[Guide] Analyzing Flow in Beatmaps

posted
Total Posts
39
Topic Starter
Charles445
This tutorial covers some advanced concepts. Beginner mappers beware! :P


Flow in beatmapping is a concept that doesn't have a true definition - many mappers have varying opinions on what flow is and how it should be. In this tutorial I'll explain my understanding of flow. WITH PICTURES! :D

I think of flow as a combination of three separate types of flow: Linear Flow, Oval Flow, and Drop-Off Flow.

Linear flow is where from object to object, the player has to turn either very little or not at all. This can be combined with sliders to 'catch' players after large jumps, or combined with how lenient sliders are to make otherwise complex sliders play easily.

Oval flow is when the player can move in an oval shape from object to object. Ovals are fluid, intuitive, and fun, and from what I have seen lots of people love it.

Dropoff flow is a bit confusing, but it's equally as important. Dropoff flow is when the player uses the lenient slider ball on sliders to move onto the next object before the slider is finished. This lets the player be completely stopped when playing the next object, allowing them to move in any direction afterwards with ease.


These different types of flow can be combined to make patterns that play smoothly.


Now for some examples.


Open the box for lots of helpful images!









Shiro has also compiled a post with some neat topics and great examples. Check it out here.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask in the thread. (inb4 the thread gets buried)


Oh, and if you have any types of flow that you personally use, please mention it here.

EDIT: One more thing I wanna clarify. 'Bad' flow is not a bad thing to have. The only difference between good and bad flow is how smooth the movement is. 'Good' flow is smooth while 'Bad' flow is more jagged.

Chinese Translation
theowest
Reserving a spot for images and contributions

ok, I'm too lazy for that.
Mercurial
Suscribing to topic.

This is amazing :)
dkun
well shit

rsvp
Yuukari-Banteki
You've left out a couple types here that I'd like to mention.

1. Central focus - where all notes in a combo lead to one particular area or note

2. Infinity flow - also known as figure 8 flow, where the notes loop around and intersect each other while still forming a constantly curved shape.

3. Shaped flow - in which the notes form a basic shape such as a star, an octagon, a heart, etc. Mostly used to be evocative of either the "feel" of the music, the lyrics, or something symbolic to the song

I'll add screenshots later.
Aleks719
last example sucks and bad for "tutotial", others - agree mostly.
Nyquill
This basically covers how to make your map not suck (at least not completely). Subscribed.
RandomJibberish
I wholeheartedly endorse this thread. One thing I'd like to note is that smooth flow is not and probably should not be followed 100% of the time: occasional more awkward to play angular patterns can create interesting and memorable sections of the map against particularly dramatic bits of the music. Should be done sparingly, though.
Low
This is great. Somebody please sticky this.
ziin
I'm still not getting it.
Sakura

Jacob wrote:

This is great. Somebody please sticky this.
Done
Miya

ziin wrote:

I'm still not getting it.
It's hard to understand ;_;
And how to improve bad flow?

How can you recogize it's bad or not?
those

Miya wrote:

It's hard to understand ;_;
And how to improve bad flow?

How can you recogize it's bad or not?
It's okay, we learn through experience, right? So people that understand this can teach you through your own map when they mod it. But the first step lies with you being open to suggestions.
Miya

those wrote:

Miya wrote:

It's hard to understand ;_;
And how to improve bad flow?

How can you recogize it's bad or not?
It's okay, we learn through experience, right? So people that understand this can teach you through your own map when they mod it. But the first step lies with you being open to suggestions.
I open to any suggeston, but i want to keep my point of view too. >.<

Back to the topic..
If i look into the pic, pattern that makes very extreme angle makes the flow bad, is it right?
NatsumeRin
>:( I think those definations are really great... though there's always more kinds of flows than you could think about, but the main ones are explained well.

Something i'd like to add (All my opinions):

A linear flow works best when it curves a bit from a note to the next one, a totally linear placement usually feels too straight and not flexible enough.
Also, this could be recognized as a kind of linear flow too. (constantly curve to one side)

Oval flow does not only included slider-slider patterns, circles could be used there too. (I know spacing may looks random to some of you guys, but try to get how the track works.)

Dropoff flow is usually combined with the first two mentioned, in fact.

If you could use the flows mentioned well and have your idea to the music you map, you're already a decent mapper.

(About "how to judge good flow/bad flow): Well... map/play more ww.

(About some back-forth patterns, some shaped patterns): Flow is not what the mapper pays most attention now, they will still play good when the patterns is limited in a small area, example:

This pattern won't have a good flow, but it provides another kind of feeling to the players (when it follows the music, or in a slow pattern), in the picture, 5-6-1 gets a simple linear flow to be out of the pattern area.
those

Miya wrote:

If i look into the pic, pattern that makes very extreme angle makes the flow bad, is it right?
That totally depends on when and where in the map you are. Oftentimes it's very obvious when it's bad, but other times it fits. It's very difficult to come up with an exact location in time and space because there are numerous ways to interpret something, and some ways are better than others.
xsrsbsns
@ziin/Miya that's why, the best way of studying map flow is to actually play maps.

Also I hate linear flow.
Miya
Orz, hard to understand indeed ;_;
Yeah, the best way to learn flow is by playing the map >.<
Topic Starter
Charles445
Updated the first post with a quick clarification that 'bad' flow isn't actually a bad thing. It just means more sudden movements for the player.


Saturos-fangirl wrote:

You've left out a couple types here that I'd like to mention.

1. Central focus - where all notes in a combo lead to one particular area or note

2. Infinity flow - also known as figure 8 flow, where the notes loop around and intersect each other while still forming a constantly curved shape.

3. Shaped flow - in which the notes form a basic shape such as a star, an octagon, a heart, etc. Mostly used to be evocative of either the "feel" of the music, the lyrics, or something symbolic to the song

I'll add screenshots later.
1. I think that's more of a pattern thing than how the objects are placed in relation to each other.
2. Yes, I love these :D , I think you could consider it as a combination of two ovals as well.
3. I think this is also more of a pattern thing, and a great example of how 'bad' flow can be great.


RandomJibberish wrote:

I wholeheartedly endorse this thread. One thing I'd like to note is that smooth flow is not and probably should not be followed 100% of the time: occasional more awkward to play angular patterns can create interesting and memorable sections of the map against particularly dramatic bits of the music. Should be done sparingly, though.
Yes totally, 'bad' flow can be great for some parts in music. Having contrasting flow in a map can create memora... well I guess I'm just repeating what RJ said, he's 100% right.


Miya wrote:

If i look into the pic, pattern that makes very extreme angle makes the flow bad, is it right?
If the player has to change direction because of a sharp turn, then yes it would be 'bad' flow. This can be intentional, though, and it's not a wrong thing :P

NatsumeRin wrote:

>:( I think those definations are really great... though there's always more kinds of flows than you could think about, but the main ones are explained well.

Something i'd like to add (All my opinions):

A linear flow works best when it curves a bit from a note to the next one, a totally linear placement usually feels too straight and not flexible enough.
Also, this could be recognized as a kind of linear flow too. (constantly curve to one side)

Oval flow does not only included slider-slider patterns, circles could be used there too. (I know spacing may looks random to some of you guys, but try to get how the track works.)

Dropoff flow is usually combined with the first two mentioned, in fact.

If you could use the flows mentioned well and have your idea to the music you map, you're already a decent mapper.

(About "how to judge good flow/bad flow): Well... map/play more ww.

(About some back-forth patterns, some shaped patterns): Flow is not what the mapper pays most attention now, they will still play good when the patterns is limited in a small area, example:

This pattern won't have a good flow, but it provides another kind of feeling to the players (when it follows the music, or in a slow pattern), in the picture, 5-6-1 gets a simple linear flow to be out of the pattern area.
Yes totally, small angles on Linear flow is awesome (and prevents the map from becoming rectangular, haha).
Thanks for pointing out that oval flow works on circles, it's really awesome when maps do that.
You're also correct that 'bad' flow patterns don't matter when the spacing is close together (that's basically why dropoff works well)
Really nice post, adds a lot to the thread.


Thanks for the responses so far, going to update the first post later with more information from you guys.
D33d
Obviously, "flow" is subjective, but this seems to make sense. It might be worth mentioning the importance of changing the overall direction between patterns, because I see a lot of maps which go around and around in an extremely boring way.
show more
Please sign in to reply.

New reply