HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

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How should the digital soundtracks be presented?

Poll ended at Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:24 pm

Forget the streaming players! We like doing things ourselves anyway. Just give us the direct downloads!
2
40%
Do a lossy transcode of the OGG files to MP3 for a bug free streaming player experience.
2
40%
Fix your WEBM files and go with that! It works for other people and you must be doing something wrong!
1
20%
 
Total votes: 5

andrew603
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HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

Post by andrew603 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:24 pm

Hey all.

I'm curious what your thoughts on this are...

Precursor: MP3 works fine on everything AFAIK. All soundtrack files I have will be made available in their original format for direct download on the soundtrack pages regardless of what follows here. Currently, the best experience with the HTML5 Playlists is only on Firefox and Chrome, as MP3 and OGG are both supported natively in those browsers.

So here goes...

I've been trying to figure out the best solution to present the digital soundtracks pages. There's really no perfect solution that encompasses the major desktop browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome) AND mobile platforms (Android/iPhone) simultaneously.

The primary issue centers around what the different browsers support in their HTML5 audio players.

They all support MP3 AFAIK, which begs the question, should I transcode the OGG audio into MP3, only for the streaming players/playlists? I think this would give the most bug-free experience on all platforms for the streaming player.

There is also the WEBM/WEBA format, which can convert TO/FROM OGG losslessly. This is supported in all browsers, though IE and Safari require a third-party codec plugin for DirectShow and QuickTime respectively. It is also supported on Android, but not iPhone.

The only issue I've been having with trying to transcode to WEBM/WEBA, is that the files are not seekable in IE, Firefox. Additionally the playlist function in wordpress does not seem to like them. It show's a download link, instead of playing them. Which leads me back to MP3, or abandoning "universal" streaming player/playlist.

Bear in mind, the direct downloads do load and play just fine natively on Android. I do not believe iPhone supports OGG playback in this way.

My goal is/was to have both an instantly playable/streamable player for the soundtracks as well as provide the full direct download links. I want to get to a place, where we have the nice full site, direct download links for all the soundtracks, but also a jukebox that will work from say your mobile phone. So you can always have some great adventure game soundtracks even when you are on the go and forgot to download them beforehand! I do this all the time haha! :)

Anyway, those are some of my current random thoughts...

~Andrew

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Re: HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

Post by Caliburn » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:56 pm

I voted for the transcode to MP3. It's a cool idea to have streaming, as long as it doesn't cause your bill for bandwidth to go way up.

WEBM sounds like it isn't compatible enough for what you want, even after you resolve the issues with seeking and with Wordpress.

I think most of the time when people are streaming audio from a browser, they will be fine with the sound quality being a bit lesser than with downloaded audio, so I don't think it's a huge deal that the transcode to MP3 would lose some quality. And if they are audiophiles they can download the original OGG.

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Re: HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

Post by andrew603 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:49 am

Caliburn,

Thanks. I agree, I think that is the best way to go.

Also, fortunately, bandwidth should not be an issue with my web host provider :)

~Andrew

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Re: HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

Post by Spikey » Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:07 pm

Agree with Caliburn. I personally don't think playing in your browser is that important, even though you can do it on my site, but that's my 2 cents.


I don't know how you're going to do it, Andrew, but I would love to see the previous incarnation of the QS website than what's there now. I didn't like the latest Joomla version of QS, it looked so ugly and squeezed together, the old pages has so much flair and charm.

For example,

https://www.midimusicadventures.com/que ... racks/sq1/
vs
http://web.archive.org/web/201012310353 ... sq1cd.html

I don't mind your format as much as the Joomla one, and I know the goal is to get up and running, but I would love to see those old pages as a 'final destination', even though that's probably just my opinion. :)

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Re: HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

Post by andrew603 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:24 pm

I mostly agree with you. I did LOVE the old site and am basing my pages on that format as you probably can tell.

I had toiled with the idea of presenting the site exactly how it had looked previously for quite a while. However in the end, I feel that if all I did was copy the site from the Internet Archive and fix the links; while it may seem nostalgic to look through at first, it would not seem like we were trying to move forward. It would feel like, "we just saved it, to save it, because". Also, and perhaps more importantly in some ways, it would just be much more difficult to maintain and update going forward.

My goal here is to build on legacy that Tom & Dianne established with QuestStudios and upheld for so long. Not just restore it for the sake of nostalgia, that's what the Internet Archive is for anyway right?

I am however open to the idea of some sort of "time machine" section. If we could put together some retrospective of the different styles from the old site through the years? A history of QuestStudios or something? That might make a good 20 Year's of QuestStudios celebration in and of itself. If anyone wanted to help with something like this that would be cool!

~Andrew

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Re: HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

Post by Spikey » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:23 am

Well, I guess my view is, why do we have to 'move forward', most of the pages hadn't been updated in 10+ years as far as content anyway, so why change to a new format just for the sake of it?

I agree about building on the legacy, I have no issue with that. I'm excited to see that. And I understand about being difficult to update an old page with old code.

The time machine idea is promising. Let me know if I could be of use.

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Re: HTML5, Playlists, Browsers, Audio Format Support, Oh My!

Post by jaffa225man » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:18 pm

I like how the new site looks. Your idea of multiple style sheets to get the old look if one would want it sounds great although it's probably not worth the work. I'm a free software enthusiast, and think that even if html5/webm isn't fully supported yet, it will be. Microsoft won't be developing IE much longer, and hopefully their new incarnation will be more standards-compliant. Losslessly encoding to mp3 for broken browsers would be a nice feature, though, as your streaming player was a nice surprise for me. Of course, this is all an improvement and not as important as the direct download links are for me. Thanks for the excellent start!

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