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Guide to Beatmapping for Absolute Beginners

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Topic Starter
Anxient
Guide to Beatmapping for Absolute Beginners

I made this because apparently not too many people know how to start with mapping (or even work their way around the editor)
Im not going to cover placing and that stuff coz if you dont know how to do that, then...

The map example in this Guide is t+pazolite (ft. Nanahira) - Otsukimi PARTY HARD

>Metadata
>Difficulty Settings
>Finding the BPM and Offset
>Mapping the Actual Set
>Who to ask when you’re in a pinch!
>Where to go when in a pinch!
>Credits


ACT 1: Metadata

So! What is this thing? It’s basically a basic description of the song.
Ex) The title of the song, its artist, etc.

In osu!, it also holds information about the song’s source, tags and current map difficulty. Here is an example of the metadata screen:


You can edit this by clicking “Song Setup” on rightmost tab of osu!Editor, or by directly editing the .osu file, but that’s too complex and unnecessary unless you messed up completely!

Here, i will explain on what the more trivial boxes mean, coz I think its pretty obvious on what 'Artist' is right?

>Difficulty: This shows name of the difficulty you are currently mapping. In approval maps (songs with more than 5 minutes of drain time), the hardest difficulty of a mapset, or collaborations, you can name this whatever you want! In the hardest difficulty, however, you must relate the hardest difficulty name to something that relates to the song. Here, i used Kawaii Hardcore coz the genre of this song is J-Core, and Nanahira's voice is cute.

>Source: This shows on where the song came from. If this song doesn't appear from anywhere (doujin music) (anime (Naruto), games (Final Fantasy (number), etc), then it is fine to leave this blank.

>Tags: Tags are keywords that will help players find your map! Make sure they are related to the map and song or salty BNs/QATs will rip your face off! When i say related to the map, if you have Guest difficulties, then you'll have to add the names of the users that provided you with that difficulty.

Example:
hvick225 has made a map! (he actually did, and you should check it out.) and has uploaded said map, but then, Akali has asked hvick if he can make a difficulty (assuming this will ever happen HAH).
Once Akali has provided hvick with the diff, hvick will have to add Akali's name into the tags (Akali's <diffname>).
--------------------------------

ACT 2: Difficulty Settings


This is the fun part (not really). This shows how hard the map will be once you play it. Although all these settings should be pretty self explanatory, mouse over them to get a basic description of each one!

A difficulty should have stats appropriate for the level of play it demands. More info about each difficulty can be found here:
Easy: https://osu.ppy.sh/wiki/Easy
Normal: https://osu.ppy.sh/wiki/Normal
Hard: https://osu.ppy.sh/wiki/Hard
Insane: https://osu.ppy.sh/wiki/Insane
Extra:https://osu.ppy.sh/wiki/Expert

Anxient's recommendation: credit to Xexxar, i suggets you to map in a range of your skill level, as in if you can only play 4* diffs properly, then map around that difficulty, so that you are able to identify what is fun and what is not!
------------------------------

ACT 3: Finding BPM and Offset


[notice]
This is the part of mapping a lot of people are confused by, so let’s approach this slowly!
BPM: This is the most important thing that you need to know! Mess this up, and your song will be in shambles! Stay wary of songs with multiple (variable) BPMs!

Offset:Finding the offset is easy—it is the beat on which the song starts. If you just mess around with the offset, you won’t be able to find the correct BPM. So after you’ve carefully judged the offset, simply tap “T” in rhythm with the song to find the proper BPM. Write the correct offset down on a piece of paper or a notepad once you have found the offset, coz tapping T will reset the offset for whatever reason


Finding the Offset

This isn’t always fun, but it’s a necessary step you must take in beatmapping!
Offset marks the first beat of the song, or the first stanza since alot of songs have lead-ins. (credit to Kibbleru for pointing this out) after which the metronome will start ticking according to the set BPM!
Both the BPM and offset work hand in hand, so you must not mess up even one of these! (no pressure! You'll do fine!)

Heres an example of the timing panel:

To find the offset, go to the very beginning of the song, and locate where the first beat starts! Use 25% or 50% playback rate to get the most accurate results! You can find this on the bottom right of the editor!


Once you find the starting point, pause! Go to the timing panel and add a timing point there! Make it a habit go to the middle/end of the song to check if the metronome is still in beat with the song! If it isn’t, you’d better keep trying!

If a song has variable BPM, repeat this process where you think the BPM changes. But if they are too slight or too many in number, ask some timing god for help (ex: Charles445, MrSergio, or w/e their username is)

P.S.: Don‘t be afraid to ask people to check your timing, they will in 95% of cases help you. Just head to #modhelp (warning: high amount of cancer there) or https://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/13795 and ask there.
---------------------------------

ACT 4: Mapping the Actual Set


Now time for some real action!

As a mapper, there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind, such as flow, rhythm, audio, and general feel of the song!

Here is a picture of the generic editor. (mind that this is used with my skin so it may look different)

Distance Snap ([Alt] key)
by default, the Distance Snap (aka DS) would be binded to the alt key

This is an absolute must-tool that is useful for mappers, newbie, although experienced mappers may be able to map great maps without it! It makes objects have equal distance between each other with respect to rhythm! Use it to create streams, too!
This tool makes every map nice and clean! Examples below: (image 4.2 is the one WITH distance snap, image 4.3 is the one WITHOUT distance snap)


Bookmarking
While this may be a feature that you won't use, this is still a very important part of the editor.
The bookmarking tool (ctrl+b or that little 'plus' sign on the lower timeline) can be used to set a reminder. As in, 'oh this guy told me to fix this part, but i'm too busy right now.' In this situation, you can use the bookmark tool to set a reminder.

Another good use is when you're collabing with someone. (examples collab diffnames are PanTSU's <diffname> (P A N and Natsu)). You can use the bookmark tool to set out borders as to until what part must you map. More of this would probably be explained by your partner, but this is basically all there is to bookmarking.

Flow

This thing is really important for some reason—maybe it’s because a map with bad flow will make the player feel uncomfortable when playing! Your flow should make sense; don’t put ridiculous jumps left and right just to make the map more “difficult”, because #modhelp will bite you!...hard!

Maps with good flow can move your cursor to the next note without you even realizing it!

The image below is an example of ‘good’ flow. Follow the map with the cursor and ask yourself: “Is it uncomfortable to play?”


Rhythm

You’ll have to keep this consistent, unless a part of the song indicates otherwise, since inconsistent rhythm can lead to deficient variety! For these two editor links, have the diff Kawaii Hardcore open.
00:00:147 -
00:02:813 -

As you can see, since the song has similar rhythm at both timestamps, you work with similar note placements. You can alternate your use of notes and sliders if the map feels too repetitive from your viewpoint.

Beat Snap

If you messed up the BPM and offset, you probably shouldn’t be here.

Whatever you do, a map is snapped in 1/4 most of the time. Anything different is probably an irregular, waltz, swing, or slow song (often less than 100 BPM). In this case, ask someone in #modhelp for confirmation.

Use 1/8 only if an instrument is played at that pace and is appropriate for the difficulty. 1/6 is usually paired with ¼.

Any unnecessary usage of 1/12 or 1/16 and I will personally behead you. Some sort of proper usage can be seen in the map 'Trail of Star' by Skystar.

Below is an image of the Beatsnap Divisor if you have no idea where to look: its on the top right section.

A common use for 1/8 is usually found in here: 1/8 sliders.


Slider Velocity
Slider Velocity is exactly what it says it is, Slider Speed. The bar on the bottom of the timing tab shows the default


Restraint

This should be easy to follow. Basically, don’t listen to a slow, sad, 100 BPM love song and go, “THIS MAP SHOULD TOTALLY BE THE HARDEST MAP IN EXISTENCE, YOLO ROFL,” overmapping it unnecessarily.

Remember, you want a map that somehow represents and embodies the song’s nature.

In this case, the song is fast-paced and pretty energetic, so it should be perfectly fine to make it hard, but if youre going to map a calm song (piano sounds, low bpm), making it unecessarily hard would ruin the song so dont do this D:

Overmap

Basically, this is adding a note that actually isn’t there. As in, there’s an object, but there’s nothing in the song that represents the note. Absolutely forbidden to do so.

Strong Beats and Weak Beats

Theres not really much to say here, but whatever.

If a beat feels clickable, example: 02:13:480 – this part. If you landed in this part and it was a sliderend, wouldn’t it feel weird? Like that feeling “I MUST CLICK THIS WHY IS IT A SLIDEREND”. Otherwise, strong beats (poor sfx: BAM) should be clickable when there is the opportunity about weak beats, you don’t have to care if it is a sliderend or slider start.

Summary if you didn’t get anything
Strong beats = slider start (recommended)
Weak Beats = slider end or slider start

Kiai Time
So. What is kiai time? Everytime you play a map and you reach the chorus of the map, you might see the hitcircles slow or some random fireworks. This is called kiai time, and is used to emphasize a powerful part of the song. Usually this is used in the chorus part of the song, but in other occasions it can be used elsewhere. For examples, look at Hollow Wings' Sentimental Skyscraper.
Blankets

surely you mustve asked your map to be checked and random people start telling to make a blanket of this and that and EVERYTHING but you have no idea what a blanket is right? And surely you must've gotten a definition already but youre too baka to understand right (like me hiks).

Here is an example of a blanket: See how all of (3) covers the head of (2)? That’s a blanket! These make the map look neat and polished!

Slider blanket

alternatively, you can do this

TIP: Use approach circles as guides when creating blankets to make them absolutely perfect!

Reminder: Blankets are not necessary to use in beatmaps, so don't feel like you need to use it.
i hope you understood everything ;w;

------------------------------------------


ACT 5: Where to ask and where to look when in a pinch!

Where to ask!

>#modhelp for general issues, testplays, and luckily, mods — mostly sucks. While we are willing to help you, you will be expected to be able to pull your own weight.

>There is a forum section entirely devoted to beatmapping, which can be found here: 12 (under “Beatmaps”). You can find your answers there! — really sucks.

The BNG (Beatmap Nominators Group) members, some can help you by giving you some advice, some don’t (plot twist: they don’t) — 95% are offline, 4% are busy and 1% is actually willing to help. Remember that the BNs used to be the same as you (regular mappers) and so are some of the top players (hvick), so don't feel nervous when asking for help. If they don't reply to you, they're probably busy. But there are tons of BNs for you to ask so there must be that 1% who is willing to help so keep looking!

With that, welcome to the world of mapping! You must really be a masochist KEK — *runs*

Where to look for more information:

Flow:
Charles445: https://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/86329
Shiro: https://osu.ppy.sh/news/61334266941.

Slider Creation:
RandomJibberish: https://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/37194
Inverness: https://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/208596

Timing
Charles445: https://osu.ppy.sh/forum/t/121202
Credits


>Anxient for creating this entire shitstorm.
>Gray Veyron for correcting the shitstormer’s English.
>Geronimaa for being victim of Anxient‘s shitstorm
>Hanburgeric for adding Slide 18 and being yet another victim of Anxient’s shitstorm.

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask below in the thread; we dont bite unless youre being completely retarded THEN we will bite.
Arphimigon

Anxient wrote:

Maps with good flow can move your cursor to the next note without you even realizing it!
I loved this
sheela
This is a great guide!

After reading the page, you use "coz" as "because", which I rarely see in guides, and I think you should use the correct word. Also, some words forgot their apostrophes, which I list it below:
  1. youre, dont // Restraint
  2. surely, mustve, mustve, youre // Blankets


In ACT 5, there's a link that redirect to the whole forum. Maybe this should be the link: 12?
Topic Starter
Anxient
bump

EDIT1: so that there is a chance that new mappers might read this
Kibbleru
2 things
offset is not always the first absolute sound in a map, but rather the first stanza, since many songs have lead-ins.
distance snap is definitely NOT an absolute must (though recommended for newbies) advanced mappers actually rather leave distance snap off
Topic Starter
Anxient

Kibbleru wrote:

2 things
offset is not always the first absolute sound in a map, but rather the first stanza, since many songs have lead-ins.
distance snap is definitely NOT an absolute must (though recommended for newbies) advanced mappers actually rather leave distance snap off
thanks for pointing this out >.<
Zexous
My contribution to this guide:

Anxient wrote:

>Difficulty: This shows name of the difficulty you are currently mapping. In approval maps (songs with more than 5 minutes of drain time), the hardest difficulty of a mapset, or collaborations, you can name this whatever you want! In the hardest difficulty, however, you must relate the hardest difficulty name to something that relates to the song. Here, i used Kawaii Hardcore coz the genre of this song is J-Core, and Nanahira is cute. Don't judge me. Moe is love, moe is life.
As of recent (or I don't actually know how recent this change is anymore, but still) changes to the ranking criteria, you cannot name diffs whatever you want, the whole scheme has to be related and the names have to make enough sense to discern their tier from name alone (although new star rating should've nullified this rule, but whatever).
Basically, diff names like [0108] are no longer viable, spreads like [lol] --> [lmao] --> [rofl] are no longer viable.

Anxient wrote:

>Source: This shows on where the song came from. If this song doesnt appear from anywhere (anime, games, etc), then it is fine to leave this blank.
Clarification that you don't go 100% specific on this. So for example if a song appears from anime "Anime X" on episode Y, you wouldn't write "Anime X Episode Y" in Source, just "Anime X".

Just head to #modhelp (warning: high amount of cancer there)
I'm crying

Anxient wrote:

Distance Snap ([Alt] key)
by default, the Distance Snap (aka DS) would be binded to the alt key
I actually exclusively use the toggles (Y for DS).
Also you should have a tiny little section on grid snap, you can explain its use but mostly it's just annoying and the toggle for it is T.

Anxient wrote:

Flow
This thing is really important for some reason—maybe it’s because a map with bad flow will make the player feel uncomfortable when playing! Your flow should make sense; don’t put ridiculous jumps left and right just to make the map more “difficult”, because #modhelp will bite you!...hard!
You should add that as you improve as a player, your understanding of flow will improve and you'll be able to see what other complex types of flow are good and bad.

Anxient wrote:

Whatever you do, a map is always in ¼, ALWAYS (almost).
I feel like you should ease up on the severity of that statement, just kinda say "Most songs will be in 1/4, any other snap is uncommon".

Anxient wrote:

Remember, you want a map that somehow represents and embodies the song’s nature.
BOLD IT, UNDERLINE IT, ITALICIZE IT, ENLARGE IT. This is the single underlying goal of mapping.



Add a section on hitsounding; I can help with that if necessary.
Mikii
Hello

I had trouble putting circles on my screen, but thanks to this guide I can place circles better now ty.

You might want to work on the punctuations in the end but otherwise nice guide for beginners :p

Edit: eg the blanket section text might need to be more formal with some capitalisation

I should make my own guides
Bara-
Quite a neat guide
Good job
If only all newbs would read it
Topic Starter
Anxient
doublebump

EDIT1: so that there is a chance that new mappers might come across this and actually read it
Endaris
Why would you bump this, forum rules don't approve.
Anyway, if I was new to mapping I wouldn't give a shit about metadata and difficulty spreads, I'd just want to map a cool diff, so I'd cut these parts and put them at the end instead of the beginning.
Not linking Charles' Timing Tutorial but telling people to cry out to other people for some timing in #modhelp and that thread is also kinda meh. Encourages lazy-ass behaviour.

For any mapping-specific stuff you're barely scratching the surface of several things without pointing directions where you could find out more about a certain topic therefore I doubt that anyone can make a halfdecent map off of this especially since it doesn't even cover all editor-basics the absolute beginner will be most confused about(probably).
Topic Starter
Anxient

Endaris wrote:

Why would you bump this, forum rules don't approve.
Anyway, if I was new to mapping I wouldn't give a shit about metadata and difficulty spreads, I'd just want to map a cool diff, so I'd cut these parts and put them at the end instead of the beginning.
Not linking Charles' Timing Tutorial but telling people to cry out to other people for some timing in #modhelp and that thread is also kinda meh. Encourages lazy-ass behaviour.

For any mapping-specific stuff you're barely scratching the surface of several things without pointing directions where you could find out more about a certain topic therefore I doubt that anyone can make a halfdecent map off of this especially since it doesn't even cover all editor-basics the absolute beginner will be most confused about(probably).
thanks to you I linked Charles' Timing Video, and I appreciate that. And I'm in no position to say this or whatever, but your attitude is really bad. All I'm doing is pointing out the things new mappers should know before barging to #modhelp. Ever wondered why I put a poll up there? If you think this forum post is useless, please. Feel free to select the most bottom option!

As for the metadata being on the beginning, I believe that metadata is the most important as I'm placing everything step by step.

as a closing, this guide is made so that the beginners can know on what the editor can do BASICALLY. As in, 'oh the editor can do this thingie.' If its anything other than that, it wouldn't be called 'ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS' guide. Besides, this guide isn't supposed to guide you on how to make a 'half-decent' map. Thank you for reminding me to add Charles' Timing Tutorial but I don't understand why you need to be so butthurt about it. If you feel like this guide is inferior, just ask kindly. Remember that politeness is important, in or out of the game.

and what exactly does the forum rules do not approve? if its for not giving a reason, ill give you a reason:
so that new potential mappers can read this and know what to do in the editor and will have a guide if they need one.

happy?
Endaris
You looked like you were looking for feedback so I was trying to give some.

it doesn't even cover all editor-basics the absolute beginner will be most confused about
I think this point still stands.
The only Editor-Functions you're giving a usable introduction to is naming Distance/Beat-Snap plus mentioning the appropriate key to toggle/change it plus adding examples.

Aside from that you talk a lot of what the outcome of the map should avoid/do, but you skip on a good part of Editor-Functions that are kind of vital, for example bookmarks, Hitsounds, Grid Snap(while this is kind of intuitive by design you could mention which size is good and when you should toggle it off), inherited timing sections(volume, Kiai, Sampleset, SV).
Also mentioning SV for the timing in general would be a good idea I think.
On the other hand I could ask: What do I need blankets for as it doesn't affect playability at all

If you want to keep your "chronological order" with Metadata first you should look to give absolute beginners some structure they can work with similar to what is done in the first section of Tasha's Taiko Mapping Guide.

I don't think anything from what you've written up to now is wrong or a bad read but to be really good it needs some more description for editor-elements(see above) and structuring a newbie can work with.
You have to decide on what exactly you want this to be:
Putting Metadata at the end would be a nice start for a quickstart-guide where you don't go into detail on anything where you're just saying
"okay these are the absolute most important things you need when you want to start mapping(and you want to do it NOW instead of reading through long descriptions) everything else comes later"
so this wasn't meant to be rude, just a way I imagined how not-so-experienced players might go into mapping.

Bumping threads without content in the bump post is forbidden.
Topic Starter
Anxient
wow I accidentally destroyed my post about thanking Endaris for his help. son of a
Topic Starter
Anxient
bumped so that hopefully new mappers can get to read this.
StoryTime
Brand spanking new shitmapper here, I'm really glad I stumbled upon this guide. As someone who isn't very creative and improves better through learning rather than experimenting, this guide is really helpful. This is gonna help me get my feet on the ground before I start trying to run.
Topic Starter
Anxient
bumping so new mappers get to read this :l
KawaiiChaos
im really confused on how to put music but i have the video can you please help me :?:(
Bara-

Anuar515 wrote:

im really confused on how to put music but i have the video can you please help me :?:(
If you have a .mp3 file (I believe .wav works too, but I'm not sure, just use .mp3) you can press edit in-game, and then drag the mp3 file into the osu screen
ZodiacLyfe
Thanks for the help~ :P
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