The drums of war fade, and in the lingering silence, we find our winner. Triumphant among the twelve, one stands supreme in osu!taiko's first official contest of creative wills. Read on to find out more!
Over thirty intrepid souls stepped forward to pit their osu!taiko mapping skills against Function Phantom's Algebra.
Showcased live to an audience of stunned viewers, twelve were chosen for the community's vote, the ravenous vultures of creative expectation looming high in the skies above.
And judge they did.
Beloved by judge and community both, the winner of Aspire 2017: Stage Two is none other than Intense Muskrat, mapped by the extraordinarily talented Supairo, with a total score of 72.3/80 and 180 unique votes.
A superb display of mechanical prowess and storyboarding expertise, Supairo's hallmark entry scraped a solid lead in both the judging and community vote scoring categories. It's no surprise as to why.
Supairo's a fresh name on the Taiko scene and with his mapping debut as an Aspire contest winner of all things, it's safe to say that we're looking forward to seeing what he comes up with in the future!
Here's what our judges had to say:
Supairo's Intense Muskrat is a visually stunning creation that puts storyboard maps the likes of MariannE and Lucent to shame. This entry impressed us all with its wide variety of gimmicks, and perhaps most surprising of all — how clean it was all weaved together.
Ranging from the implementation of osu!'s other gamemodes, to an ambitious recreation of Project DIVA's gameplay, this beatmap is meticulous to even the smallest of details. Imagine our surprise when we didn't even know who the mapper was! This winning entry will definitely set a new bar on storyboard maps for many years to come!
Gruellingly close but ever so far, Powerful Viper by tasuke912 was nipping at the winning entry's heels every step of the way, scoring 67.2/80 with 162 unique votes.
Featuring a combination dual-lane + multi-mod gimmick polished to near perfection, tasuke912's entry was a frontrunner from the very beginning. Falling short from victory in the judging panel by less than a point and only 18 unique votes overall, it honestly surprises nobody that the contest was almost too close to call.
Here's what the judges thought:
In a similar fashion to Supairo's Intense Muskrat, tasuke912 uses storyboarding extensively in his entry but takes a different approach — focusing primarily on gameplay mods instead of modes. Throughout the map, we could only marvel at the diverse variety of gimmicks that were presented before us.
We were particularly impressed by the "Monochrome" and "Function" mods, as these were unique to the best of our knowledge, and executed well. Overall, many congratulations to tasuke912 for his amazing creativity — a solid entry for 2nd place for sure.
Trailing behind the two frontrunners in third place overall was Jovial Lark by the much-loved S a n d, scoring 56.1/80 with 128 unique votes overall.
Featuring the most literal interpretation of algebra seen in the contest period, S a n d's storyboarded masterpiece combined complex visual cues nearly wrapped up in nearly indecipherable algebraic formulae, masterfully weaving clever obscuring techniques to support the breadth of his design overall.
Here's what our judges thought:
Known for his creativity and knack for doing the unexpected, we weren't too surprised to see S a n d come up with his own niche entry. Rather than going down the path of mediocrity, S a n d capitalises on the song's title, and challenges the player to a series of algebraic equations.
The map is further complemented by various slider velocity and playfield gimmicks, which we thought was beautifully expressed through the use of a thematic storyboard. We were very impressed by the level of ingenuity shown here — this entry is well deserving of 3rd place.
You can check out the results for all of the final twelve (including the judge's comments) over at the Aspire Stage Two Results spreadsheet, and you can view the community voting results over at the contest listing.
Thank you to everybody who took the time to make entries and send them in, and also to everybody who set time aside to join us for the livestream feature - we peaked nearly 500 viewers, a feat that has historically only been reserved for the crowning events of the osu!taiko community (such as TWC grand finals).
A massive thank you to our expert panel of volunteer judges (mangomizer, Unmei Muma and Nwolf), who went above and beyond in their contributions to help make everything about Aspire Stage Two reality.
For the Aspire fanatics among us, we will be announcing the commencement of Stage Three at a later date, featuring the antics of osu!catch's most creative mappers for all to gawk at.
Will they go for the low-hanging fruit of cheap and flashy gimmicks, or will we see something truly extraordinary? Probably the latter, but I wanted to make an awful fruit pun, and I'm not sorry.
See you next time!