[Proposal] Increase average bitrate limitation from 192kbs to 320kbs.

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Higher quality backgrounds becoming acceptable is an immediate result of common monitor resolutions rising over the years. Upscaling a formerly 800x600 background to 2400x1440 or even 1920x1080 has visible artifacts.
High quality audio devices that can make the difference between 192kbps and 320kbps clearly audible are just as common as 10 years ago - not common at all and especially so on desktop PCs.
That means while a lot of people can profit from higher quality backgrounds, very few can profit from higher quality mp3s. It's about finding a compromise of finding a good value for the majority of users at the lowest cost (filesize).

osu! is ultimately about playing a rhythm game, not listening to music. 192kbps is completely sufficient for that purpose. While a copyright policy exists I think it is unnecessary to provoke people with bad intentions to use osu! exclusively for the purpose of pirating audio. When 192kbps is enough for Youtube music videos, why isn't it enough for osu!?
You should really elaborate on why "192 isn't enough to game to" when you say that Ephemeral doesn't know what he's talking about. You simply made a claim without backing it up.

Overall I see very little value in this, even without considering the piracy topic.
Topic Starter
What is your basis that high quality audio devices that can reasonable differentiate from 192 and 320 are "not common at all and especially so on desktop PCs."? Not only does most if not every osu player I know have some sort of epic gaming headset to go with their multicolor gaming keyboard with cherrymxbrownfastsilverquick switches, but the default earbuds that came FREE with my phone are enough to hear the difference. Even with speakers the quality very well may be noticeable. Unless you went to Best Buy and bought a pair of ultra cheap entirely plastic earbuds for $1.99, the different is noticeable.

I don't know how many times I have to explain why higher audio quality is better for a rhythm game. If the MAIN PART of the game is the audio, and the audio is average, why not use better audio? The reason that "192kbps is enough for Youtube music videos" (it's actually 128kbs) is because YouTube is a massive video sharing platform that has 30,000 hours of content uploaded each hour. Using 320kbs for YouTube would be a storage nightmare. This isn't YouTube, this is osu.
Zelzatter Zero

Chanci wrote:

If the maximum was 320kbs, nothing would be stopping people from using the good old 192kbs. 192kbs would be considered average, and average is perfectly acceptable.
Saying that when you proposed to increase the average limitation to 320kbps seems too confusing tho. Because what's the point of actually using 320 besides of being cool when 192, as you mentioned, is perfectly acceptable?

Saying this is just like trying to force a 720p (yes, just 720p) video into the map. Filesize is increasing and people has more storage than ever, but it still has limitation. One of the reason the background resolution increased is because you can find high-quality .jpg files with reasonable filesize within high resolution. .mp3 files, however, don't act the same way.

I think "maximum limitation" will be more fitting here in this case, but whatever.
Topic Starter
By average limitation I was referring to the current rule, "A beatmapset's audio file must use the .mp3 file format and have an average bit rate no greater than 192kbps."

The point of using 320 over 192 is that 320 is better and provides for a richer playing experience, but there are songs out there that aren't obtainable in 320 just because they simply weren't. 192 works, yes, but it can be better. 320 isn't flac where it's the audiophile experience or anything, it's just better than 192 and I don't see a reason to force mappers to downgrade the song that the map is mapped upon.
Nao Tomori
The reason is that peppy does not want the game site to be a proxy for HQ audio downloads. FLAC, lossless, is obviously the highest quality but 320 kbps is very close to that and purposely having degraded audio means that people will not be downloading maps for the sound file but rather for the map itself. Contrary to what you are saying, the average player definitely cannot tell the difference between 320 and 192 for 99% of songs unless the 192 audio is really scuffed or upscaled from a lower bitrate or something. And frankly the prevalence of 128-upscaled-to-192 mp3s and straight YT rips getting NOMINATED (not even uploaded by randoms) shows that most mappers don't really care about having the best quality mp3 in the first place.
Topic Starter
Even if a lot of mappers wouldn't care, that doesn't mean that the ranking criteria should restrict those who do. The average player also won't be able to tell the difference between higher res backgrounds (1080 vs 1440 etc) even if they have the monitor for it. The same goes for all the rules we have about skinning. 99% of mappers aren't going to skin their maps, so should we just not address it? Of course not, because the ranking criteria has to apply to more than the majority.
If a mapper thinks that a 320kbs file would benefit their map, there's no harm in using one.

I also disagree that players wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I think the reasoning for this perception is instead that maps are pretty much never 320kbs. Players don't expect an mp3 to be 320kbs, so they don't notice it because it happens so rarely. With something more common, like the difference between 192 and 128, people notice it. There's a lot of older maps that use lower quality audio, and it's very noticeable. This is the same.
Nao Tomori
You did not address the main point which is the real reason - the point of this game is not to be a high quality mp3 sharing site. That isn't going to randomly change one day and until then I doubt peppy will allow 320 kbps to be the default for "official" (ranked) content.

In fact, mappers can indeed upload 320 kbps mp3 if they want to (just can't rank). They can also replace the mp3 ex post facto if they want to both rank the map and offer a 320 kbps download in the description.

I think you overestimate how many people can tell the difference consistently between 320 and 192, especially on generic anime songs which tend to be extremely over mastered and loud in the first place. And as I pointed out before, there are lots and lots of maps ranked with 128 upscaled to 192, or 128 yt rips, which people do not notice, complain about, or otherwise mention without looking in spektro and Audacity. Those that are very noticeable are quickly modded.
Topic Starter
Yeah I totally forgot to address that point. My stance is this:

I just simply don't see osu becoming an mp3 sharing site as a possibility. If it would happen as of the result of this, it definitely would have happened long ago. It would be an enormous hassle to try to run a piracy ring around uploading 1 song at a time, and it'd be quite obvious if someone were to upload an entire album in a single upload. No one is going to put in the time and effort to upload raw music here when they could easily do it on any other site, y'know, like ones made for that sort of thing. This isn't an issue with other rhythm games that have custom maps (be it community ran or not). Why would it happen on osu?

Another way that I know this won't happen is that you can upload 320kbs mp3s already. It's not rankable, but if you're using osu to pirate music I don't think you care about ranking your uploads of pure music and likely no map.

Just for the hypothetical, let's say people DO start to use osu as a service to upload 320kbs mp3s to. There's good moderation here. Maps are removed all the time for violating the song content rules. Remember that time monstrata uploaded an Attack On Titan episode in full and it got removed within a couple hours? The staff and volunteers wouldn't allow such a scenario to ever happen.

Edit: Something else I may add, if an artist wishes not to have their song uploaded, they can file a DMCA. It's always worked before. I don't think artists are seeing their song on osu, but are FIRST downloading the map and checking the audio.mp3 file and running it through spek to see if it's 192kbs or 320kbs. osu has systems in place for copyright and they will continue to work regardless if it's 320 or not.
Chanci, do me a favor and post your results in this thread: community/forums/topics/1074758. Yea I know it's not 192 vs 320, but I can't find a test for that. If there is one, I'll update, for now let's see if people can tell this much apart.
Zelzatter Zero
Jut gonna leave this here because saying that everybody would hear the difference even between 128 and 320 is just plain ignorant.

And if you think 320 is "good" for osu!, then tell every other rhythm game devs that way, especially some with properly licensed music, or even commissioned ones. They mainly care about filesize, not quality.
Nao Tomori
Artists will not DMCA based on 192 vs 320. Artists will DMCA if they hear about the site and do not want their songs uploaded on it for free. (Skrillex, Zekk, whichever company took down Despacito, etc...)

If the main reason to visit the site at any point becomes downloading 320 kbps album rips, it will cause massive massive issues for the game by drawing attention to it (since the game breaks all sorts of DMCA good faith assumptions as it currently exists, regardless of whatever staff says, none of it would really hold up in court). Preempting that possibility is a main point of using degraded audio quality. It doesn't matter right now since the practice is not common, but if it becomes known that this site hosts a lot of 320 kbps songs, and a bunch of big name labels throw out some DMCA notices on all of their IP, the damage will be irreparable.
i personally cant hear a difference between 192 and 320, not sure if others are like this too or if it's a headphone issue. i dont think this is necessary.
Wei Wuxian
Yes, some people can tell the difference between 192 vs 320 but osu! is not meant for file sharing (although, there are people who use osu! just for music and don't care about the audio quality as long as the filesize is low).

Honestly, 320kbs would only benefit the game for those who are sensitive to rhythm changes or beat deafness (like me. I can hear the difference in audio quality and the quality of audio does affect how I play sometimes). For songs that can be DMCA'd, keeping the bitrate low helps keep people from just using osu! for downloading music minus the people who don't care about quality.

I would suggest a compromise:
- If the audio file is for a Featured Artist for osu!, the maximum bitrate can be 320kbs. All other music is capped at 192kbs.

Why is this better? Featured Artists allow their songs on the site so those can be allowed to have highest quality. This also gives incentive to play and map these songs for those sensitive to audio changes. Songs that can be DMCA'd/are copyrighted don't need to be the highest quality (only decent) to play.

abraker wrote:

Chanci, do me a favor and post your results in this thread: community/forums/topics/1074758. Yea I know it's not 192 vs 320, but I can't find a test for that. If there is one, I'll update, for now let's see if people can tell this much apart.
Nice test, but to be fair, when put side by side like that it's not hard to tell the difference most of the time (well, don't know how it'd go with 192 though), and I have dirt cheap headphones. In any case, more applicable for our situation in osu! would probably be if the test only had the steps 2 and 3

EDIT: gave it a spin using only 2 and 3 and needless to say, it was pretty much pure RNG for the most part
Let me reference last time a related proposal was brought up: community/forums/posts/7118802. It has some talk about 320kbps
I can't find the peppy quote rn but I definitely recall that the main reason for 192 cap was what Nao said: "peppy does not want the game site to be a proxy for HQ audio downloads".

This should really be in the beatmap rules instead of RC, since the purpose can be applied to unranked maps as well.

Also, given how this rule was made, I don't think we have authority to change it without the peppy/admin approval anyway

clayton wrote:

Also, given how this rule was made, I don't think we have authority to change it without the peppy/admin approval anyway
I've come to think whatever peppy said 5 years ago and before not holding up as it used to. That said, I'm totally expecting for Ephemeral to drop by this thread.
it's less about maps and more about content policy, but yeah, I'm gonna mute this thread until I see dev response
There's literally no reason to increase bitrate limit. 192 is the middle between quality and space while also being safe enough to use in any circumstance. It's also smart filesize-wise..

The only issue that stands with higher quality not being viable is due to maybe someone not knowing how to re-encode an mp3 but I feel like that's common knowledge among most mappers that actually care about this stuff. Also from your proposal the only reason you've suggested this is because of length making a difference for what bitrate is acceptable, it shouldn't have to be something that we can rule out and there's already clear enough reason why the audio isn't anywhere above 192kpbs.

TLDR; I don't agree with this proposal.

Speaking of which why does the RC state an "average" bitrate when we're clearly using constant ones? Might be an error idk.
because making the rule use constant instead of average will disallow audio files with average bit rates, even when they're perfectly fine otherwise.

also, constant bit rate files by definition have an average bit rate of exactly its bit rate.
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