News/2009

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2009

New Amiga demo database frontend

Friday, 18 December 2009
Some of you may already be aware of the excellent site http://bitworld.bitfellas.org/. It contains a large comprehensive database of Amiga demos, but with a somewhat limited search facility. To remedy this we have created an alternative search interface to the collection here at ExoticA - Amiga Scene Demo Database (Beta). Like the Modland and HVSC Search it includes a variety of ways to browse and search through the information. We only display a small subset of the data at Bitworld, but provide a link to their site for further information. Please give it a try and give us any feedback on the ExoticA Forum. It is marked as beta for now, as there might be bugs, and new features are likely forthcoming. Many thanks to zeg, Asle, Curt Cool and Menace (and the rest of the Bitworld team) for their help and co-operation.

The Sound of Arcade Music

Monday, 14 December 2009
Courtesy of the guys over at VGMdb, we now have details of official arcade soundtrack albums for all relevant entries in the Lost In Translation section. Currently, there are 2,558 albums with soundtracks for 610 games. Links to each album are provided!

New track "Silicon Heaven" from Allister brimble

Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Allister Brimble has released a new track entitled "Silicon Heaven". It is available for purchase/download on Amazon (£0.79), iTunes and other sites (napster, rhaposdy, eMusic, IMVU, Nokia). It is a very enjoyable track, with retro computer sounds combined with modern, with a very intense and melodic electric guitar lead, and all the bells and whistles you expect from Allister. We can also announce that he is currently working on sequel album to "Sounds Digital" which is very exciting as we are big fans of his first CD, so please give him your support by buying this track. Also note that Sounds Digital is freely downloadable from ExoticA with permission from Allister, so please have a listen if you haven't already. You can also download some C64 and Amiga remixes he has made over recent years via Remix64.

Lost in Translation updates

Monday, 5 October 2009
It's taken almost a year, on and off, but XtC has finished converting the Lost In Translation (LiT) pages from flat text to something a little more presentable in a wiki! Maybe now he'll start putting real content such as screen shots and audio recordings onto each page!

Speaking of which, if you want to contribute to the LiT section, check out the evolving LiT FAQ page. Don't be put off by the length of the page, editing these pages is easier than you think and quite rewarding to look at when the screen shots start appearing...

Server Failure

Sunday, 31 May 2009
Early yesterday morning, our server had a failure. The cause is unknown, but we could not bring it back remotely.

Rather than waiting a few days to gain access, BuZz decided to purchase a replacement machine that could be activated remotely and used right away. After copying back ~37gb of data, most hosted sites are now running, but some services may be unavailable or unstable for the next day or two. There may be up to one days data loss, from when the database was last backed up off site. We might consider real-time database replication to further minimise data loss in the future.

Remember folks, always make backups :)

Music Collection updates

Thursday, 14 May 2009
There have been major changes to the various exotica music collection interfaces. The biggest feature addition is that for most of the tunes you can now download Ogg Vorbis encoded audio recordings directly from the search interface. The Ogg format is supported by most media players, and allows you to listen to the music without having to download a variety of different players. The Oggs are created on the fly in real-time, and as such are provided for convenience rather than accuracy, however you may well be surprised at how good they sound. To access the Ogg downloads browse or search for a tune, and a button will be displayed above the results that allows you to show the Ogg download links.

For the High Voltage SID Collection search, the Oggs are recorded using Alankila's sidplay2 fork, but we also link to SOASC's high quality mp3 recordings made from real c64 hardware, that you might prefer to download instead. Big thanks to SOASC for allowing us to link to their files. The official High Voltage SID Collection website now links to our search from their homepage, and have been very positive towards the current functionality. Thanks guys!

On the Modland search, there are Ogg links for most formats, except for the playsid format (use the High Voltage SID Collection interface for downloading C64 recordings). Not every tune with an off link will be supported, but the more popular ones are, along with most exotic Amiga formats. For Fasttracker 2 and other multi-channel formats, a simple player based on BASSMOD is used, that gives good results. For other formats such as Protracker, TFMX and other Amiga formats, Shd's excellent UADE player is used. All this happens transparently of course. All you need to do is click the Ogg link.

The Modland search now also supports multiple collection groupings per module. Collections are created from both the Modland folder structure, as well as custom playlists that are contributed. If for example a playlist was created with all the music related to the game "Turrican", this would then show up as a collection. More details on creation of a playlist can be found on the Modland page.

The Atari SAP Music archive search also supports Ogg downloads, and it is handled via the ASAP player http://asap.sourceforge.net.

The Ogg Vorbis downloads are around 96kbit (Ogg quality 2) and are named and tagged automatically. We chose Ogg Vorbis due to the higher quality compared to mp3 at the same bitrate, and because it is Open Source and patent free. Note that visitors are limited to a single Ogg download at a time. Due to the real-time encoding nature of this system, it is a cpu intensive task, and so limits are necessary.

For questions regarding this new functionality or other questions regarding the search, please use the ExoticA Forum

A new arrival!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Natalie trying her daddy's C64

News has been a little slow in the last weeks. Partly because BuZz has become a dad! Natalie was born on the 7th March and now at just under 8 weeks old, she has had her first go on a Commodore 64 ;-). Work has continued on the wiki with Spectral contributing some audio recordings/comparisons for Shinobi, a small UnExoticA update from Codetapper, and a fair amount of wiki editing from XtC (as usual). Cheers everyone!

Updates to the music collection search interfaces

Friday, 27 February 2009
Updated the search functionality for the Modland, HVSC and ASMA searches. Previously the boolean search defaulted to "or" if no boolean operator was used. This wasn't particularly intuitive for first time users. It wasn't a design choice originally but a side effect of the database defaults (which is only reconfigurable on a server level for things like this which is limiting). Please give feedback on this forum thread.

Charity fund set up in memory of Richard Joseph

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
It was brought to our attention that Jon Hare has set up a Cancer Research fundraising page in memory of Richard Joseph. I'm sure most of you know Richard's work, as he created soundtracks for many well known games (which are downloadable from his page on ExoticA). Please do consider making a donation. Thanks.

A radio for the Demo Scene - Bitjam Radio

Friday, 13 February 2009
Do you like demo and game music? If so, you should check out Bitjam radio, which is an online demoscene radio with more than 22,000 tunes in the playlist. After signing up on the site, you can request tunes as well as vote and comment. Bitjam radio can be found at http://bitjam.bitfellas.org. Bitjam is part of the Bitfellas demoscene site, which is hosted by ExoticA. Try the stream right now: mp3 | ogg

BuZz's Snowman

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Snowman by BuZz

It has been snowing in the UK on and off for most of the week. BuZz decided to make the most of it and build a snowman. Not a work of art, but fun to make!

Atari SAP Music Archive search (music from 8 bit Atari computers)

Saturday, 24 January 2009
There is now a new search interface for the Atari SAP Music Archive. This is a collection of music for the Atari XL/XE with over 2500 tunes ranging from old classics to recent demo tunes. For more information and players you can visit the official ASMA website http://asma.atari.org/

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