[Guide] Avoiding unranks

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Topic Starter
I wrote this up as a reference for the most common things to check for to prevent a map from getting disqualified. Although this is mainly written for BAT members to make fewer mistakes, it's also great for mappers to prevent those mistakes in the first place so your map passes into ranked for people to play as soon as possible.

This is all my experiences from seeing my own unranks, other people's unranks, bubble pops, and good mods as they show up on the forums, as well as chat with experienced modders/QAT's in private or #modhelp. And some from replies to this thread.

Common issues

Maps are frequently disqualified for these reasons, so you want to check these carefully. It's either because they commonly occur or most modders don't check for them.

Difficulty Spread
One of the most common cause of unranks. You want to make sure that the gap between any two difficulties in the mapset isn't too big compared to the rest of the spread.

Among all of these, Normal is usually the greatest offender when it's made too easy. I often see that the Easy is mapped in mostly 1/1 with a bit of 2/1, the Normal is mapped with mostly 1/1 and almost no 1/2, and the Hard is almost all 1/2. In this case, the Normal should have more 1/2 rhythms to balance the set.

I believe the Hard to Insane gap gets neglected a bit too. While Hards are typically around 3 stars (BPM dependent), the difficulty of the Insane varies greatly depending on how it's mapped, so if it's too crazy (too many jumps, long streams, or 1/4 rhythm), a possible situation is that it ends up closer to an expert difficulty and then players who can easily full combo the Hard can't pass the Insane. From what I've seen, spreads with one single Insane can get away with this to some extent, but if there are multiple insanes the easier one should really try to serve as a bridge between the Hard and the harder Insane(s).

Everyone will say star rating isn't a good indicator of difficulty when evaluating spread but if the differences in star rating between all your difficulties are almost identical, you're probably good to go~

Objects snapped incorrectly to the music
This too happens a lot when a part of the music's rhythm, for example, is in 1/6 while the rest of the song is in the usual 1/4 or 1/2 and the mapper didn't notice while mapping it in 1/4. Incorrect snapping means the map failed to follow the music and those objects don't fall on the exact time as the notes in the music. This is different from overmapping in that an overmapper followed every beat in the music accurately and then added additional beats, while the incorrectly snapped map ignored the right beats and added sounds on other beats.

Anyways, this is only an issue when the map uses 1/3 and 1/6 rhythms when the user is expecting 1/4. If the map is only in 1/4 or 1/2 then it's pretty intuitive to only stick on those. Be careful and listen carefully for every tick. If a part seems suspicious to you, slow down the playback speed to 25% and listen closely to make sure it's mapped how the music is. Songs may have four 1/6 ticks before the downbeat of a measure, or have a few 1/3 notes in the guitar solo between the second and last kiai times.

It's also tricky if the song has whole sections in 1/3 or 1/6. Two out of the three ranked Liar Mask maps had been disqualified for this, and the one that wasn't was because TicClick had gone though and done a snap check. Essentially, when all the notes around a slider end or circle are in 1/3, then it should be snapped to 1/3 as well. This may difficult to get right so you should always ask others when unsure.

Automatic checks

Run AIMod on all diffs and AIBAT, and you don't have to worry about the following:
  1. inconsistent metadata, kiai times, combo colors, preview point across difficulties
  2. unsnapped objects
  3. spacing errors - remove NC from all objects to ensure it checks everything
  4. unsnapped green lines
  5. audio bitrate over 192 kbps
  6. not enough audio lead-in
  7. green lines at the same time - use the new AIBat from jonathanlfj to check

Unused hitsounds
TicClick wrote a useful program for checking for hitsounds that aren't being used by any difficulty in the mapset. Once in a while it still finds something in a map I'm checking to be ranked or almost bubbled, so it's worth using whenever you mod.

Other possible things

These don't happen nearly as much as the common issues but, for various reasons, still slip by enough to cause a significant amount of unranks. Either because they're hard to notice, too time consuming to check for so the BAT doesn't, or differences in opinions/judgement of the BAT, whatever. Some of these things people will notice and point out during the modding process, but it's best for the BAT to make sure.

Spinner recovery time
Depends somewhat on the BPM, but if it's 150-190, try to go for at least 4 beats of recovery time for easy, 2 beats for normal, and 1 beat for hard. There is no requirement for Insane but at least 1 beat is common courtesy especially if the object isn't near the center.

Hitsounds with delay and under 100 ms
This is another one of those things, along with post spinner recovery time, that everyone who's been reading the ranking criteria forums lately will know about. Still, it's a little tedious to check every hitsound for this so I suspect many BAT's don't bother. It requires you to open every hitsound in Audacity one at a time and zoom in on the wave to see if the first 5 ms is flat compared to the rest. Most of the time the hitsounds are good anyways.

Also make sure the total length of the hitsound is over 100 ms. Not the wave itself, just the sound file.

Sliderslide hitsounding
Another recent one born in the ranking criteria forums, doesn't happen too much though. If the mapper uses green sections in the middle of sliders to cover claps in their easy/normal, make sure they're using the sliderticks and not sliderslides as the clap sound.

Spacing errors in Easy/Normal
They need to use consistent distance snap throughout. If there's a longer pause between two objects, distance snap may be ignored if the next object is visible only after the first object is done. Meyrink's twintails map was unranked because distance snap snap was broken between objects that were too close.

Normals may use a different distance snapping for a new section, but still has to keep DS between objects consistent for each section. That means you can use 1.0x regularly but switch to 1.3x in kiai, but everything in kiai needs to be 1.3x and everything outside kiai 1.0x.

Poor readability
The higher the difficulty, the more confusing types of patterns can be in it. In Easy/Normal, the patterns should be very straightforward, like a circle after a slider should be closer to the slider's end than the head. Stacking and overlapping should be used carefully.

This also goes to Hard difficulties, when slightly trickier patterns like two identical sliders stacked on each other close in time isn't ideal.

For Insanes and Experts, it would be slider velocity and spacing changes that don't make sense. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with poor quality, which I will talk about later.

Basically, if it can't be sightread by an adequate player of the difficulty's intended skill level, it's probably not a good idea.

Also, the slider's repeat sign shouldn't be covered by a hit burst or other objects.

Incorrect title/source/artist/tags/romanizations
Mostly an issue with Japanese anime songs. I don't know who or when it was decided that we need to go stalking official anime websites for official ~~TV size~~ (anime ver.) titles and artist names instead of just copying it from MyAnimeList and slapping (TV Size) on the title like they used to. It's a lot easier this way and it's not like players are gonna search for official titles. No, they're just gonna type in the name of the song or anime and that's that.

Anyways, my rant aside, for anime songs what I do is find the Japanese title on MAL, search it in Google, click the first result (the official site), look around for a section that says "Product" or "CD", and see if somewhere I can find a list of the songs in the soundtrack.

Also you can ask the Japanese people for help, especially with confirming romanized words and names.

Lastly, the tags must include the names of all guest difficulty mappers. It would help people searching the map to include abbreviations of the source (SAO for Sword Art Online, etc.)

Incorrect timing
Two things: either the BPM or offset is wrong, a fix for which is straightforward; or some notes in the music are off by small amounts relative to the beat, as was the case with the Tomatsu Haruka - courage mp3. That requires additional red lines or mp3 editing to fix the errors.

The BPM may also need to be doubled/halved if the song is too fast/slow for the current one. Also, most songs are in 4/4 time signature but some may have 3/4.

Missing video
Make sure every difficulty has video and consistent video offset. Sometimes GD mappers like Momochikun download without video and the line of code in their .osu file used to include the video is removed; failing to remind the mapper screws you over.

Overmapping, low map quality, etc.
There are two definitions of poor quality. The map made by the inexperienced mapper, which has poor rhythm choices/hitsounding, inconsistencies, visually unappealing, bad flow, it just needs more experience by the mapper to polish it better and it's quite easy for a BAT see it's poor quality.

And then the other type of "poor quality" map by an experimenting mapper. This is when the map is too crazy and overdone with huge jumps, streams, gratuitous 1/4 spam and overmapping, and to a point where the map doesn't fit the music or make sense to the player. In most cases, the BAT checking these kinds of maps knows what they're getting into when they give it the icon. The harder the map, the more likely this issue will be raised.

Of course, these kinds of maps are often well liked and praised by people for being creative and fun, and as a BAT who wants to get it ranked you'll disagree with me, but remember this thread is about avoiding unranks—the main point is that these kinds of maps are more likely to cause them.

NSFW backgrounds/video
I never understood why some mappers are so hellbent on using pictures of anime girls in bikinis as a background for a completely unrelated song. Or even if the song and BG are from the same anime, why they absolutely have to use the NSFW background out of all other possible ones. I like sexy stuff just as much as the next person, but I don't go around insisting on a stupid background for my map. Just stay safe and go with one that won't make the people looking over your shoulder question your morals when they see you play the map.

Also osu staff seems to have been getting stricter with videos too. Now an anime opening with any nudity needs to be censored and most eroge videos are straight up not included because they have too many frames of sexy situations.

Offscreen sliders
Pretty rare, but slider bodies shouldn't be offscreen while playing. If a part of the slider looks like it's off the editor's grid, hit f5 to test and see if it's offscreen.

More common is objects overlapping the HP bar, which happens whenever they're too high in the upper left corner.

Inaudible hitsounds
The player must be able to hear the hitsounds of all circles and slider heads, which means their hitsound volume can't be too low. Look through the timing sections for abnormally low volumes and also listen carefully as the map plays.

Also don't replace any hitnormal files with silent/empty ones.

wtf issues

The mapper has to be retarded or actively trying to piss you off to include these.

Video with audio
Check with this program called MediaInfo. It shouldn't have an audio track.

Unreadable sliders
Abusing red points and stuff.
Thanks for writing this up xxdeathx.

However, you missed a few things:

Offscreen sliders in 4:3 aspect ratio, while AIMod does check for this, if your slider border is the only thing passing the edge of the screen, AIMod will not report an issue, while a player using a 4:3 format will see a slightly offscreen slider.

Unreadable sliders / Poor readability can be easily done if you cover the repeat sign. While not used anymore, the old standard skin has had points where the hit burst cover the repeat sign right when you are about to finish the slider, so just be careful to check for any map that forces nontransparent skins or covers the slider ending in some other way.

That is all I can think of for now, but I am sure there are other unrank ideas out there.
Good job...
First things I noticed that are missing:
- Two inherited sections above each other - That often happens when the Timing was changed at some point.
- Mappers that don't use the 44-byte file provided in the ranking criteria to silence sliderslides/sliderticks etc (Basically, if the "empty" hitsound files are a different size than 44 bytes, something is wrong)
Topic Starter
thanks for the additional things, i forgot about them. i'll update later when i have time

btw dkun garven said the empty wav files can be a different size from 44 bytes as long as it's still empty
Really? But it needs to be atleast 100 ms long (you could add that then), so it has atleast 44 bytes of size, and if it's bigger the file size can be reduced, so it would make no sense to have anything else than the 44 bytes file, or am I mistaken?
Topic Starter
Oh 100 ms is right for non silent hitsounds, but https://osu.ppy.sh/s/106595 has an empty sliderslide with more than 44 bytes

xxdeathx wrote:

https://osu.ppy.sh/s/106595 has an empty sliderslide with more than 44 bytes
!summon QATs
Okay hehe
should be "Hitsounds with delay or under 100ms" q:

also did u add stuff being off screen?
Random Hype Post
Topic Starter

Kibbleru wrote:

should be "Hitsounds with delay or under 100ms" q:

also did u add stuff being off screen?
dude cmon read

thanks faan

xxdeathx wrote:

There are two definitions of poor quality.
Both of your definitions are the same. You can't excuse amateurish mapping with "experimentation".
Topic Starter
Aren't there very clear differences between HW's Genryuu Kaiko and some first timer's map?
Naturally, but the similarities between them is what is important (and is the entire point of your thread).
This thread deserves a sticky :3

Also, the best way to check for spacing errors in Easy/Normal is to remove every combo THEN check AIMod. AImod ignores spacing errors between new combos. As for timing, you should also get the time signature correct too. Another thing you should look out for are inaudible hitsounds.
Topic Starter
Thanks Ike, I added some more!
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