[Guide] First Time Beatmapper!

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Topic Starter
Welcome everyone. Thanks for trying to contribute to the community by mapping on osu!. This guide is meant to guide you in the right direction when mapping. While this won't give you exact answers, it should give you a way to answer your questions. If you want a similar video guide, please check the osu! academy video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKS8Zhut9XU). It covers slightly different stuff, but it should help you getting started.

Lost in this guide?
If you are ever lost in this article, I highly advise that you ask questions on #modhelp. If you can't get an answer there, you can ask on general questions, but do not expect fast responses.


Starting Out:
Because beatmapping has so many special terms, you should probably get used to certain terminology:
  1. BPM: beats per minute
  2. Offset: ms difference between the synchronization of the osu! timeline and music
  3. sv = slider velocity = speed of slider in respect to BPM (sv is a multiplier of BPM)
  4. ds = distance snap = button that enforces distance spacing, the spacing between notes with respect to sv (distance spacing is a multiplier of sv) (for the purpose of the guide I'm going to use distance snap and distance spacing interchangeably since not many people know the difference)
  5. cs = circle size = size of the circles in beatmaps

If it is your first beatmap, do not try to map things you can't play test. If you don't know how insane maps are supposed to be played, you will probably make horrible insane diffs. Following this idea, you should know how more difficult maps play before mapping one.
On a similar note, if you don't know how jumps are supposed to be used, do not go crazy with them. Using 1.5x-2.0x distance snap for areas that need that emphasis in the music

When you first start mapping, your first challenge is timing your map. To learn how to time a map, check t/121202. If you have problems finding the timing after looking at the guide, feel free to ask on #modhelp or post on t/13795 or another timing queue

Slider Velocity, Circle Size, and Distance Spacing:
After timing the map, your next step is to set your sv, ds, and cs. These 3 values are very closely related because ds is a multiplier of sv and ds should be large enough that are no overlaps between most notes. To accommodate these settings, you want all 3 of these items to fit both of your mapping style, your song, and your note density. In general here are some guidelines you should follow:

Distance Spacing: 0.8x - 1.2x
  1. Depending if you want sliders to feel faster or slower than the rest of your map

Circle Size: 2-5
  1. People tend to dislike small circle sizes, so it is very common these days to see insane diffs with 3-4 for circle size

Slider Velocity: high enough so that most spaced notes do not overlap each other (General guidelines below)
  1. Easy: At least fast enough that a note every 2 white ticks would not overlap when Distance Snapped
  2. Normal: At least fast enough that a note every white tick would not overlap when Distance Snapped
  3. Hard: At least fast enough that a note every white tick would not overlap when Distance Snapped
  4. Insane: At least fast enough that a note every red tick would not overlap when Distance Snapped
  5. Make sure that the slider velocity fits the song

How to access each setting:

How to map:
There is no one right way to map, but in general, have a good mix of sliders and circles that fit with the map. If you have no idea as to how you want your map to look, play or mod more beatmaps and find out what techniques you like and dislike. From there, add together all of the things you like to form your beatmap.
In general, if you are mapping easier difficulties, use distance snap a lot. If you are mapping harder diffs, you can use distance snap less and add more small jumps where they fit (only add larger jumps when appropriate). Just try to make your mapping clean, neat, and most importantly, fit the song.

If you are wondering how to make good sliders, check out: t/37194
For some pointers on how to arrange your difficulties, check out: http://osu.ppy.sh/forum/p/2183495

Kiai Time:
Kiai Time is the name of the section where things stars becoming bright and sparkly with stars. To access this fun feature, you can add a timing section to enable /disable it. Just make sure that you don’t use it excessively (try to have less that ⅓ of the map have kiai timing)

Hitsounding can be done at any time during the mapping process. Some mappers put them in while mapping, while others put them in at the end. The choice is yours.
In general, you should hitsound in a pattern of sorts. If you can't think of one that works for your map, a clap every 2nd and 4th beat works for a lot of songs. In the end, just make sure your hitsounds work with the song the way you want it to (There are many schools of hitsounding, some emphasize the beat and some create their own rhythm. Find the one that works best for you)

For a much more detailed guide on hitsounding, please go here: http://osu.ppy.sh/forum/p/2183481
If you don't like the default hitsounds, you can get custom hitsounds from http://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/15407

Setting A Preview Point:
While mapping your map, you probably want to set a preview point (where the song starts playing if they select your map from song select). To do that simply go to the point you want to be a preview point, and go to Timing -> Set Current Position as Preview Point.

Submitting A Map:
Once you are done with your map, you will probably want to submit it. To do that, go to the editor, and press File-> Upload beatmap to reach a screen that will guide you in submitting your map.

Getting Your Map Ranked:
After submitting your beatmap, you probably want to get your map ranked so the masses can enjoy it, so on osu!, we try to guarantee the quality of beatmaps through our modding process. As a result, you will have to find people to look through your map and give suggestions. If you have questions on this procedure, please look here: http://osu.ppy.sh/wiki/Getting_Your_Map_Modded . If you need a final checklist of what to check over in your own map before sending it to be reviewed by others, please read http://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/133062

While beatmapping, you might encounter various problems doing various things, so this section is dedicated to solving those problems:

Cutting/Editing your mp3:
If you need to simply cut/amplify/fade in/fade out your mp3, please use http://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/34303
If you need to do very exact cuts to your mp3, follow http://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/84226
If you need to re-encode your mp3, use foobar2000 (guide coming soon)

Re-encoding/muting your video:
If your video file is not a silent .avi file under 24mb. follow http://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/96003


That is the end of this guide. I know this guide is a little vague, but I hope you know where to find the solutions to your questions now. If you have any more questions, please ask on #modhelp or general questions. (On a side note, everyone with powers is free to edit this guide however they wish)
Improve formatting
Add pictures
Add information on hitsounds
Thank you so much man, I am currently experimenting with different elements to make my first beatmap stand out, even if it is easy
Gonna lift this from another subforum, because this is very relevant.

mm201 wrote:

To summarize hitsounding in one sentence, hitsounds should be consistent and expressive. Try to think as if osu! was some kind of new percussion instrument and you were writing a line for it to go with the music. Think of which beats are strong, which are weak, and which are accented, then hitsound appropriately.

Try to avoid thinking in terms of 3 different samplesets, but instead try to combine them together fluidly. The new sampleset picker should make this much easier. Don't barcode the timeline with green/inherited lines; it achieves the same thing in a more restricted way, and takes more of your time.

It's better to use hitsounds consistently than to worry about using all of the different sounds. Using a smaller group of hitsounds can help to give your map more of a distinct character than shoving them all in together. Just don't use so few sounds that your map sounds bland. You'll almost always want to use each of the hitnormals, soft/normal-hitfinish, and one of the claps. If you do use a sound, don't use it too rarely or it will sound out of place.

Here are some suggestions on how to use different sounds. Try to follow these whenever possible, so our maps have a consistent look & feel & hear:

normal-hitnormal: A medium-strength, quintessential hit, suitable for beats. (Use on white ticks.)
drum-hitnormal: A subdued hit, suitable for off-beats. (Use on red ticks.)
soft-hitnormal: Even more subdued, use for quiet parts of the music.

normal-hitwhistle: A very loud, accent hit. Use for bits that scream IMPORTANT, music-wise. Should be used to emphasize whole patterns, and almost never be used alone. DON'T PLACE WHISTLES CLOSER THAN A 1/1 AHHH! For frequent emphasis, look into using drum-hitfinish, soft-hitwhistle, or drum-hitwhistle.
drum-hitwhistle: A hi-hat, suitable for important off-beats, like syncopation patterns. Also sounds nice on slider heads.
soft-hitwhistle: A quiet, very repeatable accent/emphasis sound, nice to use when a subtle, gentle effect is desired. Layered and delicious when used underneath a normal-hitnormal in an otherwise "normal" pattern.

normal-hitfinish: A very strong emphasis, best kept for the most important beat every couple bars. In some situations, it can be used more regularly, but never more than once every 2 beats. whistle+finish is good for very epic moments like jump combos. Try to keep these phrased.
drum-hitfinish: A much weaker emphasis, and quite repeatable. It has a very subtle but "strong" effect and is best used to add depth to your hitsounding. Sounds good on odd numbered white ticks.
soft-hitfinish: Another strong emphasis, this doesn't fit with normal-hitfinish in most situations, and becomes the alternative for a mapset. It's more repeatable than normal-hitfinish. In situations where both get used, this one sounds less final than its Normal counterpart.

normal-hitclap: A standard, sort of techno clap sound. If you don't apply the classic, cheesy "clap on every even numbered white tick" rule, be very careful how you place them. They really need to follow a rigid structure or will sound "out of place".
drum-hitclap: A high tom. This should always be used in tandem with drum-hitfinish to create a descending tom sort of effect. As such, this will usually be entirely absent on the lower difficulties.
soft-hitclap: Basically, this is an alternative clap to Normal's. It's used in basically the same way. Mixing the two is possible but tricky. In that case, you should use normal-hitclap for the rigid pattern and use Soft's in special places.

D33d wrote:

I feel like adding my own reflections on this, because using drum hitsounds is something of a practised art form. A lot of people use them too sparingly and then their map's as flat as a nigh-empty bottle of Cola.

For me, drum-hitnormals have worked on the beat, as long as they're balanced by stronger hitsounds elsewhere in the bar. Small clusters of drumnormals can sound quite good in quick succession, as they create a steady and subtle thump between stronger hitsounds. In some songs, this can be very good for creating momentum.

Drum hitsounds on slider tracks give the ticks a soft snare sound, which is also very good for momentum when there's a slow section with a lot of long sliders. Drum ticks can also be used to accent a variety of offbeats and beats in sliders and I've found them to be especially effective when sliders end 1/4 after a tick. This creates a tactility that's similar to 1/4 doubles, without cluttering a map with too many fast stacks in quick succession. 'Dee Dee Cee' and 'Endless Tower' feature good examples of this.

Drum-hitclaps and drum-hitfinishes can sometimes sound great when used in irregular ways--a Bebop term, "dropping bombs," refers to strong hits on an the offbeats and it is incredibly powerful. When used correctly, this can be awesome. Also, drum-hitnormals can sound pretty good when they precede a stronger hitsound which isn't a drumfinish. I've also found that something as simple as switching the order of a clap and finish within a repeated pattern creates more resolution.

If anybody ever wants help with making their map sound pretty, then I'm more than happy to give advice and even re-hitsound maps.
How do you switch samples? Use this in the top-left corner of the editor.

"Sampleset" refers to the underlying hitsound and "additions" refers to the hitsound that occurs on top of it. If "auto" is selected for both, then the hitsound will default to whichever sampleset is assigned to the current timing point--in other words, whatever is set in the Timing panel.

Another thing to note is that, because of a bug during gameplay, "auto" hitsounds on either end of a slider will default to what's on the slider track, instead of what's assigned to the timing section. For example, if the section's default is drum hitsounds and an auto clap is assigned to a sliderend, what will sound as a clap in the editor will sound as a drum during gameplay. To get around with this, specify "normal," "soft" or "drum" every time a sliderend is hitsounded.

There are also keyboard shortcuts for hitsounding.

Shift + QWER: Specify the underlying sampleset.

CTRL + QWER: Specify the additional hitsound.

Q: Auto

W: Normal

E: Soft

R: Drum

This is why the keybind to reverse objects was moved to G, because hitsounds are used more frequently and QWER is the most logical place to assign keystrokes for hitsounds.
I wish I had this in my Time when I started. :o

Very nice Guide, Props for that. :)

Stefan wrote:

I wish I had this in my Time when I started. :o

Very nice Guide, Props for that. :)
Same.. I had to learn from another guy (actually a girl). She had to use twitch to teach me basic things..
Very nice idea yoshi~
Also of note: Please focus on simple patterns to start with. Sure, feel free to experiment with ideas, but please do not try to emulate too many contestable quirks which are in popular maps. It's debatable as to how many of these quirks are actually good.

DEEDIT: Gonna quote what I'd posted in another thread as well, in regards to difficulty. It's long-winded and merely my own take on it, but I feel that a lot of people could learn from it.

As it's your first map, don't make the mistake of getting too ambitious with patterns and slider shapes. It doesn't hurt to experiment, but if something looks and feels awful in comparison to ranked maps, then scrap it without question. If it feels and/or looks better than what you see in ranked maps, then it'll become a means to make your maps much more distinct and intersting.

In terms of difficulty, normal shouldn't have too many objects 1/2 after each other--as in, don't use too many half beats (the gap between a white tick and a red tick in the timeline). You should also try not to make everything occur on beats, as this will make your normal difficulty very boring. You will also want to base patterns more around longish sliders and leave some space between combos. What I mean is, don't have everything flowing into each other relentlessly, as this would become tiresome for a newer player. For more experienced players, this would also be boring and monotonous.

Hard difficulties should feel a little bit like normal, in that you're still using a good balance of longer sliders and circle patterns, but you can generally follow more of the detail in a phrase. In a moderate vocal song, you would probably be able to follow most of the singer's words. In terms of how many objects you can get use, it's generally a good idea to make patterns with around 4-8 half beats, as long as you don't overdo it and kill the difficulty curve of the map.

Contrary to popular belief, you're allowed to use confusing patterns in [Hard], as long as the spacing indicates them clearly and they're following obvious cues in the music. You should try to repeat them quite frequently in a section, so that the player has time to get used to them. You can also use patterns which force the player to read them by their numbers--again, as long as the spacing is consistent. In any difficulty, switching the order of objects at random is unfair and would make the player feel cheated. I certainly feel like that a lot.

Easy diffs should be kept very sparse and have a lot of space, rhythmically, between objects. It should also be painfully clear as to where objects should be hit. You should still use varied rhythms, but they must feel consistent and predictable. Get good at making easies interesting, yet playable, and you'll be much better at making the other difficulties tidy and enjoyable. Far too many people skimp on their easies and normals and the entire mapset can suffer because of this.

I'd also like to suggest playing songs on each difficulty in 'Ouendan 2,' or at least watching gameplay videos. Many people decry the style of the maps, but they are very good indicators of how to achieve the overall feel for [Easy] through [Hard]. Also, try to learn to use copypaste for these difficulties, in ways which fit the music and still remain interesting. Many people also hate copypaste, but when patterns recur and vary slightly, they help the player to feel where they are in the music and generally bring together the style of the map as a whole. I've learned a lot from practising this.

I'm prepared for the usual tsunami of Haterade, but thinking in detail about all of the above, as well as paying close attention to how things are aligned as per the screenshot, have helped me to progress in leaps and bounds. It takes a long time to refine a style, but if you work hard enough, you'll surprise yourself at how natural it feels after a time. Don't be afraid to ask questions in the game's chat and feel free to PM people with specific questions. You'll do well to get a good range of opinions. Most of us are patient and forgiving enough to talk about stupid questions.

Regarding that bit at the end of the box, I do mean, "specific questions." You will stand a much better chance of getting help if people know where to start. Saying nothing more than, "please help me with my map," will probably make them hit you with one of two responses: "Sorry, I don't know what to suggest" or, "Remap everything, use the right settings and play more maps for ideas."
Topic Starter
Thanks everyone for your support. I am happy that you think that this guide will be helpful, and I hope this guide will be of help to new mappers.

Also, thanks D33d for posting information I was missing on hitsounds and difficulties. Since I am slightly busy right now, I just linked your post in the guide. In the future, I might try to provide a quick summary above, so the text is not as overwhelming (then again, most of those things are important and hard to cut....)
Nice guide, skimmed through it and seems fine

EDIT: But the special terms are already in the wiki I believe.
Thanks so much for the guide ..really appreciate it ^_^
.. now i'm gonna start working on my beatmap this gonna be tough ~~~~
Love the guide Yoshiiii, thank you! :)
Thanks a lot blissfulyoshi for this awesome tutorial. I wanted to ask a question:
Can't we just calculate the BPM of the song using some BPM calculating software like 'BPM Counter' or 'MixMeister BPM Analyzer', and just use that value for the song in the beatmap? Of course, we'll have to adjust the Offset, but won't such a method save us from a lot of trouble? I haven't modded any beatmap yet, so it is possible that I may be saying totally absurd stuff, but still, I just wanted to put forward my point. :oops:
Topic Starter
sbstratos79: Yes, automated tools do work for simple BPMs, but they might be inaccurate or there might be multiple BPMs. As a result, you should try to learn the skills to find and verify the BPM.
Ok, thanks for the help. :D
Sword Hunter
YOSHI you rocks, this forum really help, thank you so much :)
it didn't help it just made me even more confused help!! :shock::shock::shock::(:?:(:(:?:?

Anime_Killer wrote:

it didn't help it just made me even more confused help!! :shock::shock::shock::(:?:(:(:?:?
Look for osu!academy videos. They're much, much clearer.
I didn't know Insane diff had to played a certain way, don't get me wrong I give credit to those who can play a insane, but realistically some insane diffs are at a boundary that even Elite Beat Agents and Ouendan wouldn't even go to. not everbody can react that fast
Topic Starter
I just gave general guidelines on how hard something should be at minimum. The maximum is whatever the mapper decides to be, but whether or not that setting actually works for your perception of the song, is up to you.
Alpha SS Blood
When ever I try to upload my beatmap, it just says Creating Package. I don't get what that means. I also added a video in my beatmap and followed the exact rules from your 'How to add a Video' forum so I don't know if it's the video that's causing it....It won't let me type in the Creator's Words or chose the top boxes either.
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