE important than how much skill it takes to write a beautiful piece of music and just how long and hard a road that is as well.

I admit defeat in this debate, but I hope you see where I was coming from at least.
 

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