we've been testing a couple of overhauled game mechanics for the Mix(ing) Challenge for a couple of months now.
Most notably the "Statics Sheet", the "Wild Card" mechanic, and a possible "Mix Round 3".
Seeing as these work quite well at this point, and most bugs have been ironed out, I would like to officially implement all three mechanics / features for all currently running mixing games - retroactively for September 2021. The update of the Rule Book(s) will follow during Q4 2021.
Competition Timeframe and Mix Round 3:
Running a possible "Mix Round 3" has been taken with very positive feedback. A third mixing round offers some more interaction, participants can do final adjustments, and the Song Provider also has a bit more time to decide on a personal Top 3. The following schedule overhaul will not only implement Mix Round 3, but also introduce more streamlined time frame. This offers a nice balance of interaction and difficulty.
The competition time intervals will be adjusted to:
- 21 days for mixing and submitting (1st of the month until 21st of the month)
- after 1st Mix Round:
- 2 days: preparing the Statistic Sheet
- 14 days (max): evaluation / feedback by the "client" (Song Provider, the "client" is advised to make notes during the submission period already)
- Mix Round 2 re-submissions
- 5 days maximum (rounded up to the time-stamp of the post announcement)
- minimum 12, but no more than 20 selected participants/entries
- allowed "Wild Card" entries at a maximum of 1/4th of the total participants (3 with 12 entries for Mix Round 2, 5 with 20 entries)
- after 2nd Mix Round: evaluation by the client (ideal maximum time frame: 7 days)
- Mix Round 3 re-submissions (if taking place)
- 3 days maximum (rounded up to the time-stamp of the post announcement)
- of up to 7 selected entries
- no "Wild Cards" use allowed, entries must have been fixed at this point
- after 3rd Mix Round: evaluation by the client (ideal maximum time frame: 7 days)
- Final Evaluation: announcement of Top 3 Winners
The Statistic Sheet has been a remnant of the very first Mix(ing) Challenges, and was re-introduced in July 2020. Since then, this has been a very helpful additional learning tool for the community, while also explaining "what went wrong" (easily reproducible), and why any entry has been tagged as "disqualified" (also see next point, "Wild Card" mechanic). Even though creating these sheets are not automated and take a bit of extra work (for me, the host), they are here to stay for both the Mix(ing) Challenge and the Songwriting Competition.
A quick summary of what the "Statistic Sheet" shows each participant.
- Sampling Rate and Bitrate -- Is the track in the same sampling rate and bitrate as the source
- dBTP -- did the mix exceed -1,00 dBTP (dB True Peak, +-0,05 dBTP tolerance from -1,00 dBTP max)
- LUFS -- did the mix undershoot -24,0 LUFS or overshoot -16,0 LUFS (Integrated Loudness / ILk, no tolerance for lower -24,0 LUFS, +-0,3 LU tolerance from -16,0 LUFS ILk max)
- Mix Length (in mm:ss:ms) -- is the mix shorter than the source material or has there been suitable silence added for possible follow-up editing
- tagged "disqualified" -- information of disqualification, and reason given in text form right beside it
"Wild Card" mechanic:
Since the introduction of the Statistic Sheet, and therefore stronger enforcement / maintenance of the Rules and Guidelines, there has also been sizeable criticism on the topic of disqualifications. In the time between MC067 / July 2020 up until MC075 / April 2021, even if you made a mere minor mishap with your entry (like: signal overshot, lack of documentation, etc), you were simply taken out of the game with no chance to advance. This in turn sparked a lot of feedback on the forum and behind the scenes, with the main consensus "I liked this entry, but pity that it couldn't advance due to a slight mishap" (Song Provider) and/or "we get the strict rules, but there should maybe be a bit more leeway to keep people engaged" (participants).
A solution was needed, which resulted in the "Wild Card" mechanic. As of MC075 / April 2021, entries are now merely tagged "disqualified". This in turn offers a chance to keep people engaged, and learn from their mistakes in the long run. Exception: the material could not be downloaded, could not be associated with the forum user account, was a clear re-upload, or submitted after the given deadlines.
As of MC080 / September 2021, I am officially implementing the "Wild Card" mechanic, which operates in combination with the "Statistic Sheet". There is already an in-depth explanation about overall procedure in the Rule Books. You can find it under the following link:
Mix Challenge - Addendum: Wild Card Mechanic
I am resetting all used up Wild Cards up until the date of this post. Everyone will start from scratch with "0 Wild Cards used". "Wild Cards" will not be reset (may be subject to change).
Since the games have been using the upper mentioned mechanics even in quote-unquote "beta stage" for quite some time now, officially implementing these mechanics in September 2021 (already) will not result in drastic changes or negative side-effects for all forum members participating in the Mix(ing) Challenge.
Thanks for reading