[Tutorial] osu!mania mapping, Basics

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Topic Starter

Hello everyone!

I'm writing a little introduction to the people who want to start osu!mania mapping!
This guide if you can call that is just about as much as i know and im no master myself and is open for everyones other ideas to make it better so feel free to add to it.

To begin mapping a song for o!m you have to go into the song setup.
There you go to the advanced options and under "allowed modes" you will select "osu!mania"

In this window is also a checkbox "use special style (N+1 Style) for mania". This means your beatmap will have a turntable.
If you want to create a beatmap in the style of beatmania you should check this box and your first column on the left will be the turntable.

Once you have done that don't close the window and go to the "Difficulty" tab.

HP Drain rate is recommended to be set atleast 7. 9 more realistic feel and 10 will mean no recovery.
Column decides what game mode and how many columns you will play. 4-8
Approach rate is irrelevant.
Overall Difficulty should be set at 7, higher for more difficult gameplay.

Allright lets get started mapping!

Basics and common guides to mapping:

So now you have your beatmap setup and are free to map. Where do you start off?

The first thing you should do is find a structure to your beatmap. Not like standard mode you can put your notes all over the place to the sounds you desire to map but there are a few things to keep in mind to create an intuitive and fun beatmap and not a rain of random notes.

Those things are mainly:

22:48 Agka: pitch where a low pitch note takes place to the left and the highest pitch note goes to the right of the playing field
Pitch Relevancy is basicly how high or how low the notes sound. You can easily compare this to a piano where the keys on the left are the more lower notes and the keys on the right are the more higher notes.
The same applies to osu!mania somewhat.

The point in this every note you place should give an unique feel to play so the player understands what note you put is what your note is meant to be. It also raises the overall quality of your beatmap because it does give a more structured feeling to it. But this does not mean you have to be too strict to follow that! You can allways mix things up as long as it feels natural and understandable to play!

This is about how you actually map the song chose. Listen to a measure of your song over and over again. Keep attention to the various different instruments that are beeing played and decide to what you are actually going to put notes to. This is also important in deciding on how easy or how difficult your map is going to be! The harder the more instruments you will note and the easier the less. Avoid making your maps to vocals.

Other than the song itself it is also very usefull to plan ahead and have just a general idea of how you will design your notes in your map aswell! It makes it alot easier if you first think about the way you try to note the song than wind it up while doing so, just a little pointer is enough and will make things easier for you. You could either be mapping your song with just hold notes and not a single note or make the exact opposite or you could decide on use bracketing just for this one part in the song or decide to layer it from the beginning to the end (bracketing and layering will be explained below). Does pitch relevancy appeal to you or do you like to make your map in an symmetrical or even artistic way? Stuff like this.

Added by Bobbias: Other than that it is also really worth mentioning that any pattern you might create can be mirrored or "semi mirrored" (for example just mirroring the melody and keeping the base beats the same). It can give your map that little extra if you feel like it needs a bit of a change here and there or you somehow get into conflicts with other notes or similar situations. As long as your idea of noting gets across you are basicly doing nothing wrong.

Allright you listened to a song and lets say you got those 3 instruments you want to use into your map. For example a 6K map. You got your drums and you got your typical melody, violin or piano or whatever the song is.

Now it is to find your unique and intuitive pattern to put the notes in order! When we think about pitch relevancy, You would assign the drum to 3 keys and your melody to the 3 other keys.

Try putting notes to the sound you play and test them over and over until it gives you the playing experience you desire.

22:46 wanwan159: select a side to handle more of the base and a side to handle the melody

Here I will try to explain the core essence of every osu!mania beatmap. They are really important things any heavily influence the things you will create.
The things explained below are a must to even have and idea about or just know it. It is not a must to necessarily use them but the techniques explained later on really set your map aside from ... "auto converts" for example. Using following techniques will give your map room for higher difficulty possibilites while still keeping the notes readable! It allows you to put more notes into your map and deliver a deeper understanding of 1. the song and 2. your map itself!

Since you play this game with 2 hands bracketing is basicly dividing what you play on both hands. And again this will give you a more intuitive feel on what you are playing.

22:49 Agka: and bracketing where you separate right hand and left hand movements with a few special kinds of patterns
In our previous example we said we put our first 3 keys for the drums and the other 3 for the main melody of the song. Thats bracketing, basicly seperating your notes.

Video example on bracketing:

Layering is abit more advanced. It means you make one layer of notes of one instrument and then make another layer of another instrument and they will be put together. Similar to graphic editing if this makes it more clear. In contrary to bracketing you will end up mixing your notes through all of your playkeys while still having your patterns and the desired intuitivitiy to play.

Things to keep in mind for this is to keep the hand balance while doing it so it does not feel stressed out to play and still maintain the general idea of the notes you put. It can get quite difficult to do that but if it is done right it is usually a great beatmap to play!

Hold notes are meant to represent sounds that just sound longer. They can be perfectly matched for any buildup or dropdown sounds in a song.
But this topic is pretty vague. In my opinion there are 2 cases:

The first one being proper hold usage, being only designate sounds to holds that have no impact feeling. The hold note just feels natural because its mostly some SFX. The hold note does not seem to be replaceable by a note The hold note feels better and more natural to play than it would as a single note for the same sound.

The second one being "reverb mapping". Its mostly used by o2jam players to spike up the difficulty and in general it makes it easier for them to create patterns since they are essentially locking at least 1 or more columns so patterns themselves are kinda not distinguishable anymore.
What this means is "any" sound itself could potentially be turned into a hold note. The best example for this is, if you think about a guitar and stroke through all of your string, it makes a nice impact and the sound reverbs for quite a while. In this sort of mapping though it is not used as a note itself it will be a hold note.

There are a few cons to this: The most important being, it creates a different scale of difficulty and challenge through the chart if suddenly every single note you could think of turns into a hold note.
And the most con to it: The rhytmical input gaming suffers alot under it because you are not really giving that much feedback in your map and it just seems like a little trickery test to just hold down notes for whatever reason. In most cases, because its so difficult to do such a thing, the mapper itself accidently overextends their notes on their own because they will end up confused because the actual note reverb cant really be heard out in the song. So you might just end up with holds with unnatural durations.

The third thing is beeing the 7k-1 mapping which i like to call it. It happens quite recently that mappers try to cut corners in adding holds for the major chords. Not only cutting down their map and creativity by a whole column throughout the song but also creating an unnatural stressed out feeling for the player, even if it isnt intentional. There should be a line for any mapper to say, "hm ok for this i will put a hold note" and "neh, its not really fitting for me there". There should never be the case for a mapper to put a hold note for subtile sounds with few or non existant play value to put hold notes just because they "can", sadly its happening.

Well i think those are really the basics for everyone to get started your own osu!mania beatmap!
There are still some more advanced things to know but they are not necessary to make a great map!

There is also a MUCH more detailed guide here to read and study. It explains even more and is great written! Take your time and read it aswell if you are interested

And of course DJNightmare for his graphic editing contribution to the tutorial. Now i just should start writing more text.. :lol:
Thanks so much for the tutorial. . <3
This looks pretty good, Stickied
Wait, no mapping to the vocals? Is this how the piano-style games always do it?

To be honest, I think that things such as pitch relevance and concentrating on one/two instruments at a time should be addressed more in regards to standard mapping. Hell, I now have a succinct term for when I want to talk about following the shape of the melody, which is neat.
It's not that you should never map to vocals ever, but it's somewhat discouraged. Vocals are very difficult to map well most of the time. They're often a bit early or a bit late, sometimes use very awkward timing, and in general end up being hard to map accurately and well.

I want to talk a bit about how this applies to some of the harder charts out there (and to explain a bit about what tthey're doing, since some people see these charts and just think they're over mapped). There certainly are some overmapped charts out there though...

Here's an example video so I can point out mapping techniques at different times:

from about 18 seconds in to about 1 minute in you see some layering. You'll notice there are lots of 2 note chords there, it's pretty common on higher difficulties in o2jam for mappers to use chords to represent single sounds (like a kick drum) with single notes layered to represent the other sounds. At 1 minute in the holds begin and you can see layering a bit more clearly there since the holds are mixed in with the other notes. At about 1:11 you can see how the holds stay on the left while the single notes are on the right. There's also some layering on the right with the shorter holds mixing with the single notes while the long holds are still on the left. The patterns after that section are made up of layers, every beat you're hitting a chord, and along with that every half beat you're hitting a note from a short stair (or other pattern, not all of them are stairs). You'll also notice that the patterns aren't fully symmetrical but are still well balanced between both hands. When the holds come back at 1:48 you'll see yet more layering where the patterns move all around the holds. The holds also tend to alternate hands because once again, it balances the map out (although there are plenty of times where you could easily bracket the holds and the notes instead). At 2:09 or so you can see an interesting symmetrical pattern. In a few places Yumel employs something I'm a big fan of: irregular stairs. Instead of being a straight line where every note is directly beside the next one, there are small "holes" in the stairs (often used in a black and forth sweeping motion). This is a way to make things a bit harder to get good accuracy on and also lets you control how many notes you will use for each "sweep". Since 7k has an odd number of keys, a full sweep left to right would be 7 notes, and 4/4 music doesn't work well with odd numbers.

You'll probably also notice that in many cases there are holds that don't necessarily make sense (switching from 1 hold to 2 holds for a sound, etc.) This is fairly common on more difficult charts, and personally, I have no problem with it, except that it's very hard to tastefully pull off. The hold section at about 4:40 is an example of something that might be technically "wrong" if you get too strict, is still incredibly fun, and still sync'd with the music (the length of the holds is very regular they are all exactly 1 beat long). Personally, I think that bending the rules a bit can make for some excellent charts, but there's also the potential to be worse.

This for instance, would break a few rules: But it's still one of my favorite maps that I've converted from o2jam. As a bonus at about 4:17 there's a section involving "reverse mapping" or "inverted mapping" where instead of notes you have "lifts" where you are holding all keys and must lift then press a key where a note would be. This is very difficult to play (I can still only survive very short and simple inverted sections).
Topic Starter

D33d wrote:

Wait, no mapping to the vocals? Is this how the piano-style games always do it?

To be honest, I think that things such as pitch relevance and concentrating on one/two instruments at a time should be addressed more in regards to standard mapping. Hell, I now have a succinct term for when I want to talk about following the shape of the melody, which is neat.
Sorry for late reply and yes. In this game mode it is mostly played by instruments, and should mostly follow them. But this does not mean vocal should is not allowed to use, at least i think so. But normal note does not fit for me for them, i would only ever use hold notes for vocals.
It would be awesome if this could be turned into a video tutorial for this project, under the Introduction to the Editor for mania mode.
Link: t/109137
if i had the means i'd do it. unfortunately this computer sucks at recording stuff.
Topic Starter
I don't think it needs a video tutorial for this because every song is different
Helped a lot, Thanks :D
Wow!! you helped me a lot.. Thanks :)
@Bobbias Full Density is puuurfect and not overmapped :^)
Haha, I've got no problem with Full Density honestly. I have no idea how anyone could possibly pass it, but hey, if they find it fun, that's great.
Approach rate is changeable using the Increase and Decrease of the time line zone.
Thanks for the tutorial! :)
Topic Starter

theowest wrote:

It would be awesome if this could be turned into a video tutorial for this project, under the Introduction to the Editor for mania mode.
I changed my mind and i made some little video examples for the most important things in this tutorial. I hope this can explain it all even more :D
Good Luck there! Any more images you require to be created and i will be glad to do it :3
I noticed you never mentioned that pitch relevancy can also work from right to left. You might want to mention that. Sometimes switching pitch relevancy direction can help make things more interesting.
Topic Starter
This is not part of the guide an can be refered to mirroring any pattern, pitch relevancy does work from right to left in an descending manner but what you probably mean is just mirrored patterns.
Mirroring patterns should be mentioned here. It's one of the fundamental tools in mania mapping. Hell, all you really need to say is something alone the lines of "Remember, any pattern mentioned here, including itch relevancy, can be mirrored."

If this is going to be the go-to tutorial on mania mapping basics (which it currently is), it would be good to cover all the basics, not just what you feel like covering.

As it stands it honesty sounds like you are telling people they can only go from left to right, which is entirely untrue. Even if you didn't intend it to come off that way (because mirroring is something you can generally assume people should understand if they're a decent mapper) it doesn't change the fact that this is specifically for newcomers, and you don't want to accidentally leave something that is misinterpreted by those new mappers. You need to be explicit about what you expect people to know coming in, even if you don't cover it at all.

Also "this is not part of the guide" is irrelevant if you're trying to make a good guide. If it's part of mapping basics, it should be part of the guide. Mirroring things is basic and one of those things new mappers should be reminded of. (I might be a bit... overzealous? here, wasn't trying to be an ass or anything <_<)
Topic Starter
Ah i see, I thought of this tutorial more of a little guide to mapping terms with a few examples. Mirroring is important yes but i never thought things like that should be mentioned, I thought it was pretty common knowledge to do this since quite alot of songs use it and shouldnt be new to a player that played for quite a bit. But i agree it is really fundamental and should be adressed here since its the "Basics" :P
Do you have any special place in mind where i could fill this in?
Ahh, well we don't have any other guides, and this does a very good job of introducing many of the basic concepts that go into mapping. I see what you meant about more or less introducing the terms, as opposed to providing more in depth discussion.

I would try to include it above the mirroring section. That way it's the first thing dealing with patterns, and tells people that anything they see below doesn't need to be placed in certain locations, and can easily be swapped without causing a problem.
Topic Starter
I think im gonna add more text to the "general design" area and fill mirroring into it. That section looks a bit barren

Edited: I filled in the mirroring and expanded the general design area with even more stuff. I was only writing about the song itself there and a bit of input about the general design of the map itself came kinda short... Well i fixed that now. Thanks for the advice bobbias :D
question, when i made my map in osu mania it forces the player to play the amount of keys i chose instead of any keys they want. like i use 6 and my buddy uses 4 but it forced him into 6 how do you change that :S
Topic Starter

Dargor3012 wrote:

question, when i made my map in osu mania it forces the player to play the amount of keys i chose instead of any keys they want. like i use 6 and my buddy uses 4 but it forced him into 6 how do you change that :S
It is not possible.
but when i play other songs that are allready made on osu mania it will adjust the notes based on the keys i choose while staying on the same difficulty
Topic Starter
Choosing your own number of keys only works for osu! standard beatmaps. Those songs are not made for osu!mania. Songs made specifically for mania are fixed on the key amount the mapper intended their map to be.

Here are the difficulty symbols for all the game modes:

Star shape = osu! standard
Drum shape = Taiko
Note shape = osu! mania
Fruit shape = Catch The Beat
Just a quick question. Is there anyways to make the composer play only one beat at a time? Instead of having it play through the whole song?
Thanks for the tutorial,it's really helpful to me~~
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