Community Mentor Program 2016 - Discussion 2: Structure

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Community Mentorship Program 2016

Discussion 2: Structure

"Discussions" are Mentorship discord-internal events where Mentors host a public lesson and discussion about a certain topic. This guide is the result of said discussion.

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Introduction

Structure is basically the way you connect things in order to make a solid beatmap. Solid beatmap as in - everything is there for a reason and nothing is left unjustified. In further layman terms, structure is the relationships between every object that makes up your beatmap.

By "things" it means aesthetics, tension, hitsounding, movement etc. Everything can be connected together in a certain way, and the way you connect everything together is always unique. That's why every beatmap is different from one another.

Think of the structure of a beatmap like the structure of a bridge: You can have many kinds of bridges that serve the same purpose but work under different conditions: Different width, different height, different length and different weather conditions all work toward making each bridge unique. The same thing basically applies in mapping, every song is different so the way you represent it is also bound to be different
Aesthetics

To delve deeper into this, let's use the most prominent example that represents what structure basically is, the aesthetics.

The aesthetic relationship between objects provides more than a few ways to show how your map is structured. Blankets, parallel sliders, Back-and-forth sliders, hitcircle shapes (triangles etc) and many more allow the mapper to properly connect patterns with each other. But that doesn't mean that using a great variety of ways to connect your patterns together is always the best way to go.

If you use a certain aesthetic component a lot in a certain map, you will end up with the said component becoming a key characteristic of your map. Much like how most wub-wub maps have the red anchor as their key component because it's forceful but also allows for cool slider shapes to happen. Aesthetics might be the most prominent but it is just one way of representing structure
Consistency

There are more concepts that go into maintaining a certain layout of your map while going through the song. One of them is consistency which many people sacrifice for the sake of variety nowadays.

For example, if the first verse of a song repeats later on, representing it with a different rhythm goes against the initial structure. Or for example, if you have represented a certain wub sound with a specific wiggly slider, it would be the best idea to do so when the exact same sound comes up again. Because you can't start building a bridge with metal and then stone when you are midway done, you feel me?
More Advanced Structuring Concepts

Of course your structure must comply with the structure of the song:
If for example the song gets calm, you could use more user-friendly movement, not-so-edgy patterns less spacing to connect everything. If the song starts getting crazy you can go all out without forgetting to connect everything properly.

So that's for tension basically and how you should/could go about it according to how the song's tension fluctuates.As of now you have probably noticed that all of these things have the same basis and that's what the song that you are mapping provides you.

Most people see mapping as a way of making the player move in a certain fashion and they tend to forget that in the long run, you are trying to represent a song. Changing your structure's nature according to how the song changes is only natural if done well. And just like everything else, movement is another part of the structure spectrum that should work along with the song.

There might be snappy sounds, there are long-drawn sounds, there are jazzy sounds and there are growls, everyone perceives them in a different way and represents them with different movement, but you must stay true and consistent to how you represent them or else there's a high chance of breaking your song's structure.

You are building your map with a certain structure according to what the song provides you:
That's why it would be weird to use red anchors and high spacing on a 120 BPM banjo song because it would be like trying to make a sky bridge connecting 2 lands that are separated by sea. Although you can argue that "it's subjective" you can't argue that the great majority of people would agree to something like that,
Closing Words

In the end, it's up to the mapper to decide what structure they want their map to have and should never be held back by what others thin. However being held back is not something you should always avoid, because for example you can't map to more things than what the song you are mapping provides you. You will end up overdoing it and ending up with something that's clearly ugly.

So just like how you are aware of what the song you are mapping provides you, you must also be aware of what it doesn't. This is immensely important to understand when to not map something as this will help you limit your actions to the point where it's borderline obvious what you should/ want to do.

Once you reach that point, you will find your own way of structuring your maps according to the kind of song you are mapping.


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