My opinions on osu!

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Topic Starter
Spiller
I'm a critical person at heart, so I wanted to share my opinions on osu! and hear what you agree/disagree on.

Warning: I tend to focus on potential issues, so this is likely going to sound like a rant. This does not mean there are not good points, I'm just not as good as pinpointing them.

Background: I have played Stepmania for 5+ years, now mainly as casual play as I failed to improve significantly. I'm playing osu! on-and-off, usually playing a week or two and not touching it for months. I have also tried various other rhythmic games and its various simulators, but mostly only for a short while.


"Game engine"

To start out positively, I have to praise the game engine. By game engine I mean the execution of the game concept, the interface, and similar. Stepmania, FlashFlashRevolution, Frets on Fire, etc., not comparing the actual gameplay, are just crappy in one way or another. Stepmania is crappy in so many fronts I don't even want to get started, flash alternatives lack features and sometimes have timing issues, FoF and a lot of other simulators feels like they needed another year or two of development. osu! is pretty solid, so at least for free rhythmic games engines, the best one I know of.

Adding/installing new beatmaps works great, it is simple and you don't even have to restart the game. I dare to say there is not a single other rhythmic game engine which allows you to update the maps in-game. It integrates online ranking, something you usually only see in the flash based engines. Etc.
There is a lot of minor stuff which is often omitted in other engines. For example searching. osu! even has advanced searching, haven't seen that in any other engine. The skip song intro feature is a nice detail as well. You can easily see all your previous highscores, something that feels so basic, but which is rarely the case with other engines.

I do think the interface could use a bit of work.
For example the options menu, it is hard to find what you need without searching. Searching is usually nice and fast, but it only works if you know exactly what you need and what the it is called (synonyms makes it no easier). An easy way to improve it would be to show all the groups in a collapsed state.
The in-game looks like a normal input field, but it doesn't behave like one. It has a text cursor, but you can't move it, making it pointless. None of the normal shortcuts works, etc...
The beatmap stats uses abbreviations such as CR and AR, which a new player would not know. Since the interface uses tooltips, there should be at least a tooltip explaining them.
Having replays are nice, but I have not figured out the playback controls. I want to skip directly to the part I have trouble with and replay it several times so I'm sure I know what is going on, but I don't know how to do either. (If the point of interest is at the end of a 4 min song, it would take 2 mins to get there with 2x speed, at the risk of overshooting it...) Even if the feature is there, the interface fails if the user can figure out how.
If you failed the beatmap, to watch the replay you have to press F1. Since there is room for it, why not just have it as a button as the other options? (consistency) Also, when the replay is over, you a presented with a blank screen where you can do nothing, but to exit to the song list. Replay, retry buttons where?

ETC.
I could probably go on forever, but most of it is minor stuff anyway, not a game breaker... However there is one major thing in my opinion. Moving around the song list is quite a bit worse than most other rhythmic games. They separate song and difficult selection in such a way that you nearly always end up being on the difficulty you want. In osu!, if you use the keyboard, you always end up on the first or last, and often can't see all the variations, even though there usually is enough room for in on the screen. With the mouse, it is hard to quickly iterate over the songs, as the point you need to click in order to go to the next point changes depending on the amount of variations. Neither method feels good compared to other engines.
Some filtering would also be nice, I don't want to see Catch the Beat maps when I'm only interested in standard...

As a final note to the engine, I couldn't figure out the audio Synchronization thingy at all. In Stepmania you just tap to the beat, and it figures out your offset. This one seemed manual, but I didn't quite get how you would get it accurate with just those moving bars...


Scoring mechanics

To be blunt, it is just ridiculous. To make scoring grow quadratic based on the combo means that pretty much only combo matters. While I think combo shouldn't matter in a rhythmic game, only accuracy, I do see the point of including it in the case of osu!. But making it the most important thing doesn't give a good estimation of how well you played. I hope I don't need to convince any of you of that... But I still feel like I have to ask, is there anyone who thinks the scoring system for osu! is good?

I don't like that spinners have no maximum either, as this means once you hit 100%, spinners means everything. I think it is better just to have a maximum score and let players share the position.

My preference is to play without mods, but since mods affect the score, this is annoying as you can never get a decent ranking, as everyone who care about their ranking do play with mods. (Also the multiplier is "broken" with quadratic growth, just saying...) I can however understand if some people might like it, and I would probably had begun playing with it if it had not been for one mod, DoubleTime. Promoting the use of a mod which destroys the music goes against the core principles in rhythmic gaming, if you ask me. If I had anything to say, I would make it so it did not change the multiplier.


Gameplay

I like the concept in osu!, it is fresh, as most rhythmic games basically is pressing buttons in one way or another. (beatmania, DDR, guitar hero, taiko, etc.) Here there is some pointing with movement to be followed. Much potential to be found here.

That said, it failed to impress me. While there are some parts that I think could be improved, I believe that it is mostly the beatmaps fault. There are few were I'm really feeling the music, and too many I think are stupid or just random. Maybe osu! power of expression is a double-edged sword and it is a lot harder to make decent maps? Nevertheless, I'm trying to convince myself that it is just me that is not getting it, or that I just isn't good enough to play the good maps, so I keep playing.

But let me get this out straight away, spinners are stupid. It is a circular movement which should be done as fast as possible, so it should represent something fast or energetic in the music. A bit abstract, but there are surely music out there were it could make sense. That neither timing or keeping a specific speed matters is a bit shady though.
However it feels like it is added without much care in many maps. The end of a section? Place a spinner. The song ended and is slowly fading out? Place a spinner for SPEEED, POWER!

Sliders, essentially "holds" in other games, have the cool property that they carry motion and shape, instead of just being static. Can be great if done right, but again, it appears like it is not easy to do so. Sometimes it also feels random, for example the music repeats a pattern twice, but the map uses straight sliders for the first time, and curved ones for the second time.

Moving on, life is decreased by the use of life drain, which seems odd to me as I don't see why time matters. Basing it just on accuracy seems to work well in most other games. I don't like how some beatmaps bump the life drain so you don't have much of a free room to make mistake, just because they want to. One particular map had a tricky part, followed by a series of long sliders, to force you to perform well in the tricky part. If you messed up a bit, you would slowly die during the slides, as they provided much less life than the amount which would be drained. Thus the difficulty of passing was increased by making a part of the map slower...

More of an observation: Pauses are also handled differently in osu!. I think it is only game I know of which allows you to pause while playing a song. With DDR, especially on pad but also on keyboard, you need a bit of stamina to do it properly. (Those half hour marathon songs aren't nearly as fun if you can just pause whenever you want.) Does osu! not tire you out on the higher difficulties?
Also not really found in other games are pauses in the middle of some maps. Again, I'm curious to why. (While I personally find them anti-climatic, I wouldn't say there is anything wrong with them.)



Geez, this is already an evil wall of text. The final judge will be my play history.
K E N N

Spiller wrote:

Geez, this is already an evil wall of text. The final judge will be my play history.
No kidding.
uzzi
I managed to read through it, and it's like you said, just mostly a rant on aspects you haven't seen in other rhythm games. If you really mean to play this game seriously and improve, I'm sure you'll understand where the enjoyability factor comes from. Also one note on spinners, they don't matter at all, unless you're playing some easy or normal difficulty and trying to set a top score (which is honestly pointless imo). If I'm not mistaken, spinners aren't accounted for in terms of the performance point rating of a map, so it isn't something you should worry about.
piruchan

Spiller wrote:

Some filtering would also be nice, I don't want to see Catch the Beat maps when I'm only interested in standard...
Use the grouping

Spiller wrote:

That said, it failed to impress me. While there are some parts that I think could be improved, I believe that it is mostly the beatmaps fault. There are few were I'm really feeling the music, and too many I think are stupid or just random. Maybe osu! power of expression is a double-edged sword and it is a lot harder to make decent maps? Nevertheless, I'm trying to convince myself that it is just me that is not getting it, or that I just isn't good enough to play the good maps, so I keep playing.
This happened to me as well. I personally find every beat stupid and random when I just started. But after playing for some time (more like months), messing around with the editor, reading the forums and such, I kind of able to understand why the beats are there. I think this problem will solve itself as you play more.
AutoMedic

Spiller wrote:

I like the concept in osu!, it is fresh, as most rhythmic games basically is pressing buttons in one way or another. (beatmania, DDR, guitar hero, taiko, etc.) Here there is some pointing with movement to be followed. Much potential to be found here.
osu! is based from the DS game "Osu! Tatake! Quendan!" so yeah...
Topic Starter
Spiller

- [ U z z I ] - wrote:

Also one note on spinners, they don't matter at all, unless you're playing some easy or normal difficulty and trying to set a top score (which is honestly pointless imo). If I'm not mistaken, spinners aren't accounted for in terms of the performance point rating of a map, so it isn't something you should worry about.
Indeed, I do not worry about them, as when you play without mods, even 100% often wouldn't even get you in top 1000...
That said, back when I played Thirdstyle (online DDR flash game) I really enjoyed getting AAAs (SS). That sense of accomplishment when it just isn't possible to perform better on a map. Not really bothering to do that in osu!, though mainly because of the mods. (Nor Stepmania, still trying to get that first AAAA though.)

piruchan wrote:

Use the grouping
It doesn't work together with other grouping, for example if you use collections. I used it for osu!mania, but I would have liked if I could also restrict it to only 4key or 6key.

piruchan wrote:

This happened to me as well. I personally find every beat stupid and random when I just started. But after playing for some time (more like months), messing around with the editor, reading the forums and such, I kind of able to understand why the beats are there. I think this problem will solve itself as you play more.
I hope so : )
Mofu kun

Spiller wrote:

It doesn't work together with other grouping, for example if you use collections. I used it for osu!mania, but I would have liked if I could also restrict it to only 4key or 6key.
You can group by mode, then search 4k or 6k, which will come back with those specific keys.
Vuelo Eluko
the achievement recommendation thing on the profile is infuriating. i dont tend to play things easy enough for me to get a high combo on, so when it finally happened on a decently challenging map, i was like aww yeah done seeing "TRY A NEW ACHIEVEMENT! 1000 COMBO! PLAY A MARATHON NERD!" under my graph for the past 6 months, but now it's "THOUGHT YOU WERE DONE? LAL NA NERD 2000 COMBO OR BUST BADDIE"

absolutely infuriating.

and btw, the options menu used to be better, but peppy and his streamlining ensured that didnt last. remember it how it was not how it is ;_;7

like 98% of what he does to the game is good so w/e cant complain too much.

Also, I like the combo scoring system for Osu!, because if it was acc only hard jumps could just quite literally be skipped in favor of getting higher accuracy on a stream that starts on the opposite end of the screen after the jump or something because it's easier to preserve accuracy by focusing more on SSing 'easier to reach' notes in favor of fewer 'less important for accuracy' ones. Whereas someone who lands all the hard jumps but doesnt SS all the streams is going to rank under him?

patterns and jumps are why we need the combo scoring system.
bmin11
A lot of the stuff you mentioned, like scoring, spinners, and pauses etc, are actually the old relics from Osu! Tatake! Ouendan! + Elite Beat Agents series. I agree scoring is combo-focused (wanna win in multi but in a serious risk of messing up your play? Smash your buttons for 50s and maintain your combo), but I would imagine it would be quite hard and odd to change it now. Also, as Bassist pointed out, the jump plays a role this way. The mod could be said the same, as mods are mostly handled as gimmicks on other games. Though, I'm scared how hard the beatmap has to be to catch up with the skill ceiling of nowadays without any mods lol
Topic Starter
Spiller

Bassist Vinyl wrote:

Also, I like the combo scoring system for Osu!, because if it was acc only hard jumps could just quite literally be skipped in favor of getting higher accuracy on a stream that starts on the opposite end of the screen after the jump or something because it's easier to preserve accuracy by focusing more on SSing 'easier to reach' notes in favor of fewer 'less important for accuracy' ones. Whereas someone who lands all the hard jumps but doesnt SS all the streams is going to rank under him?

patterns and jumps are why we need the combo scoring system.
Indeed. As I did say: "While I think combo shouldn't matter in a rhythmic game, only accuracy, I do see the point of including it in the case of osu!". Though as it is right now, accuracy matters nothing unless you FC it. Even worse, if you can get a good combo in the beginning, you can pretty much ignore the latter part of the map. If you can't get another combo close to your main combo, it would end up being insignificant anyway.
I think something in the line of how it is done in Guitar Hero could work well. You get a multiplier based on your combo, but it maxes out to 4x and takes a while to increase. This penalizes you quite a bit for missing, but doesn't take accuracy out of the game. Though you probably would want to increase the multiplier slower for the more crazy tracks in some manner, as it might get to easy to recover.

Btw, when I say quadratic growth, are people familiar with what it is and how it affects the score? It is a pretty basic concept in Computer Science, but I do not know if it is common knowledge.

bmin11 wrote:

The mod could be said the same, as mods are mostly handled as gimmicks on other games. Though, I'm scared how hard the beatmap has to be to catch up with the skill ceiling of nowadays without any mods lol
I wouldn't say they are just gimmicks, there are corresponding mods in Stepmania (SM) for example. HR just increases all the difficulty settings, there are settings for accuracy, life difficulty, etc in SM. DT is called "rate", HD hides the hit area and the notes as they get closer, and FL works by covering the lower part of the screen. Speaking of mods I would actually say osu! is pretty limited compared to SM. Another major difference is that they are not just on/off mods, most of them are variable. For example rate can be set to anything from 0.1x to 2.0x, with 0.1 increments.

The Thirdstyle community discussed how to increase the difficulty for its top players and the conclusion was to create a separate leaderboard for the hardest difficulty for each song with the added difficulty, i.e. mods. I like that idea, it never ended up being implemented though, dead game is dead.

Edit:
I got these scores pretty much right away when I started playing after writing this, so just had to use them as examples:

B comes before S in the alphabet, so it is obviously better. In all seriousness, the B score was more messy, with several misses.
I wonder if these non-miss combo breakers affect the accuracy, as they don't appear to be shown in the stats... (This is where I would have liked to use the playback controls, as it wasn't too obvious in the replay...)


Right next up, me messing up in the middle of an easy map like a champ. 2x200 gives half the score of a single 400 combo.
Makan1
I read 90% of your opinion (skipping out the interface section) but I feel like you just need more general experience with the game. no. Harder maps don't tire me out and very experienced players such as WWW can play 1 hour without a single break on a map. yes, there is a 55 minute marathon map. I also feel a lot of your problems such as the HP drain just comes down to your own personal skill. I think consistency is important in rhythm games and osu teaches you to be 1. accurate with HR mod. and this is both accuracies with aiming as the CS is smaller and hitting 300 99 out of 100 times due to its crazy drain o_o. to be completely honest, I wouldn't understand how accuracy would be a way to measure score or rank in osu because holding combos really sort out the good from the bad. its one thing to pass big black with 100 combo with 98% but its a whole new level to pass it with 1337 combo with 93%. actually a huge portion of this is shown. a player such as rrtyui SS distorted love song (a song only 3 people have FC'd) and Cookiezi (banned) uses HR but gets a much lower accuracy, but he would be considered so much better because of better aim, consistency, and reading and that x1.06 is worth because it makes the game so much harder and shows who's the better player in everything, not just hitting 300 all the time.

but this is your idea and thats cool. I think you should invest more time in osu and try to understand mapping better. because its really, really hard. but just play to have fun! these "critical thoughts" aren't going to help you becoming a circle clicking champion! I think the score system and ranking is the most perfect I have seen. although I feel some mods can be weighted better such as hidden being x1.03, but its damn near perfect and shows who's the best from the worst.

point is to just have fun :)
Vuelo Eluko

Spiller wrote:

Even worse, if you can get a good combo in the beginning, you can pretty much ignore the latter part of the map. If you can't get another combo close to your main combo, it would end up being insignificant anyway.
Not strictly true. I can say for sure because quite a few of my top ranks are partial combos, that accuracy is extremely important even in non-fcs. Priority doesn't change much after a combo break past halfway in a map, except in that slider breaks are not as much of a worry because along with acc, only misses can hurt effect your pp after that, so slider breaks become as detrimental as a 100 at that point.

Daniel Ingram - A True, True Friend [Insane] +HD,DT (88.90%) [350x of possible 638x] 3 misses 4.77 stars - 65 PP

Rabies Bun - Take off and Gala (PonyDub) [Insane] (97.45%) [364x of possible 649x] 3 misses 4.72 stars - 82 PP

these 2 scores from my profile are actually incredibly close in terms of star diff and achieved combo vs max combo, with the main difference being accuracy that sets the pp apart. They even have the same # of misses which penalizes them equally.

Now, the same may not apply to overall score, but the metric isn't that important except for top 50 plays.

Makan1 wrote:

although I feel some mods can be weighted better such as hidden being x1.03, but its damn near perfect and shows who's the best from the worst.
+1, hidden is insanely easy compared to HR, so i dont know why its the same score multiplier. I can get a convincing 95%+ A on MuryokuP - Catastrophe [Cataclysm] with HD, but with HR I only pass it with 81% and 100x combo. od9.8, cs5, and ar10 add a much crazier challenge to the map than hiding the approach circles.
- Marco -
Also the score system and the gameplay comes from a game called osu! tatake ouendan wich osu! was meant to be an emulator of that game. Video below to see the gameplay ;)

Topic Starter
Spiller

Makan1 wrote:

I read 90% of your opinion (skipping out the interface section) but I feel like you just need more general experience with the game. no.

Makan1 wrote:

Harder maps don't tire me out and very experienced players such as WWW can play 1 hour without a single break on a map.
Interesting. To clarify, it is not the marathon songs in Stepmania which causes trouble, it is more the 2-4 minutes ones that are just a bit too hard for you. I have actually managed to hurt my hand a few times, by not knowing when to stop...
I just saw the Performance Points page and noticed that for Taiko and osu!mania it uses a "strain" meter, while for osu!Standard it does not.

Makan1 wrote:

I also feel a lot of your problems such as the HP drain just comes down to your own personal skill.
I didn't mean to say it was too difficult. Pass rate is rather low in osu! compared to other games (according to the stats it displays on the score screen), but that is a choice made by the osu! community and I will not say that is wrong.
My point was that the mechanics seems to have disadvantages, but no real advantages. It can be used to artificially increase difficulty, by intentionally draining your life, which is poor map design if you ask me. (I only see it rarely though.) The biggest issue in my opinion is that it delays your death, so instead of killing you instantly, you sometimes end dying slightly after the point you screwed up. It just feels wrong to die in the middle of a slider or spinner, which you are doing correctly.
So I simply don't see the point of draining life based on time. The life scheme commonly found in other rhythmic games doesn't have these two issues and you can still increase life difficulty by lowering the amount gained and increasing the amount lost if you do poorly.

Bassist Vinyl wrote:

these 2 scores from my profile are actually incredibly close in terms of star diff and achieved combo vs max combo, with the main difference being accuracy that sets the pp apart. They even have the same # of misses which penalizes them equally.
These are not "scores", they are "performance points" which are calculated in an entirely different way.
They serve different purposes, as "scores" is a measure to compare performance on a specific map, while "performance points" is a measure to compare performance across of maps. The latter is arguably more difficult, but there seems to be ongoing work on it being as good as possible, so I have more faith in it.

Makan1 wrote:

to be completely honest, I wouldn't understand how accuracy would be a way to measure score or rank in osu because holding combos really sort out the good from the bad.
I don't think I was that unclear. I tried to say, for rhythmic games in general, I believe accuracy is what should matter, but in osu! it makes good sense to include combo. What I didn't like is the way combo is used in the score calculation.

Makan1 wrote:

its one thing to pass big black with 100 combo with 98% but its a whole new level to pass it with 1337 combo with 93%.
Lets try to look at the scores then. Lets put it to the extreme and say that person did 13 x 100 combos with only 300 hits. (No sliders, spinners, etc. for ease of calculation.) The score would be 1,177,800. If you did a full combo, the accuracy needed to beat it would be 11%. Which is impossible btw, as just 50 scores would give an accuracy of 16% and a score of 1,855,756. 93% would be more like 10,355,118, or over 8 times as much as the 100 combo score.
I might not be in a position to judge, but that seems imbalanced. Sure jumps might be hard, but does the rest of the map not matter?

The most prominent reason I bring it up is that it is usually easy to force a much better score by practicing it a bit. On many maps, by playing it like 5-10 times I can often increase my score to be twice as much. Obviously it is not like I'm twice as good, I just identify which parts caused me to lose the combo and try to learn them momentarily. (@Bassist Vinyl, and indeed, pp usually does not change much.)

Makan1 wrote:

but just play to have fun! these "critical thoughts" aren't going to help you becoming a circle clicking champion!
Indeed, it will only hinder me in becoming better by not playing as much. But osu! is not everything, it is important to both analyze and discuss the good and bad parts of the game, to be able to make even better rhythmic games in the future.


marcostudios wrote:

Also the score system and the gameplay comes from a game called osu! tatake ouendan wich osu! was meant to be an emulator of that game. Video below to see the gameplay ;)
Knew about the game but never saw gameplay of it. And to be honest, it looks more awesome than anything I have seen in osu! so far. Gameplay aside, it is just hilarious. And the pauses are used to progress the story, magnificent. Really, it makes perfect sense now. I feel like playing that more than osu! now...
If osu! have maps like that, I would like to know about them!!
B1rd
OP needs to spend more time playing and less time writing.
Witch Mercy
Not to disrespect, but I think you probably haven't played osu! enough to critique this game lol
Vuelo Eluko
pass rate is low on most maps because 90% of it is people retrying for a FC. Pass rate is abnormally high on other maps [i hate to use big black for my example but i will] because 90% of it is people using half-time/nofail/etc.
Kaeru
This game is based on a popular Japanese rhythm game called "Osu! Tatake! Quendan!". You can find out more about it here. A lot of the things you pointed out that you don't like (such as combo and spinners at the end of maps) are taken straight out of this game. I'm not saying that they're not things that shouldn't have been changed, but they pay direct homage to the original game.

I also don't think you've played enough or given this game enough of a chance before writing about such trivial things. Score, for example, doesn't really mean much anymore because everyone just cares about rank these days (and every other day). Chances are you need to get a full combo on a song to get a lot of performance points, but in a lot of cases lower scores are actually more impressive and worth more points. This is something you need to get used to.

Double time is a great mod, and it is one of the coolest things in this entire game to be honest. It allows you to take any map on any difficulty and turn it into a whole new challenge, allowing you to replay old maps from when you were less skilled at your current ability level. I really have no idea what you have against it. You probably just don't understand it because you can't play with it yet. It took me many months before I started to become comfortable with this mod.

I don't want to comment on everything you said, but you really need to play more. A lot of the minor things you pointed out are just things you get used to and learn to appreciate with time.

;)
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