Welcome back to this week’s edition of BeastSaber’s community spotlight! Today, we have a featured rookie mapper: Bush! They’re one of the top 30 players in Canada, and they also recently began mapping as of February this year. They focus primarily on speedcore, dubstep, neurofunk, and EDM, and have done over 10 maps so far. If you’re looking for some challenging maps, make sure you check them out!
Q. What inspired you to start mapping?
Back when I had only played Beat Saber for a few weeks I wanted to play some songs that I liked, so I gave mapping a try with the original MediocreMapper, to completely disastrous results. Safe to say, the two maps that I started and subsequently abandoned will never see the light of day. It wasn’t until I had about 250 hours in the game that I considered giving it another shot! I was getting a bit bored of ranked at the time, so I wanted to try something new. I felt that I had an in-depth knowledge of the Beat Saber at that point, and had started picking up on some patterns that I really enjoyed, so I installed MMA2 and tried my hand at it. My goal was, essentially, to disprove the stereotype that all first maps suck. I was determined to make an actual fun map and impress the people on discord. It… well… let’s just say it was better than my previous two attempts!
Q. Do you have any mapping idols? What aspects of their maps do you love?
DE125 has definitely been a massive inspiration for me since I started mapping. His maps have always impressed me with their use of dots to represent different sounds, techy doubles that make you lean and cross your arms over, and just the right amount of sliders. A few other people that I look up to in terms of creativity and style are Fraies and Cyansnow. Both of them have very unique styles and generally try to use experimental or controversial patterns in ways that actually flow.
Q. What were your initial impressions of mapping? How have they changed since?
My first thought about mapping was, as I’m sure many new mappers can relate to, that it was incredibly slow. After a hour of working on my first map, I had a measly 20 seconds mapped out of a 5 minute song! However, despite the surprise of my snail-like pace, I was enjoying it immensely. It almost felt like I was a conductor of an orchestra, and the players were the instruments, following the movements that I laid out. 10 maps later, it’s still exciting to me when I boot up MMA2 and come up with new patterns (although I like to think that I’m a little faster now. Sometimes).
Q. What has been your favourite part of mapping? What has been your least favourite?
The experimentation, to me, is the most fun aspect. There’s nothing worse than making a boring map, in my opinion (ha, I’ve neeeever done that). When I map, I can try to make whole sections based around ideas that I’ve seen in other maps, or just weird ideas that I’ve thought up. Oftentimes, they end up needing a lot of refining after I test them in-game, but it’s always fun to try out wacky and new patterns!
Q. What has been the most challenging hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your mapping journey so far?
I said previously that there’s nothing worse than making a boring map. That, to me, is the biggest hurdle. Sure, it’s pretty easy to just place down notes that go down then up, down then up, but it’s just not fun, in my opinion. When it comes to level design, I’ve always struggled with making something challenging, but still interesting. I used to play a lot of Super Mario Maker 2, and made dozens of levels. A lot of them, though, once you took away the decorations, were just tunnels of spikes and saws to jump through. Extremely precise for the sake of being precise, not made with the intent of the average player actually having fun. With Beat Saber, I try to push myself to make sections as interesting as possible.
Q. Do you have any advice for new mappers just getting into their first map(s)?
READ THE MAPPING WIKI!!!! A lot of new mappers just skim the wiki and end up with double directionals, 90 degree cuts, triangles, you name it. I see it all the time in the BSMG mapping discussion channel: a new mapper comes in, proud of their first map, only to get angry when the issues are pointed out. Save yourself the trouble, and take the 10 minutes to read through the mapping quick start fully.
Q. What map of yours is your favourite? What do you love about it? Is there anything you’d change?
My recent map of Jackknife by RIOT is my best map my far, personally. I generally have difficulty mapping Expert and below, but with help from many people on discord, I realized just how much you could get away with on those lower difficulties to make them varied. I’m most proud of the expert+ though. I used a lot of crossover doubles to make you reach all over the playspace. The streams that contain stacks were also a super fun challenge to map around, since I often needed to use horizontal movement to avoid vision blocks.
Bush’s favourite map!
Q. When you play for fun, what sort of maps do you play?
I’m a huge fan of speed maps that still have unique patterns. Stuff such as Garakuta Doll Play and Machinegun Psystyle are right up my alley. I still enjoy the slower more techy maps a lot too though, such as Bassdrop Freaks and CANDYYYLAND.
Q. Do you feel there is enough support in place for new mappers? If not, what would help?
There’s absolutely enough support in place for people looking to get into mapping. The wiki, Fruhead’s video tutorials, and most importantly, the BSMG discord. Everyone I’ve met there was been more than willing to discuss patterns, or help out with technical difficulties, or anything else you might need assistance with while making your first few maps.
Q. What have you found to be the most helpful while learning to map?
Honestly, playing the game. it might sound a bit odd, but just playing Beat Saber exposes you to so many patterns, styles, songs, etc. that I often feel refreshed and full of new ideas after a play session! This is why I personally think that new players should wait before trying to map. Give it a bit, play recent custom maps to get an idea of the types of patterns that are acceptable, and then you’ll have a much easier and more enjoyable time mapping (not to mention, a better end-product). This isn’t to say you cannot map as a new player (or even someone that has never played); if you really want to map, give it a go!
Q. Is there anything, in regards to mapping, that you wish there was more information on?
At the moment, Chroma 2.0 and NoodleExtensions, two of the most powerful mods ever made for Beat Saber, don’t have much documentation on how to operate them. I haven’t ever given them a go myself, but without a dedicated public editor to make use of all of their features, I would imagine it’s quite a daunting task to take on without previous coding knowledge.
Q. What does the future look like for you as a mapper? Is there anything you hope to accomplish next?
I hope to continue mapping for a long time to come. With my recent release of Jackknife, I’m feeling more confident than ever to make full spread maps of songs that I love! I’m currently working on ranking two maps: Exitium and Jackknife, and it’s proven to be a fun (if not slightly slow) endeavor. Overall though, my aim has and always will be to make maps that people will have fun playing! Whether that means all 5 difficulties, or a crazy expert+, or something entirely different, I hope that the Beat Saber community will benefit from the maps that I create.
Speaking of crazy expert+, check out this playthrough of one of Bush’s maps!
Q. Is there anything else you’d like the Beat Saber community to know about you, or anything else you’d like to add?
I never expected Beat Saber to end up being the game that really captivated me when I first bought the early access version on the day my Rift came in the mail. I really appreciate the devs, modders, and mappers who’ve allowed the game to come this far. Thanks!
Thanks so much to Bush for spending their time sharing some of their perspective as a new mapper! We look forward to seeing how they continue to grow, and we wish them the best of luck on their mapping journey! If you have any questions or comments for Bush, make sure to leave them below!
Tune in next week for a spotlight on williums, one of BSMG’s admins and a long-standing community member!